Rotary Club of Oak Bay

Bulletin, 16 October 2018

By Peter Lawrie

 

Our meeting was held at the beautiful Victoria Golf Course. A great turn out and lots of visitors. There was a buzz and energy in the room. Everyone was excited to see Memory from APU (Malawi Girls’ School).

Announcements:

1)We need two volunteersto hand out food at Craigflower school on October 31stat 2:00 – 3:30 (when parents are picking up their kids after school). This is in support of the Food Rescue Project. It is a great opportunity to spend ~an hour and half on the front lines of this project. Please let Lorna or me (Peter) know if you can help!

2)We received a District Matching Grant of up to $3,500 USD to support our Rwanda project. This now allows John Jordan and his local team begin to build new houses for destitute widows and their kids in one of the poorest areas of Rwanda.

3)October 24this World Polio Day. Consider how we could all contribute more. There will be a building light up at UVIC in the evening. More details to follow. There will also be Polio Jars on tables for our October 23rdmeeting.  

4)Our 5thTuesday meeting (October 30th) will be at Fired Up! Joan is working out details on lunch. “Fired Up!” is Janna’s business so we get a chance to visit her and staff in action. Really exciting idea!

Joan Firkins was our Celebrations Master. While she had difficulty looking over the podium, she had no difficulty extracting cash from the crowd. She played “Rotary Jeopardy” and separated a lot of loonies and toonies from their previous owners. We also, in the happy and sad  dollars, had a delightful, high drama story from Lorna (of course!) involving her son’s proposal and ring in a hotel safe and not being able to get it open. Remarkably they found out how to break open the safe from Google/YouTube! It was a happy ending!!

Memory spoke to us on the developments at the Malawi Girls’ School. What an inspiring accomplishment – two young women (one from Malawi and one from Canada who was volunteering in Malawi) had a dream of starting a school to change the future and the direction of girls/women in Malawi. Memory is dedicated to protecting and developing young girls so that they have a voice and a new future. In Malawi,  women, historically, have been very constrained and mostly forced to marry very young, often into abusive and HIV environments. Education of women is not just a nice thing to do, it is literally a matter of life and death. Survival rates above 30 years of age for educated women is dramatically higher than for uneducated women who have few choices. Graduates of APU have gone on to universities, professional schools, started their own  businesses, become teachers, and have assumed positions of village leadership. There have been more than 600 graduates from APU.

Memory and David Stocks outlined a bold new vision for the sustainable future of the school. There are now 400 students (100 in each year) in Malawi. Because of the school’s exceptional academic performance nationally, there is a long waiting list of students who can pay their way to enter the school. The plan is to allow an additional 150 students in at a premium and use the extra funds to go to scholarships for girls who can’t afford it. The major limit to expanding by 150 is  to build 3 additional dormitories. A Victoria family has committed to match other donated funds up to $100,000! They are one step away from sustainability. They are also open to continuing individual scholarships where supporters prefer. The place to make your donation is the APU Foundation.

Eugen thanked Memory and thanked our club’s earlier leaders who  saw the value of the possibilities of this school. This is one of our longest and fondest projects!

 

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