The purpose of this committee is twofold. Firstly we raise money to support overseas charities, large and small, to help fight not only poverty and disease but also to provide technology, equipment and education to promote self-sufficiency
We have a number of ongoing, long-term commitments. We have for many years paid for the education of 2 children in Africa and 4 in India through the International Children’s Trust (ICT) and the Kaloko Trust. This is a rolling programme, so as each child completes their sponsored education others are added to begin theirs. These charities have been impacted by the pandemic we have made additional donations to help them with their work. In their recent newsletter ICT reported
Following a generous gift from the Rotary Club of Sidcup to support the continuation of the vital work needed during the pandemic, we have decided to set up a Children's Covid-19 Relief Fund.
Every disaster brings calls for immediate help, not simply for money but also equipment. Shelterbox and LifeStraws are two charities founded and run by Rotarians in the UK that do just this. Our club has raised considerable sums of money to help these charities over the last few years
Every year we organise a Charity Quiz Night in support of overseas charities. As a result, in 2019 we were able to share £2750 between two charities – Friends of Murambinda Hospital which which promotes the health of the people of Buhera Zimbabwe, one of the poorest districts in Zimbabwe and the Nyakabunga Parent’s Primary School in Uganda.
The advent of the Covid-19 pandemic sadly curtailed our fundraising activities but fortunately the Rotary’s Clubs Benevolent Trust was able to make donations totalling in excess of £7000 to a number of overseas charities whose work was being impacted by the global pandemic.
Sidcup Rotary club decided to invest £500 through Lendwithcare in various projects. This was in October 2017. Since then a further £2500 has been invested the last being in September 2019.
The investment has enabled the club to lend a total of £6545 of which £4131 has been repaid and we have donated £186 to administration costs. The balance is to be repaid over periods from 5 to 36 months.
Lendwithcare brings together entrepreneurs in developing countries with people with the power to help. It is a novel way of those with the resources to help transform the lives in the developing world. Lendwithcare partners with local microfinance institutions to provide loans to their local entrepreneurs.
The administrator of funds invested by the club allows us to choose which projects we wish to support. Our loans have ranged from £15-£500 in respect of any one project in countries which includes Ecuador Zimbabwe Philippines Pakistan and Rwanda.
The businesses run by the entrepreneurs range from farming retail café and fishing.
During the period of our investment we have had just two entrepreneurs who have defaulted both in Zimbabwe due to the collapse of the economy in that country.
Our 51 loans have helped 278 entrepreneurs and from statistics obtained by Lendwithcare this has created 235 jobs and helped a total of 859 family members.
I’m sure you will agree that this novel project is well worth the investment over this period of time.
Lendwithcare is part of the international charity CARE International UK
One of our good friends and a regular visitor to Sidcup RC, Martin Steel, works out in Rwanda for Veterinaires Sans Frontiéres (VSF) on a project financed by the Belgian Government. Martin is fully involved in the life of the Butare RC in Huye District in Southern Rwanda. Martin is also a Sidcup man, having attended Chislehurst & Sidcup Grammar School. He initially approached Sidcup RC to initiate a joint project to provide biodigesters to very poor farmers.
And now, ON 30th June 2020, there is a new, ongoing initiative by the same Butare RC and Martin Steel. But this time there is a bigger project with a bigger international arrangement due to the involvement of several Belgian RCs which have taken the international financing lead. Sidcup RC is providing financial support with the cooperation of other District 1120 RCs. This project is to supply small livestock to very poor rural households.
This is a project to provide biodigesters to 100 very poor farmers living in poor conditions on less than $1.7 a day (supporting a family, too). Biodigesters are simply a basic construction sealed with a dome, into which water, animal dung and other vegetable wastes – even human wastes – are deposited. In this sealed chamber, anaerobic digestion takes place which produces methane that one can cook with and power lights. It also produces a very useable crop fertiliser. The benefits to the poor farmers and their families are huge because it is a huge improvement upon wood-burning cooking which produces harmful smoke that causes chest and eye infection.
Click on the photograph to find out more
On the fun side of the committee's work is arranging both to visit and to host members of our two foreign contact clubs - Kungsbacka club in Sweden and the Delft club in Holland. Each year we either visit them or they visit us - usually for a long weekend