Our Rotary Club's International Community Service Projects include:
India School Bench Project
Introduced in February 2014, details are HERE.
CASA AMPARO: From "Throwaway" Kids to Scholars
Mission Statement: To raise former street girls out of the dangers of prostitution, poverty and disease through education and an environment of dignity and security. Providing a teacher and support leads to literate and self-sufficient citizens.
We stand ready to provide our experience to others who want to change the lives of children in jeopardy through education.
The Casa Amparo project is dedicated to the goal of providing young women, otherwise destined for a grim future, with the essential tools required today for a successful, independent, fulfilling life.
Over the last 12 years, Rotarians have helped build furniture, provided washing machines and computers with Rotary International grants, and endowed a teaching position at Casa Amparo itself. Now Casa girls are finding work and have hope.
Watch for additional news, developments, information, pictures, and letters from Casa Amparo residents.
A mission trip to Casa Amparo itself takes place every year in late winter. If you wish to join us, please get in touch through the contact page. This opportunity, which will repeated in six months, is rapidly approaching, so express your interest today.
As you can imagine, Casa Amparo has extraordinary demands when it comes to various forms of support, including funding. We welcome your donations, which can take one of several forms and is tax-deductible. Please see our donation information to see how you can help us, even if you cannot join us on our travels to see and help out at Casa Amparo.
Safe Water - Haiti Project (and more)
UPDATE: Kalamazoo Rotarians will travel to Haiti February 17 - 23, 2011 to check on the progress of our water filter installation and hygiene training. an Overview of the trip is Here and an Application is available Here. Catch up in the details and consider joining the trip.
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In 2005 we initiated a project to provide drinking water filters in Haiti. Just the other side of Cuba, Haiti is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere and bad water has been the #1 cause of death before the recent earthquake.
With matching grants from Rotary International and support from Rotary Clubs throughout southwest Michigan, we have raised over $73,000 for this World Community Service project to provide Bio Sand Water Filters to schools and communities so that families can have safe water for cooking and drinking.
Rotarians from Kalamazoo traveled to Haiti in 2007 and 2009 to initiate this program. They met with Rotarians from the Dominican Republic who serve as partners in this project and travelled to remote areas to see the conditions in villages and the depth of the need.
Once installed, the filters are simple to maintain and each serves the needs of several families with safe water.
This project was just coming to fruitition when the devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Kalamazoo Rotarians immediately became involved in relief efforts including emergency medical care, provision of drinking water and emergency supplies plus assistance to the local children's hospital operated by International Child Care whose President is our own club member Keith Mumma.
PolioPlus, the most ambitious program in Rotary’s history, is the volunteer arm of the global partnership dedicated to eradicating polio from the earth. For more than 20 years, Rotary has led the private sector in the global effort to rid the world of this crippling disease. Today, PolioPlus and its role in the initiative is recognized worldwide as a model of public-private cooperation in pursuit of a humanitarian goal.
In addition to providing financial and volunteer support, Rotary works to urge support from other public and private sector partners. This includes the campaign to End Polio Now, inspired by the extraordinary challenge grants received from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The Kalamazoo club has conducted three major campaigns over the last twenty years as well as annual contributions from Rotarians thru the Paul Harris Foundation. More importantly, local Rotarians and their friends have joined missions on the ground to Africa and India to dispense the vaccine to children.
Group Study Exchange
Aimed at building global understanding and peace, Group Study Exchange is an international program of The Rotary Foundation that annually sponsors four-person teams of young professionals to host countries for a month. GSE team members stay in the homes of Rotarians of those host countries, meet with their vocational peers there and learn of that country’s culture first-hand. GSE teams from the Kalamazoo area in recent years have gone to Italy, Chile, Central America where they climbed Mayan ruins and visited remote villages, and Korea where they experienced Asian institutions and culture. Young teachers, medical professionals and environmentalists are among those chosen for the teams from Southwest Michigan. GSE team members are non-Rotarians who are led and trained for the journey by a Rotarian.
GSE 2013 is the last time that the program will function as it has traditionally done. The team to Southern Greece will have an amazing experience. Their schedule promises to be fast paced and loaded with many vocational and cultural experiences. They left April 16, 2013 and will return four weeks later on May 14th. The team, made up of 5 individuals, is comprised of their Team Leader, Mark Barnes (Oshtemo Township Fire Chief) and 4 non-Rotarians between the ages of 25-40. These young professionals are; Tristine McClelland who works at the Kalamazoo Gospel Mission with men and women who suffer from drug and alcohol addiction; Dan Lafferty is a middle and high school teacher; Andrea Charlton is a Community Health Planning Manager; And Jed Wilds is a paramedic and fire fighter and also does training of his peers.
The team is expected to visit from 8 to 10 different communities including Athens and some of the islands. They will attend the District 2470 conference the weekend before they come home.
The outbound team will be returning on May 14th, the same day that the Greek contingent will be arriving in the USA. Both teams will be returning to Kalamazoo in tandem. The Greek team is comprised of four women and one man. The Team Leader Sofia Vassilopoulos has years of experience working with youth experiencing social exclusion, in particular immigrant and repatriated youth. Angeliki Giannoukou is an actress and has performed in theatre, on television and has taught drama. Erini Peppa has a degree in International Relations and has done research and has assisted in recruiting senior executives for companies. Maria Riga has a Masters in Fine Arts and designed homes and shops, entertainment venues and hotels. Nikolaos Theodorou has an engineering degree and done construction management as well as project development.
Their schedule in District 6360 will consist of visits to Middleville including attendance at the District Conference, Kalamazoo/Portage, Three Rivers, Battle Creek and Jackson. These host clubs have promise to have a busy schedule for the team. Among the diverse vocational sites, some of their destinations include, Meijer Gardens, The State Capital (including visits with legislators), and a possible visit to either Chicago or Henry Ford Museum in Detroit among others.
In 2012 we exchanged teams with a district in India; details are HERE:
The 2011 exchange started a little early as a local team left October 22, 2010 for Chile for a month, visiting during Chile’s springtime. The team was composed of leader and Rotarian Katie Wittenberg and team members Amber Arashiro, Bill Schultz, Charlie LaSata, and Kristen Ramer.
In 2010 District 6360 exchanged teams with Rotary clubs in southern Italy. The Italian team visited here in May then Kalamazoo Rotarian Terry Williams, professor emeritus of theater at Western Michigan University led a team to Italy in June. The team included Fenner Brown, 31, of Kalamazoo, employed in marketing and banking; Nathan DiLucchio, 26, of Kalamazoo, who is in sales; Alison Loveday, 35, of Jackson, who works in the arts industry; and Elisabeth Vorce, of Lansing, who develops packaging for military and aerospace programs.
They traveled to two regions in the heel of the Italian boot: Basilicata and Puglia, known for agricultural products such as olive oil and grapes. They stayed in homes of local Rotarians and visited their professional peers as well as touring the regions’ cultural and historic attractions.