The International Service Committee meets monthly and consists of Rotarians, some of whom have first hand experience with working in less developed countries with poor communities and much of our work is allocating funds to those countries with the greatest need. Our role and terms of reference can be viewed on the club's web site and our work falls within three areas. Criteria for these can be viewed HERE.
Whenever an earthquake or disaster occurs around the world the committee tries to respond quickly so that food, shelter and first aid are sent but our priority is always to get supplies of clean drinking water in the disaster area as soon as possible. The most appropriate agencies to do this are the Rotary led Shelterbox and Aquabox Charities and we make donations to them throughout the year and occasionally with street collections, joined by other local Rotary Clubs, as we did for the Haiti Earthquake, Pakistan Floods, Japanese Tsunami and the Philippine Typhoon. A third effective agency we finance is Water Aid, a charity that drills wells and provides clean drinking water to Third World communities. We know that any money we give to these three organisations is spent solely on getting help to Third World communities.
The second area where we are active is providing financial assistance to local young people who want to go abroad to work with disadvantaged people on community, environmental or ecological projects and we make a donation once our criteria of self funding has been achieved. We are active in inviting such requests from local young people and the committee considers them and usually make a donation. This type of work is often a life changing experience and instils in them an understanding of the needs of others less fortunate than themselves and a desire to be of service to others. Examples of such overseas projects have taken place in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, El Salvador, Cambodia, South Africa, and Japan.
Aquaboxes being prepared for shipment overseas
Shelterboxes waiting airfreight to Goma for the Congo
refugees. Each box contains a tent housing 10 people
and essential cooking equipment and tools.
The third area is planning and funding for overseas projects either with our own money or from Rotary Grants. Any appropriate charity can put in a funding request and, providing it meets our criteria (which Members only can read HERE), we select those most suitable. The criteria can be viewed on our web site in this appendix and we concentrate on small local charities and those with an international dimension and registered with the Charity Commissioners. Recent funded overseas projects have included projects in Kenya, Ethiopia, India, South Sudan and others in Third World countries. Canterbury Rotary Club is linked with four other Rotary clubs in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland and we regularly run jointly funded overseas projects. This shows the international dimension of Rotary and demonstrates the work we do with other clubs around the world.
The committee will start a new project which will pay the fees for secondary education for a number of clever but poor students in South Sudan and this will replace an earlier bursary scheme solely for girl students. Examples of other charities we fund includes those which provides training in Ethiopia for local midwives, ones that provide small, repayable loans to allow women in rural India to start a business and maximise the family income and another is one that renovate second hand tools and bikes which are then sent on to countries in Africa. All our overseas work is aimed at taking people out of poverty and improving the health or education of disadvantaged communities in Third World Countries.