The helping hands of the Batavia Rotary Club have reached out -- all the way to Zambia in Africa -- to build a new, modern kitchen at a school there.
The unique service project is being done in conjunction with Rotary clubs in St. Catherines, Ontario, and Lusaka Central in Zambia. They are replacing a stone fire pit in a Malambanyama school with a kitchen capable of feeding more than 300 people daily.
The project is estimated to cost $13,050 (U.S. currency) and half of it will come from Batavia and Ontario Rotarians and the Rotary International Foundation will provide matching funds. Members of the Lusaka Club in Zambia will oversee the purchase and installation of the kitchen appliances and utensils.
The kitchen is being constructed at Children’s Town School, a residential school and vocational training center that houses more than 300 students and staff. Children’s Town currently uses stone and concrete fire pits for all of their cooking, according to Ramon Chaya, Batavia Rotary Club president.
Malambanyama is located in central Zambia, on the African continent where the Development Aid from People to People in Zambia (DAPP) established Children’s Town in 1990.
It cares for former street children from Lusaka in cooperation with Zambia's Ministry of Education and Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.
Children’s Town School has already constructed an indoor room to be used for a kitchen, and has installed the necessary electrical and plumbing connections. The $13,050 grant will enable the school to purchase a modern stove, refrigerator, oven, oversized pots, dining tables and chairs, electrical fittings, tiles and miscellaneous plumbing materials.
The project came about as the result of conversations between members of the Batavia Rotary Club and St. Catherines Rotary Club. Both clubs are part of Rotary International District 7090, and members of the clubs frequently share information about projects and activities.
The possibility of an international service project caught the attention of longtime Batavia Rotarian Edmund Leising. He and member Mary Raymond worked with St. Catherines Rotary members to prepare a Rotary International Foundation matching grant application. Each club agreed to contribute $3,000 to the project, Rotary District 7090 agreed to contribute $1,950, the Lusaka Central Club agreed to contribute $100, and the Rotary International Foundation came in with a commitment of $5,000.
Most people living in the United States and Canada cannot imagine life without the ordinary convenience of a modern kitchen. Yet kitchens are rare in some parts of the world, including rural Zambia, and most cooking is done outside in large – and sometimes unsafe and unsanitary – pits.
“Being able to provide something as simple as a stove, a refrigerator, and utensils will make a big difference in the daily lives of more than 300 people,” Leising said.
Rotary International is a worldwide organization of clubs comprised of civic-minded business and professional people. One of the longstanding aims of the club is the promotion of international goodwill. More than 20 years ago, Rotary International – with the support of hundreds of thousands of members worldwide -- set out to eradicate polio. Through these efforts, a world without polio is now very close to being reality.
Every year the Batavia Rotary Club provides volunteer and financial support to dozens of charitable causes and organizations. It recently completed a commitment of $250,000 for upgrades at United Memorial Medical Center. The club was founded in 1919 and has about 100 members.