Rotarians reflect on 115 years of service above self

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • Rotary International’s marks 115th anniversary
  • Rotary clubs around the world can access community project grant funding from the foundation
  • Rotarians locally encouraged to contribute towards the foundation to be able to continue humanitarian work

Continuing the legacy of Rotary International’s founding fathers, the Rotary Club of Grenada and Rotary Club of Grenada East joined Rotarians globally to mark Rotary International’s 115th anniversary. The organisation was established on 23 February 1905 in Chicago, USA, by attorney Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey.

To mark the occasion, the Rotary Club of Grenada and Rotary Club of Grenada East have reaffirmed their unflagging commitment to continuing humanitarian work. The 6 priority areas are:

  • Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and Sanitation
  • Maternal and Child Health
  • Basic education and Literacy
  • Economic and Community development

District Governor Elect Nominee, Leslie Ramdhanny, reminded Rotarians who gathered on Friday, 21 February 2020, at the Spice Basket to commemorate this momentous occasion, on the mandates of the club.

The anniversary dinner was attended by several prominent businessmen and women including former Tourism Minister Brenda Hood; Managing Director of Spice Basket Grenada, Hugh Dolland; Richard Duncan, Managing Director of the Grenada Co-operative Bank; Leslie Ramdhanny, of LL Ramdhanny & Co. Hardware; Celia Clyne-Edwards QC; and Henry Joseph from Pannell Kerr Forster (PKF International), among others.

Ramdhanny reminded Rotarians of the club’s humble beginnings when the Father of the Rotary Foundation, Arch Klumph, started the Rotary Foundation in 1917 with US$26.50. To date, this has grown into the billions. He said from this fund Rotary clubs around the world can access grant funding to undertake a community project that will cover the 6 identified priority areas. He stated that it is imperative that Rotarians locally must contribute towards the foundation to be able to continue their humanitarian work. “The goal is to attain a US$100 minimum contribution per year per member. Rotarians who think they can do better can donate US$1,000 and become a Paul Harris Fellow and you be then known as a benefactor, but we would like all Rotarians to contribute to the foundation. I would like to see our clubs in Grenada being 100% Paul Harris sustaining members, or at least achieving the US$100 contribution every year,” Ramdhanny said.

Dr Brian Holmes and his team of volunteers at the Spice Isle Smile dental clinic

Regarding community projects undertaken by The Rotary Club of Grenada, Rotarian Dr Brian Holmes, and his team of volunteers from the United States just completed a 10-day dental clinic called Spice Isle Smile. Over 700 children across 3 schools benefitted from dental check-ups, restorative procedures and extractions.

In 2017, Dr Holmes underwrote the cost of $250,000 to cover the first year of the project which benefitted 680 children. The oral health progress of the students from primary schools — St Peters Roman Catholic School, Bonaire Government, and Holy Spirit RC School — were also tracked over some time and Dr Holmes said they were able to see a significant reduction in tooth decay. “So, since 2017, we have tracked the progress of these children and we have seen over 50% reduction in tooth decay and I know that will continue to increase as we move along. In the 2 weeks alone, we provided over 1,000 hours of voluntary service because again we pooled our talents together,” he said.

Dr Holmes and his wife were honoured at the gala event for their distinguished service to Grenadian students.

As part of the recognition of Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention Month, Resident British High Commissioner to Grenada, Wendy Freeman, was Friday’s featured speaker. She outlined several key priority areas that the UK Government will focus heavily upon in collaboration with the Grenada Government. One issue is Climate Change, ahead of the COP 26 in November in Glasglow, Scotland.

Other areas of focus outlined by Freeman, are to support youth development through the Department for International Development (DFID), a 4-year programme to support youth skills development in Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Interest groups that will receive support include HEON Project Grenada and GrenCHAP.

The Resident British High Commissioner said the UK Government’s is committed to strengthening ties with over 50 Commonwealth nations in a bid to promote mutual benefits for all.

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