Foundation is where Rotary International can change the world. The worldwide Polio Plus campaign actually has the eradication of this awful disease in its sights. It also organises the exchanges of students and volunteers that makes Rotary truly international. The Foundation Committee hosted the five group study exchange team members from Brazil: they were bright, amusing and burst into song at all opportunities. They came to stay, joined in our yoga classes, visited our building societies, etc. One came from a collective farm where mango juices were shipped out in 20 gallon containers, he was amazed at the price that small pack will sell for in a newsagent. Whilst they were here we discussed providing an autoclave to a hospital near Brazil. The hospital was in a poor area and there was clearly a real need. The claim for a matching grant from Rotary International has been held up due to funds being restricted as the consequence of the current credit difficulties. Thanks to Ian Johnston for his help.
We also sponsored a volunteer for the return trip to San Paulo, Brazil and she came back with some wonderful stories of a great reception by Clubs there. They had a street band saying goodbye to them at the airport.
The Club gave a number of presentations at the District Conference in Oct 2008 which confirmed how topical our interests are. As well as the two Group Study Exchange teams, we have hosted two delightful ambassadorial scholars, Gbenka, an actuary, and Julliane Koch, studying history. I and my team took them to visit some 28 nearby and not so nearby Rotary Clubs where they gave talks on marriage Nigerian style, the unification of Germany and the democratic process in Holland. I know they both worked hard for their exams. Julliane ran in the Canterbury half marathon, raising some £130 for the Foundation: she was exhausted, poor girl. We are uncertain if there will be any scholars next year. Thanks to all those who transported them around and to my committee.
Chairman Foundation Committee