[CAPTION] Wednesday, 05 September 2018 marks International Charity Day. “Charity organisations are powered by passionate, selfless people who sacrifice much to help others. This day serves as a reminder for us to educate ourselves about the non-profit organisations operating in our communities, whether to support youth, the disabled or the elderly, and find ways to support them,” says Dr Malcolm Dodd, President of the Rotary Club of Claremont.

The Rotary Club of Claremont understands this well, as part of Rotary International, a global network of 1.2 million people who serve their local communities. The Club receives half of the charitable surplus of funds raised by the Cape Town Cycle Tour and this money is redirected to many charities in the Western and Northern Cape, Namibia and Angola. A few of the charities and organisations that the Club has provided financial support or partnered with include the Cape Town Association for Persons with Disabilities (CT APD), Bicycling Empowerment Network, Bel Porto School for children with intellectual and physical impairments, Filia School for children with special needs, Christine Revell Children’s Home, St George’s Home for Girls, Butterfly Art Project and Sporting Chance.

Besides investing directly into community projects and organisations, many charities benefit through funding support channelled through other Rotary clubs. Dodd explains: “We distribute funds to other Rotary Clubs in our region, who understand their communities and where the needs are. We can’t begin to detail every single project we have supported. In the past six years over R1.5 million in grants has been allocated to other Clubs, which is a good indication of the extent of the reach we have.”

In the last year, funds were allocated to the Rotary Club of Auas in Namibia to purchase 57 watering cans, buckets and bottles for the Kaisosi Women’s Agricultural Project (pictured above, left). The Rotary Club of Swakopmund together with Elephant Human Relations Aid hosted a youth leadership camp with funds received. The Rotary Club of Tygerberg used funds to purchase dog food, dog bowls and blankets for Adopt-a-Pet and the Rotary Club of Upington purchased four wheelchairs for disabled locals. Further funds were allocated to the Rotary Club of Stanford to purchase stationery for the local Recycling Swap Shop and the Rotary Club of Walvis Bay purchased and painted eight cots for the Living in Peace Namsov Centre for children. Educational toys were purchased by the Rotary Club of Groote Schuur for the Ubunye Educare Centre and the Rotary Club of Table Bay purchased a solar panel and two composting toilets for the Khomani San community living in Botswana (pictured above, right). A much-needed industrial sized washing machine was purchased and installed at ACVV Hesperos old age home by the Rotary Club of Beaufort West. Over a thousand school girls in Luderitz received sanitary pads purchased with funds allocated to the local Rotary Club, aiming to promote school attendance.

Every Club raises their own funds for these projects and works closely with charities in their region to meet important needs. “We are thrilled to support them in finalising the projects and in so doing, improving the livelihood of many people,” says Dodd.

The Rotary Club of Claremont has itself allocated much of its own resources (with substantial donations received from the Lewis Group) to the Injongo Project which provides holistic support to Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres in Philippi and is one of the biggest of its kind in the country. Besides structural upgrades, the Injongo Project offers additional training for teachers and facilitators, ensuring that the Centres are places where children thrive as they learn. In the past six years the club has helped to fully transform 14 ECD Centres, at a cost of R18 million.

“This Charity Day, we encourage members of the community to consider the worthy causes and organisations in their area, maybe even a Rotary club, that could use their time, expertise or financial assistance to make the world a better place,” says Dodd. For more information on Rotary Club of Claremont and the various community projects and initiatives they are involved with, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RotaryClubofClaremont/ or email ContactClaremont@rotary9350.co.za.