UPDATE February 8: An overwhelming outpouring of support from both our club and other companies worldwide has resulted in a potential oversupply of water purifiers. The District is currently looking into other projects to fund as donations from clubs continue to increase.
UPDATED January 26: Cecelia reports that 20 water purification units have already been shipped, and another 20 are due to be sent this week. Also, the manufacturer is including an extra filter in the shipment. Donations are still helpful through January 28.
This article details options for responding to the recent tragedy along the coast of the Indian Ocean.
At our regular Board Meeting on Jan 11, our Board approved allocating $1700 from our Club Foundation. Combined with the matching COG money described below, this money will fund a water-purification system bound for Sri Lanka.
If you would like to make a personal contribution to support additional water treatment systems, we’d like to channel that money through our own foundation. Please bring a check made out to “Campbell – San Jose West Rotary Foundation” to our next meeting.
You may still wish to direct personal contributions to agencies providing immediate aid, and Rick Davis can help you make an educated gift.
Cecelia Babkirk provides additional information below.
Pictures of the water system are also available in this PDF File from Cupertino Rotary.
A Note From Cecelia Babkirk …
This is to bring the membership up to date on the information regarding Tsunami Relief projects that are circulating in the district.
First, it?s important to understand that Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation and, for the most part, our clubs and districts, are not really organized to be an immediate relief organization. The reason is that, in the Rotary world, there is a disaster somewhere in the world every week and we are called to respond to all of them. Thus, if you go to the Rotary International web site (www.rotary.org), you will see that Rotary International recommends that funds for immediate relief be sent directly to Non-Governmental Organizations such as UNICEF, International Red Cross, Red Crescent, Americares, etc.
However, in light of the magnitude of the Tsunami?s impact in Asia, our district recognizes that many people wish to do something tangible RIGHT NOW and that just donating cash doesn?t make them feel as good as contributing to a worthwhile project.
There will be many worthwhile projects coming down the pipe in the next several months that will make a real difference over there. Many of us will continue to receive e-mails from people we don?t know requesting funds for this and that project.
Roland Wanigatunga, of the Sunnyvale Sunrise Rotary Club, is a past president of the Rotary Club of Colombo West, Sri Lanka, arguably one of the hardest hit areas. He continues to have active contacts with his former Rotary Club and has done many Rotary Foundation projects over the years, thus has a reliable relationship with them. They have requested portable water purification units, as potable water is the most immediate need for the people there. The Los Altos Rotarian (sorry, I can?t recall his name) and Roy Russell, a water purification expert, have researched a number of such units and determined that one particular unit will meet the needs requested by the Sri Lanka club. The unit is portable, costs approximately $2,100 and will provide one gallon per minute of clean water for up to one year. This is over 1,000 gallons per day and is enough to supply clean water for 8,000 people.
The units can be purchased immediately and be shipped within a matter of a few weeks. Fedex will ship the units at no cost to Singapore Air?s Cargo terminal on the west coast and Singapore Air will fly the units for free to Sri Lanka.
Many clubs in the district are committing to purchasing one or two of the units. Interestingly, the district is allowing clubs to use their Club Opportunity Grant money to apply toward the purchase of the units. The COG money must be matched by cash from the club.
Our club has $486 in COG funds available. With the match, we can purchase about half of one of the units. However, for another (approximately) $1,150, we can make up the difference to purchase one unit from our club. This money can be raised from several sources: the restricted funds for international projects which are in our club foundation, non-restricted funds from the foundation, cash donations from our members and/or cash donations from friends and families of our members, many of whom have asked what we are doing to aid in the effort.
This is an ideal opportunity for us for many reasons. The main one is that our President, Kit Whitney, has had as her goal, to do a water purification project as an international project this year. I have spoken with many, many Rotarians from other parts of the world about the feasibility and cost of doing such a project and, for the most part, the costs are prohibitive for a club of our size and with the assets that we have available. This would meet President Kit?s goal and still leave funds for other projects. Heaven knows this would be a project that really will do a lot of good for up to 8,000 people that we will never know.
Please understand ? this is NOT a District 5170 project. We can spend our money any way we wish. The district found this way to respond to the many who were asking what we as a district can do. The district is coordinating the project, however, and is asking that any checks be made payable to Rotary District 5170 Foundation, which is a 501C3. If our members feel more comfortable making the checks to our club foundation, I?m sure Phil Nielsen would be happy to accumulate them and forward them to the District foundation.
We do not have to purchase whole units. Any funds over and above the cost of a unit will be pooled with funds from others in the district to purchase as many additional units as there is money.
Again, there will be many additional projects coming down the pipe over the coming months. I am already aware of several that are excellent and will help the people of the region take care of themselves in the long term.
I?ll finish now by asking for volunteers. Since there are so many possibilities for international projects this year, I would like to ask for six volunteers to join me on the International Service Committee. We can have a lot of our discussion via e-mail with perhaps a short meeting in the next month or so to make some project recommendations to the board. Please call or e-mail me if you are interested.
Yours in Rotary,