Since 2014, our club has provided the Grand Bend club with volunteers and financial support. The first pictures show the RC St. Marys contingent including spouses and friends.
There were 100 guests attending the 100th container celebration at Hessenland. How appropriate!
Brian Hall, Chair Global Literacy Project sent us a recap of the evening:
Dear Linda,
While many of you were part of the 100 in attendance last Wednesday at Hessenland for our 100 container blast there were many who were unable to attend. I wanted to share some pictures and information delivered at this very special event organized by Morag Watt.
Speakers included Peter & Dini Twynstra who spoke about the inception of the project, Rotarian Morag Watt, who shared some of the lessons learned by seeing loadings and unloadings and Brian Hall who recognized the support provided by our many partners & volunteers. In addition, Peter's granddaughter, Shelby Mackenzie, recounted her experience spending time in South African schools. St. Mary's Rotary President Charlie Hammond spoke about how the school they still support in Uganda grew from 30 children to 450 after the container of school furniture arrived in 2014. Their Club has supported the creation of a "Skilling" Institute to teach the school graduates real world skills to improve their ability to access meaningful jobs.
One of the biggest surprises came in an email received from our contact in Sierra Leone , Stephanie Dobrowolski, a Canadian and friend of the daughter of Goderich Rotarian Dr. Bruce Thomasson.
In March of 2017 The Goderich Rotary Club, assisted by Grand Bend Rotarians, loaded 2- 40’ sea containers with books, school furniture and supplies which went to a Rising Academies School in Freetown Liberia. With our 100th Container Celebration on the horizon we asked Stephanie to reflect on the donation and her update is below. We are thrilled to have been a small part of the success Rising Academies has experienced, but more importantly to see the smiles on the faces of these learners who now have a chance to improve the lives of their families and their country.
“When the Rotary Club decided to offer their generous support, Rising Academies was still early days and only a couple years on from the Ebola crisis that closed our very first school. In early 2018, we were a network of 8 schools in Sierra Leone and 5 government partnership schools in Liberia, with about 4,000 students. Today, Rising is a network of over 930 schools serving over 250,000 students across Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana and Rwanda. We have over 700 staff members and have trained over 13,500 teachers, including over 3,000 just last August. It is through the support of organizations like the Rotary Club at very key junctures in our journey that we have managed to weather the challenges of the past decade and continue to grow our network of schools. In Sierra Leone, our students just achieved some of the highest marks in the country on the government exams, with 100% of our students passing the grade 6 and grade 9 exams (shown in the final picture). Achieving these results requires good quality teaching and learning materials, and the Rotary Club helped set Rising Academies on a path to higher quality education. More than 6 years on from your donation, on behalf of the Rising Academies team I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the Rotary Club for choosing to support our schools, and ultimately reach the lives of thousands of students and teachers. Congratulations on your 100th container shipment and once again, a very sincere thanks!” Stephanie Dobrowolski
These turn out to be some of the ” seeds” which sprout when we do little things to support literacy.
Thank you to Morag, John Smits for his AV talents and the Global Literacy Committee members who helped make the evening a huge success. We are all looking forward to Container 101!
Yours in Service,
Brian Hall
Chair, Global Literacy Project
Rotary Club of Grand Bend
Pictures from Rotary Club of Grand Bend, 100th container celebration:
In the beginning:
History of Kito School Project, 1 Room 30 students and 1 container.
Olive originally set up school under a large oak tree with 30 students.
In 2014, the Grand Bend Rotary Club sent them a container of school materials, desks, chairs, black boards, computers, overhead projectors.
(Note: No power on site until this year.)
Peter & Dini Twynstra (founders), Helen White (First Volunteer) and Brian Hall (Chair, Global Literacy Project).