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Batemans Bay Rotary helping in the Philippines

Imagine not having water at your school and having to carry it from a nearby stream in a bucket; imagine not being able to see properly, so you cant learn to read or write; imagine having to wash in the street and having a makeshift toilet. Batemans Bay Rotarians have, over the last fourteen years have helped people in the Philippines make their lives a little easier through the funding of these projects. The Club has worked with the Rotary Club of Intramuros, Manila, who have co-ordinated, managed and supervised these projects on behalf of the two clubs,

Garry and Vere Gray have recently returned from a friendship visit to the Philippines, and witnessed first hand how the work of these two clubs has benefited many Filipino people. Students and teachers alike expressed gratitude for water wells, which have been drilled in 29 schools over the last thirteen years, benefiting over 34,000 students as well as 2,600 village families and a hospital. Batemans Bay Rotary’s Peter Wood was instrumental in instigating these programs.

During a school visit to a poorer area of Manila, eyeglasses were fitted to 51 children aged 5 and 6. Under the current program, 465 children have been vision screened, with another 500 still to be tested. The smiles when the glasses were fitted said it all!

Perhaps the highlight of the visit was the Official Opening of two toilets (of 7 being constructed) in the shanty village of Sitio Babo about 100 km north of Manila, which is inhabited by people called Kulot – the first people of the Philippines.

The village had no town water until last year. Batemans Bay and Intramuros Rotarians, together with students from a nearby university, who are undertaking a community immersion program in the village, have designed, funded and are supervising the toilet construction program following consultation with the village community. Each toilet will be shared by four or five families – 25 to 30 people. An additional benefit of the toilet construction is that the village women now have somewhere private to wash, whereas previously they had to wash in public as there was nowhere else.

The two clubs have a firm commitment to keep working on projects together for the betterment of the Filipino people, and plans are already being developed for the future. Vere Gray Batemans Bay Rotary

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