As this unusual #Rotary year 2019/2020 comes to an end, the amount of help needed around the world keeps growing. At The RCSI, we have chosen to donate from our emergency fund to support the work of Save the Children Yemen:
“As the world faces continued lock-downs in response to COVID-19, children in Yemen are even more at risk. Without access to lifesaving aid, the children of Yemen – already more vulnerable as a result of malnutrition and a devastated health system – might be pushed over the edge. Five years of relentless war has left a mark on the children of Yemen. Nearly 24 million people – including 12.3 million children – need humanitarian assistance and protection. More than 10 million children don’t have adequate access to healthcare. And two million children are out of school, at risk of exploitation and abuse. The need to stop the war on children has never been as urgent as it is at this moment.”
Thank you to all of our members, guests, fans and donors for your generosity and support; we would not be able initiate, join and support amazing life-saving initiatives around the world without you.
Togo is one of the poorest countries in the world. Launched in 2018 this project in rural Togo has so far supported 123 entrepreneurs to start their small-scale business that will help them to become self-sufficient and find their way out of poverty.
Besides providing these entrepreneurs with small startup loans, the program includes support and coaching, training, business acumen, and collaboration within small groups.
In this program Rotary is collaborating with ACTION10 who supports with coaching and methods, and with S.E.VIE who is the local partner running the program on the ground in Togo.
Rotary Clubs behind this project are our own club RC Stockholm International together with RC Stockholm Ladugårdslandet, RC Stockholm-Sergel, and Rotaract Djurgården.
Today our club made a donation to UNHCR in support of the children and families fleeing war and violence in Syria. Our donation will contribute to the efforts of UNHCR in providing shelter, food, clean water, education and other necessities to those who have been forced to leave their homes.
In recognition of our donation we received a thank you letter together with this picture which says more than a thousand words could.
Since 2013 RCSI has had the pleasure of supporting a wonderful education project in Kathmandu, Nepal run by a Swedish non-profit organisation called Nepal Education. Indirectly RCSI has covered the yearly cost of educating three girls, Subekchya, Sonisha and Pragati , for the last 6 years.
Pragati is a third year student at the Creative Academy. Her father left her and her mother when they lived at her father’s parent’s house. A short time later they were forced to move by Pragati’s grandmother. They found a room to live in without any electricity and an education at the Creative Academy would have been impossible. Now in 2019 it is going well for Pragati, her grades are at a 70% level and her mother even found part time work at her school.
Subekchya is a second year student at the Crative Academy. When Nepal Education began supporting Subekchya her father had just left her mother and her mother did not have a job. Her mother came to Creative Academy and begged for help. Subekchya had always told her mother, ”Creative Academy is where I want to study.
Subekchya was born prematurely and her health has been a real challenge as she was undernourished from birth. Nepal Education gave her fruit, juices and a sort of local healthy cake and after six months she grew stronger and her health improved. Also, she was born with two thumbs on one hand and was treated badly by her classmates. On the fourth of April this year, 2019, one of her thumbs was surgically removed with great success.Nepal Education paid for her operation including three nights at the hospital.
Subekchya has always had very good grades and regularly is ranked at the top of her class! She enjoys reading and drawing.
Sonisha has finished her final year in school and is now in her first year of a two year college program. Nepal Education began sponsoring her in the 6th grade at the Creative Academy when she and her mother were going through a family crisis when her father died and her uncle was obliged to care for and provide for them both. Sonisha has been an average, but persistant student and now, even in college she is holding her own.
Togo in West Africa is one of the poorest countries in the world. Here the true pillar of the family, the women, are particularly affected by the difficulties of life: work in the fields, chores of collecting water, education of children. They have business ideas and dreams, but not enough knowledge of how to start and run a small-scale business. They also lack access to traditional bank loans as they do not have sufficient assets to be solvent.
The Rotary Club of Stockholm International, together with some other Rotary Clubs in Stockholm, executed a fundraising project in 2017-2018 to raise money to support a local program run by collaborating NGO’s S.E.VIE and Action10. Rotary’s contribution has been SEK=66.000 and Action10’s SEK=43.000 which is roughly 2/3 of the final goal to build a fund of 10 Million FCFA (West African Franc). This sum will make the program available for 200 women entrepreneurs simultaneously and secure the sustainability of the program.
After dividing the women into smaller groups, the program offers them training and education in basic business planning, negotiating, pricing and accounting. Their businesses can be anything from producing and selling food, drinks and clothing to cutting people’s hair. Small loans (“Action Credits”) are available with a weekly repayment schedule that is spread over six months. These “Action Credits” will help the women to set up and see their businesses through the startup period. The loans are individual, but the repayment responsibility lies with the small group the women belong to. If, for any reason, a woman cannot repay her weekly amount – the other women in her group will do it on her behalf. This creates a strong commitment & accountability and secures the repayment of the credits.
When the program is fully running, with 200 women in the program, the interest (10%) charged for the loans will cover the salaries for the S.E.VIE staff facilitating the program. The yearly plan for the program includes a financial coach and the hiring of an independent program auditor.
The status now (February 2019) is that S.E.VIE and Action10 are finalizing the plans to launch this program. We intend to provide updates on the project and program on this blog as it proceeds.