AVALON, December 16, 2016 – Christmas came early this year to the people of the village of San Martín Chiquito in Guatemala and the Avalon Rotary Club when last week The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International approved a $119,000 grant to provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene (termed the “WASH” initiative) to nearly 15,000 people. The grant has been in the works since 2015, efforts launching under then-Rotary-President Bill Paige with leadership from Grant Committee members Cliff Hague and Leslie Baer Dinkel with support from many other Avalon Rotary Club members.
Avalon Rotary Club’s current President Christy Lins said at the news, “We are extremely excited about the grant and appreciative of all of the work that our own members did and for all the support we received from our District.”
“One of our missions as Rotarians is to do good in the world, and this grant gives us a wonderful tool to do that internationally,” added Hague. “I look forward to participating in implementing this grant and hope that many people in the Avalon community—Rotarians and others—will join in.”
The grant will provide purified water for drinking, flush toilets and handwashing stations for 18 rural schools—some of which currently have NO clean drinking water and deplorable toilet facilities for students. It will also provide similar facilities and upgrades to two clinics and 50 private households, creating a “significant positive health impact” to this community of approximately 30,000 people, noted Hague.
“Studies by the World Health Organization and others have shown that when clean drinking water, toilet facilities and a place to wash hands is available, sickness in a home decreases up to 85 percent,” says Baer Dinkel who has done community development work in Guatemala for several decades. “With these changes, children will be healthier and spend more time in school and parents will miss less time at work. Not only will people have a better quality of life, but we will actually save lives and that is incredibly exciting,”
Implementation to begin in June, Public Invited: Avalon Rotary members are not letting any moss grow under their feet, and have slated a project to pilot implementation that will occur during a trip to Guatemala, June 17-30, 2017, being led by long-time island resident Sue Rikalo and Avalon property owner Steve Kent.
“The deadline to register is December 31, 2016 and is coming up quickly!” noted Sue Rikalo. “We are very excited that we are going to be able to pilot our implementation in June and we invite Rotarians and other members of the Avalon community and their family and friends to join us for this and other projects,” she continued. She added that the trip includes “a full week of intensive one-on-one Spanish study in beautiful Antigua, Guatemala, and many fun and cultural activities prior to our service work the next week in the Central Highlands village of San Martin Chiquito.”
People may contact Sue directly about the trip “A deposit of $500 will hold a spot, with balance not due until May 1, 2017,” she said, noting that the total cost for all in-country stays, fun and cultural activities, transportation, project supplies, most meals and more is $1,862. For additional information about participating in the June 2017 implementation trip in Guatemala contact Sue Rikalo at email@example.com or give her a call at (310) 510-1008. An online registration form is located at xelaaid.org under “Volunteering.” Lins will lead the grant effort going forward, with Hague to plan an additional implementation trip for sometime in the future. Learn more about or join the Avalon Rotary Club by contacting Christy Lins at firstname.lastname@example.org.