Tracey McGrath introduced the speaker of the day, one of our own, Sue Ricketts. Sue has 3 children and 3 grands. She has been a member since 2001 and is a group and life benefits advisor. She told us of the trip which she and Nanita Mohan took to India as members of the Asia Projects Committee, part of the International Services Committee.
They started in the city of Madurai and were met by Britto Selveraj, who is the secretary of the Society for Serving Humanity (SSH) and Mrs. N. Sumathi, President of the SSH. The next day they visited the ChildPlan academy which teaches 350 children who are bused in daily. Funds to build the school and buy the buses were provided by Net4kids, a charitable group from the Netherlands. Sue and Nanita spent some time in the school library where children were engaged in reading both English and Tamil books. The room is only about 1/3 full of books. Nanita says that the University has at least 1,000 books which might be sent their way and another Rotary club in Tillsonburg has about400 more of all types. All that remains is to find a way to pack and ship the books.
While the children were having lunch they were able to discuss the school and the dairy project since many of the teachers themselves had been recipients of micro-loans to buy a cow and they spoke enthusiastically about the difference it had made to them and their families. The conditions of the loans are that they pay back in 10 months with 1% interest and more important is that the family must use at least 1 litre of milk themselves each day. Nutrition and income are stressed
Many of the children and their parents spoke to Sue and Nanita about the difference in their lives made through the services received from SSH. They talked of the differences in their living conditions and obstacles which they have overcome. Most of the parents are illiterate but they are fully supportive of their children receiving as much education s they can, to give them a better life than they have had.
Sue and Nanita met 2 young students who had graduated from the ChildPlan Academy and are now attending higher education through SSH 1st year scholarships. One young lady, a polio survivor, is studying business. She and her younger brother were orphaned when she was 5 and they were raised by their grandmother. Nanita immediately offered to pay $150 for her second year and $150 for the third year. The other student was a young man named Aroon, also a polio survivor, studying to become a mechanic. Nanita’s brother has offered him a similar scholarship. Sue will support another lady who is studying electrical engineering.
They also visited a family outcast by their neighbours because they are all HIV positive and had nothing when SSH found them. Through micro-loans and careful training and medical intervention they now lease uninhabited land and have become wealthy by Indian standards. They have 2 thatched huts, a boiler and generator, 2 cows, 40 goats, some chickens and ducks and some lazy dogs. They have no furniture but they have a cell phone.
They are getting back their self respect. This is why we should be doing the Dindigul Dairy project.
Sue was thanked by Gunter Tase
Joyce Soo – guest of Carolyn Wetherson
Pamela Pletsch – guest of Sue Ricketts
Vincent Soosa – guest of Sue Ricketts
K C Tam, Hal Jackson, Gunter Tase, Sue Ricketts, Carl Webster and President Marty Fairbairn.
Patti Burt-Environmental biologist-Semiahmoo Rotary club, Surrey, BC
Margaret Trainor-Senior Services-London North
Rosemary Clark announced a week-long riverboat cruise from October4-11 in Provence (that’s in France) as a fund-raiser for Rotary if we support it by having plenty of people sign on. The cruise is from Lyon to Arles. More to come later.
Carolyn Wetherson called our attention to social media, to Facebook and to our web page, where we can see items related to Rotary and to our club.
Peter McSherry wants people to come to dinner. Sign up for the table sheets or call Peter. It’s a lot of fun and you might meet someone who does not sit at your table! Peter brought along an enforcer in the person of Sergeant Beverley who reinforced Peter’s words (but did not levy any fines).
Ranjit Singh, the fireside organizer, is willing to arrange another session for anyone who missed it and would like to attend a session, perhaps on a Friday. Speak to Ranjit.
Helmuth, sporting a Guelph Curling Team jacket told us that he and his team will be going to Scotland in April to defend their world championship. Good luck, guys.
Helmuth also told us that he will be curling on March 24th in the Curl for a Cause bonspiel in Fergus. He will be curling for KidsAbility which is a name familiar to many in our club. KidsAbility empowers children and youth who have a wide range of complex needs. There was a pledge sheet on the table but you can also do an email transfer to his email if you wish. Other organizations which benefit are Big Brothers, Big Sisters; The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington; Special Needs Soccer; Centre Wellington Food Bank and Women in Crisis.
President Marty presented the Sergeant with her official pin but declined to pin it on her in view of the present sexual harassment and interference atmosphere which is going on around us.
The Sergeant sensed that there may have been some illicit gambling going on between Tom Funk and Jim Wadleigh as to the height of Tim Mau. Turned out that neither one was right; the correct figure is 6 feet, 7 ½ inches. Nike Shriner was fined because he said something wrong about something, somewhere. Jim MacKenzie had to pay up because he can’t remember in which house Carolyn lives! At this point, President Marty injected an announcement of his own: a coffee buddy of his is organizing a golf tourney called Bridging the Gap for the 21st of June at Victoria Park Valley. The beneficiary of this event is the “Y”.
Clay Switzer told us about his oldest grandson who was married last August in New York and then he and his wife quit their jobs in September, jumped on their bikes and headed West. A week ago they were in San Diego. From there they head for Seattle and somehow get across the Pacific to Japan.
Lawrie Jones is happy that the provincial government has passed Rowan’s Law (Concussion Safety), which deals with recognition and prevention of concussions in youths. It’s been a long time in coming.
President Marty asked Fireside hosts to stand up and be recognized.
The 50/50 draw this week was won by Fred Ramprashad
Carl Webster- 2 years
Elaine Beattie————-March 4
Jim Shortreed————- March 5
Hal Jackson—————-March 5
Ranjit Singh—————-March 6
Judith Martin————–March 7