Rotary projects are often seen one at a time and each one is an example of that Rotary club being active in their community, helping the community address a need that when satisfied will make the lives of many better.  Of course, these projects happen because real people make them happen, helping real people needing that helping hand up.  Rotarians are People of Action.  But what does this amount to over a longer term?  Here is an example of a project of ten-years and counting from the Rotary Club of Apia:
Each year the Rotary Club of Apia, Samoa, holds its Melbourne Cup Charity Fundraiser, a  gala event that a day of racing fun for the whole community.  It is the club’s major money earner and supports many of its community projects.
With the proceeds from the 2018 event the club was able to support more than twenty foundation year students through its scholarship programme.  This programme is part of the club’s wider literacy project which also comprises library book donations and the ‘a desk and chair for every student’ initiative.
Over the last decade, the club has donated over 20,000 desks, chairs and other school furniture (a lot from schools damaged in the Christchurch earthquake) to primary and secondary schools across Samoa.  In this ten-year period it has also given away more than one million library books to these schools.  
The club lands and distributes on average eight to ten container loads of books and school furniture annually.  The record was in 2009 when it landed a record twenty-eight containers.
The majority of these books and school furniture come to Samoa by way of donations from Rotary clubs in Australia, New Zealand.  The Rotary clubs of Riccarton, Ashburton and Stortford Lodge (NZ) and Bendigo in Australia have been long term partners in the project.  Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) and Rotary New Zealand World Community Service (RNZWCS) have also been instrumental in the initiative’s success over the years.
The Rotary Club of Apia hopes that with the help of its partners new and old, the literacy project will continue for many years to come so if in reading this story you are able to help please contact the club and help the project continue for the next ten years.  The literacy project provides a comfortable learning environment and fosters a love of reading in all the Samoan children it reaches.
Written by Savave Sapolu, Rotary Club of Apia
Republished from the District 9920 Newsletter