One of the good things about being a Rotarian is that you make contacts all over the world. As the Matching Grants Chair for La Mesa Rotary, I’m in touch with people in Pune, India and Sargodha, Pakistan because we are working on Matching Grants in those locations.
For a Rotary Matching Grant, money raised and donated by Rotary clubs is matched at the District level, and then at the International level. On each project, we partner with a club in the area of the project, which also donates money to the project. That club receives the funds and manages the project and finances. For the past few years, I’ve been keeping myself busy with our club’s Matching Grants. This year our club, La Mesa Rotary, is participating in four Matching Grant projects. We are the lead club on the first two projects and a supporting on the other two. As the lead club, we are involved in the financial and other details of the project.
- Rotary Eye Care Unit, Sargodha, Pakistan – Last year we provided the Rotary Club of Sargodha, Pakistan equipment to expand their medical dispensary into a laboratory so that diagnostic tests can be carried out. Previously, just about all they could do is dispense medications. Now they can carry out a variety of diagnostic procedures. This year, we will help them set up an Eye Care Unit, which is greatly needed. Cararacts and blindness are prevalent, and treatable, and there are many poor in the rural villages surrounding Sargodha need medical attention, including eye surgery.
- Pure Water and Infrastructure, Pune, India – We are helping the Rotary Club of Pune Hadapsar, south of Islamabad, to provide a solar powered reverse osmosis water purification system, along with a large water tank, and some school equipment to a newly formed school for the deaf, mute, and mentally challenged. The existing borehole well is unreliable and frequently contaminated.
- Computer Labs, Gualeceo, Ecuador – This project will provide computer labs to three middle schools and one high school in an isolated area in Azuay Province. The project will provide 34 computers, 3 printers, and other accessories.
- Safe Water for Schools, Parroquia Malimpia, Ecuador – This project will be providing safe water to three primary and two high schools in tropical north-central Ecuador. Water-borne diseases are rampant, and affect the learning and physical development of the students, and thus their ability to earn a livelihood in the future.
We are at the stage where all four projects have been approved by the The Rotary Foundation, all the money needed has been collected, and the projects are about to begin. The money for each project goes directly to a special account set up by the club where the project is being executed, eliminating many potential problems that could occur.
The total amount raised for these four projects was $84,608. You might ask, “Why are we sending that money overseas when we have so many problems at home?” First of all, not all Matching Grants send money overseas. We were the lead club in a project that provided computers and other equipment to a facility for the adult handicapped facility right here in El Cajon. Also, our club maintains a Charitable Giving Fund which supports local needs that members identify. Finally, our major fund raiser each year provides significant support to local organizations.
Soon we will start looking for next year’s Matching Grant projects. Here’s one of the lists we use to find those projects.