Rotary | People of Action
End Polio Now
This is the flagship project of Rotary International, started in 1985, committed to the eradication of the wild Polio virus world-wide.
Literally billions of dollars have been put into a worldwide vaccination programme and this virus can now (2021) be found only in Afghanistan and Pakistan. A huge milestone was reached in 2020 with the declaration that the virus had been eradicated in Nigeria, making the African Continent free of the wild Polio virus.
It is a Rotary initiative supported by governments everywhere, WHO, UNICEF and many other organisations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation which has supported Rotary’s giving at a ratio of 2:1.
Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea is involved in the following projects:
Noluthando Soup Kitchen
In 2009 Gladys Hani of Child Welfare approached Mike Wilmot, secretary of the newly formed Rotary Club of Kenton On Sea, with a request to open a Soup Kitchen in Ekuphumleni.
Our Club partnered with Child Welfare and the Periwinkle Trust, to create the Noluthando Soup Kitchen with the aim of feeding at least 60 children daily.
Rotary found suitable premises in the Ekhuphumleni Township, signed a lease agreement and set about painting, some alterations, garden landscaping and fencing plus a new fridge and a gas burner. PG Glass, Grahamstown, deserves a special thanks for their donation to glaze the building at no cost. Many others have assisted and our thanks goes out to them as well. Rotary “handed over” the keys of the refurbished house to Gladys, who is in charge of the soup kitchen, on Tuesday 9th November 2000.
Fast Forward to 2013: Child Welfare received a generous donation which enabled them to purchase the adjoining property which is being used as a Youth Center for the children who are fed at Noluthando. This building has also been refurbished and the Uviwe Centre is fully operational.
We continue to be involved with this project by providing a little supervision and a little help when necessary to maintain the buildings and equipment. It is essentially a self-sustaining project.
Rotarians in Kenton were aware that there was a lot of snaring taking place in the undeveloped parts of town, and particularly the Joan Muirhead nature reserve.
In an attempt to do something to control this, Rotary applied to join the Assegaai Conservancy and was accepted as “members” in 2009, with the blessing of the municipality. One of our members now meets regularly with the local conservation team who patrol the bush areas of the town to check on wildlife and dismantle snares.
The conservancy is based in Salem and is a group of property owners, or their representatives, who employs a pair of game guards/rangers, who patrol on a roster for their members.
These guards are specialists at finding snares, and reading tracks. They live in Port Alfred and thus can’t be pressurised by the local poachers.
There are a number of lower income homes within our area of community involvement, where unemployment is as high as 70%. This contributes to poor living conditions and deteriorating health of a number of residents.
In 2012, in response to a number of requests for wheelchairs, our Club decided to obtain 45 new wheelchairs from ROMEX (Rotary Medical Exchange) in East London.
After a donation from our Club. ROMEX obtained some wheelchairs from the Wheelchair Foundation, UK. Since 2012, over 100 people have benefitted from our wheelchairs and the experience of handing them out, has been very humbling and emotional.
Some recipients have had no mobility for years, others have been moved in wheelbarrows or prams so having a wheelchair has made a huge difference in their lives.
The challenges facing us going forward include:
- The identification of potential needy recipients.
- Identifying and recovering the wheelchairs when they are no longer required by the recipients.
- The repair and maintenance of the wheelchairs.
- Funding of new wheelchairs.
In 2019, PDG Bruce Steele-Gray was able to create a partnership with DISCHEM to source wheelchairs from them at a much reduced cost. This is slowly gaining ground as clubs become aware of how easy it is in comparison with the increasing expense and difficulty of sourcing chairs from overseas.
The club spends a lot of time looking out into the poorer communities around us. Sometimes, however, we need to look to the needs of those wonderful people who support all our efforts. The paving project was identified as a way of saying thank you, whilst adding value to our own community. There was no proper pedestrian way along one of the main beach routes, a fact which made this popular venue a danger to get to. We managed to find a sponsor in Makana bricks, Grahamstown, and a local builder provided labour at cost to enable us to provide a proper pavement from main Street down to Middle Beach. A further phase saw paving in the parking area in the main business centre of the town.
Blankies/ beanies for Madiba
The Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea supports Mandela Day which is held on 18 July (Mandela’s birthday). It is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. We do this by giving our time specifically to make a contribution to the poorest section of our community by making and handing out blankets and beanies for the children.
LN-4 – Give a Hand
We provide a light, durable, functional prosthetic hand to every person who wants one and can benefit from it, and do so at no charge, this is a little video that demonstrates our mission better than words.
Our relationship with this amazing, life changing project also came about as a result of our presence at the RI International Convention in Lisbon, 2013. Ambassadors Karen Thompson and Greg Williams so impressed us that we invited them, through our District, to give a presentation at our District Conference aboard the MSC Opera in April 2014. They spent a few days with us prior to the conference and trained some of our members to be able to ‘give hope, give a hand’. A hand was given to a local farm worker who had lost a hand on an accident. What an amazing experience to give this man back most of the functions of the lost hand. A 2nd recipient was a young man with a birth defect who also now has so many more ways in which he can use his new hand. This programme is on-going and we hope to identify more recipients as the word spreads.
Tree of joy
The Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea is committed, and has been since December 2009, to the Rotary Tree of Joy project, because it is such a worthwhile way of providing joy to people often forgotten at Christmas.
What is the Tree of Joy? it is a Rotary community orientated project aimed at providing gifts to people, young and old, who seldom have the pleasure of receiving anything for Christmas.
How does it work?
First of all, charities and charitable organizations are approached to identify worthy recipients of gifts. They may be orphans, lonely adults, the poor, ill or infirm, or are simply people in need of a little love and care. A special Christmas tree is placed in a prominent place in Kenton on Sea (outside SPAR) for two weeks in December. The site of the tree is manned by Rotarians and the public is encouraged to make a donation which will buy a gift which will provide excitement and joy to the recipient at an affordable cost to you. Just imagine the happy smile that you will have put on the face of that person who is unaccustomed to such goodwill. They will know that someone out there, cares.
Desperate measures for desperate times called for ingenuity regarding fund raising. Creating a coffee table style cookbook turned out to be just the thing. A great deal of blood, sweat and tears, of laughter and frustration, resulted in the biggest project our club has ever undertaken. Brilliant sponsorship came from Standard Bank, recipes came from all members, local photographer, Dave Stott donated his expertise to provide beautiful pictures, and members cooked and tasted and edited for months in order to bring out this treasure in time for Christmas 2020. The first print of 500 was sold out before it could even hit the shelves of our book shop. We are now well on our way to selling a further print of 700 and, on 19 May 2021 The Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea was delighted to take the opportunity to hand over the first tranche of funds raised from the sale of Kenton Cuisine. R 65000 was donated to Sister Moira Bayley from Dolphin Coast Frail Care, and a further R 35000 to the representative from Sunshine Coast Hospice, Dallas Ehrke.
We are fortunate to have a Pigeon Loft close by and even more fortunate to have pigeon owners who have donated a race to us on an annual basis. This event has proven to be very popular and funds go to our local Sunshine Coast Hospice. Race goers “buy” a bird and then go to the venue for a tasty lunch and to await the return of the pigeons which have been released miles away earlier in the day. Spotting the first pigeon provides a lot of entertainment… and frustration, as the first bird back is not necessarily the first bird into the Loft. Only when a bird has gone into the Loft is it considered to have finished the race.
The Bistro Evenings started in October 2010. The idea behind the Bistro Evenings was to run an evening where the emphasis was on the food and fun. It is a fun evening, with the opportunity to make a little money. To date, we have had the following Bistros: Greek, Irish Blarney, German Beerfest and Bushveld, all with the appropriate menus and music.
PR Cocktail Evening & Auction
Our Club is fortunate to have a number of holiday home owners whose support for our efforts has become invaluable. As a ‘thank you’ to them, and everyone in the community, the Club holds an annual Cocktail party during the Christmas holiday period. The Club President gives a presentation highlighting the projects with which the Club has been involved in the past year with an assurance that donations received are being well-spent and utilised. The evening also hosts an auction which gives rise to some very competitive bidding and a lot of fun.
End Polio Now
Who would have thought one could create a project from manure? Well… It’s more than possible with the help of a local dairy farmer who is also one of our members.
We have keen gardeners around town and they have happily dug into their purses to pay for manure which we bag and deliver. The response has been so good that this has also become an on-going project.
Kenton Wine Festival
If the universities can have boat races, so can our club! The brainchild of one of our members, this required the making of some 300 little wooden boats. Participants “buy” a boat and these are then released into the river to be taken by the tide in the direction of a pre-determined finish line. With prize money going to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, this event has provided great fun for young and old alike.
Fish 'n' Chips Babies
Somewhere in the Southern-most part of Africa, live the Fish ‘n’ Chip babies. These are the children from families who are so poor that, when a new born baby is taken home from hospital, it is wrapped, not in snuggly baby clothes and receiving blankets, but in newspaper because there was no money for anything else – hence the name.
This project arose as a result of a gift of such items from a visiting American Rotarian, and has grown from there as other wonderful people have also given us clothing and other items. Kenton Spar have allowed us a trolley collection for various baby items which was supported by a generous public and to which they, too, contributed generously. Several work parties later to put the bags together, we were at last ready to make the hand-over of 10 “baby packs” in the Port Alfred Hospital maternity ward.. Each pack contains a receiving blanket, baby-gro and/ or jersey, a beanie, nappies and a baby soap or cream. This is an on-going project and all donations are gratefully received.
The coast is not the easiest environment in which to grow a garden.
However, this annual competition has given encouragement to gardeners of all kinds – small, large, pavement, vegetable – all are invited to take part and sponsorship for prizes is generously given by our local nurseries and builders’ merchants.
The idea is to encourage making our towns more attractive whilst giving pleasure in the flower gardens and a food source from the vegetable gardens.
Sunshine Coast Hospice
“Sunshine Coast Hospice offers home-based palliative care to patients and families facing life-threatening illness. Services offered are medical to patients and support and counselling to families, plus material support in the form of bedding, clothing and food parcels where necessary. Patients are visited regularly and have access to a multi-disciplinary team. Our Club has supported Hospice by holding a number of different fundraisers. The funds raised have been used to buy medical equipment for the hospice team, and larger items such as portable oxygen concentrators that can be made available to patients for use in the home.”
The aim of these workshops is to motivate and thank teachers in the Kenton, Ekuphumleni, Marselle, Klipfontein and Alexandria areas served by our Rotary Club. Held after school, the workshops have focussed separately on the pre-school, junior primary, senior primary and high school phases. After a welcome, guest speakers and our members have interacted with teachers on diverse themes such as helping children with ADH disorder, the value of learning through fun games, the importance of recycling and improvising in under-resourced schools, class room management and creative activities. Our Rotary Youth Service committee members are fully involved in all aspects of these workshops, firstly working on the concept or theme and then hosting an afternoon of support, fun, learning and sharing for an average of 40 teachers. Complimentary, teaching-themed gift packs, usually containing some hand-made items, are given to the teachers at the end of the afternoon.
These workshops indicated the need for something far larger and so our first Global Grant project was born. PP Mike Peter has put an enormous amount of effort into this and we now have 16 pre-school teachers qualified to NQF4 level. This project has brought over R 500 000 into the local economy.
This event has so far only taken place once before Covid intervened. The object is to get the local youngsters involved in a fun beach obstacle course which is set up to cater for different age groups and skills. Hopefully it will resume once matters settle.
Trauma Unit at SAPS
For 18 years SAPS Station Commander, Port Alfred, Colonel Zeelie, has had a dream – to establish a Trauma Centre in the Kenton on Sea area to meet the needs of those who have been the victims of abuse. On 25 September 2018 her dream at last became a reality when the small wooden building (provided by the Periwinkle Trust) set in the grounds of the Police Station at Kenton, was declared ready for action. It needed cleaning, painting, decorating, furnishing and electrifying and, in partnership with The Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea, the Periwinkle Trust, Buco and the VLV ladies from Alexandria, all of this has happened. This transformed building is now fully operational to assist anyone who suffers abuse in any form.
Rotary: working with the Community, for the Community.
By 28 April 2020: The Rotary Club of Kenton on Sea, was reaching the end of its third Covid 19 intervention in our local communities. Starting with a partnership with Sunshine Coast Spar and KOSRA (Kenton on Sea Rate Payers Association) plus some private donations, our Club contributed R20,000 to a drive to put together and deliver food parcels to those in dire need in the Kenton locality. This was shortly followed by a contribution of a further R20,000 to our neighbouring community covering Boesmansriviermond, Riversbend, Marselle, Klipfontein, Boknes and Cannon Rocks together with their Rate Payers groups. Much of the distribution has had to be done overnight to ensure that parcels could safely be delivered to those identified as being the most needy – those with no work, no income and no sort of grant income. The third phase extended our reach into the nearby community of Alexandria where 250 more food parcels have just been distributed successfully and without incident. An example of the parcel contents would be: 2 x 1L Full Cream Milk, 450g venison, 500 g salt, 750ml cooking oil, 2kg Spar rice, 410g tin baked beans, 1 x box 100 tea bags, 500g stock cubes, 500 g soya mince, 1 bar of soap, 5kg mealie meal, 2.5 kg sugar. Our local SAPS, Municipal councillors and HiTec security have all played a big role in making this possible.
This initiative, undertaken by Rotarian Dave Howard on behalf of the club, was supported almost entirely by private donations and support from the Alexandria Farmers group, Savemore Spar, Clover Milk, Coega Dairy/Just Milk, Chicory SA and Cape Eastern Livestock.
This is by no means the end of the effort and we have subsequently provided hand sanitisers, masks and some life- saving oxygenators/ ventilators as the need grew for such items to help keep our local community as safe as possible.
Youth Service: RYLA, Interact, Earlyact
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is a Youth Leadership Camp , which Rotary Clubs take turns to run once a year. We have sent participants over the past few years from Nompucucko in Marselle and Ikhamvalisizwe in Ekuphumleni. They are pupils who are in Grade 11, young folk who show potential and who their teachers and we, as Rotary, feel will benefit from this leadership skills development. In 2020 The Rotary Club of Port Alfred undertook to take over the running of RYLA in our region and this is now done locally.
Interact is usually open to youngsters in Grade 9, 10 and 11. Our Youth Service Committee saw the opening, and the need, at a local school, Ikhamvalesizwe Combined School. Ideally, a member of the school staff assists with the running of the club and the object is to introduce these young people to the concept of community service and service above self, Rotary’s motto. This club has been running effectively now for a number of years and our Youth Service committee is hoping to open a second club at one of the other local high schools.
We took over this initiative at Kenton Primary School, from Port Alfred in 2009/2010. The Grade 7’s are involved every year . The club meets a few times each school term and basically fund raises in order to serve the less fortunate in our community.. Each year they assist, firstly: their school in some way – provide refreshments for school functions, supply sports equipment and educational aids, decorate the library, supply a fan/ heater for classrooms, host a dictionary quiz for schools in the area and run an Easter Egg Hunt and Master Chef Competition, a Car Wash Fundraiser etc. Then they serve their immediate community, by picking up litter on the streets, visiting Homes for Senior Citizens, caring for our service providers in clinics, post office, public library, doctors and nurses, assisted Meals on Wheels, tree planting etc. Then the circle is extended to assist with funds for e.g.Guide Dogs S.A., SPCA, Cancer -CHOC and the Sunflower Fund, collars for the prevention of rhino poaching at Chipembere etc.
Early Childhood Development (ECD)
Phase two commenced in January 2020, with a view to bringing participants to NQF4 level. After some disruption because of the Covid pandemic, this has been achieved, enabling the now qualified practitioners to register as fully fledged ECD teachers.
The Club’s intention was to apply for a further Global Grant through which we could turn our attention to refurbishing and equipping the 6 pre-school premises (in Ekuphumleni, Marcelle and Klipfontein). With the huge demands being made on The Rotary Foundation during the Covid pandemic, we have not been able to secure this Grant. However, we have partnered with a club from the USA, the Periwnkle Trust, the Cabra Dominican Sisters and several private donors which has made it possible for us to go ahead with this second programme. After visiting all 6 schools and determining the problem areas, work began in June 2021. All the schools are now fully secured, have functional facilities and damaged buildings have been repaired. With the funds still available more work will be undertaken to further improve facilities for the children at this critical stage of their young lives.