On Friday, 19 February 2010, DAPP Children’s Town in Malambanyama, Zambia, Africa formally dedicated its new kitchen and dining area. Over eight hundred students, staff, families, and dignitaries attended the dedication.
This effort began in early fall of 2007, when Ed Leising, a long-time member of the Batavia Rotary Club, was traveling from Buffalo to Baltimore, MD. While waiting for his flight, he met Pia Jorgensen in the lounge. She had a briefcase with a large Planet Aid Canada logo. He learned that she recently emigrated from Denmark and she was the Canadian representative for Planet Aid Canada; an organization that funds projects world-wide. The majority of the money comes from collecting then selling usable clothing. The profit from the sale of the clothing is used to fund their projects.
One of their projects; DAPP Children’s Town, located in Zambia, was in need of funding to purchase commercial kitchen equipment and update the dining area. Children’s Town is a school with about 300 students and about 30 staff from the surrounding area. Most students are local and live at home, however some are orphans, and live at the school. Before the installation of the new kitchen, the school prepared daily meals by cooking the food on two stone and concrete wood-fired pits. The plan was; utilize an existing building for the new kitchen equipment and eating area. The school had all of the electrical service and plumbing infrastructure needed for the kitchen and dining hall.
As a dedicated Rotarian, Ed was confident the Batavia Rotary Club and other Clubs in District 7090 would embrace this project. In a unique service project, the Rotary Club of Batavia, the Rotary Club of St. Catherines, Ontario, the Rotary Club of Lusaka Central, Zambia, Rotary District 7090 and the Rotary International Foundation pledged money totalling over $13,000.
All equipment has been purchased, received, and installed. Much of the work to improve the existing space has been done by the students, and staff of DAPP Children’s Town. They performed the construction and utility work that was required to convert the existing space into the new kitchen. The students and staff used the skills learned in Carpentry Training class to build all of the tables and chairs. All of the furniture was constructed of rosewood; which is indigenous to the area. One of the goals of DAPP Children’s Town is to give the students a solid background in the types of skills that can be used after graduation. Most will learn some construction related skills.
Rotary Clubs world-wide and Rotary International fund both local and international projects such as the DAPP Children’s Town project every year. All service clubs such as Lions, Kiwanis and Rotary give generously to assist those in need all over the world. The value of service clubs cannot be under estimated. A good example is Rotary’s 25 year effort to help eradicate polio by initiating a project called Polio Plus in 1985. By 2012 Rotary will have raised more than 1.2 billion dollars to help eradicate polio. At the beginning of Rotary’s Polio Plus project there were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio identified each year. As a result of the efforts of Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Center for Disease Control, UNISEF, the United Kingdom and Germany, now there are about 1,100 cases of polio identified each year. Polio is endemic in just four countries. Recently, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s grant of 355 million dollars and an additional 200 million from Rotary it is expected that polio will be totally eradicated some time after 2012.