HONOURING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Summer, 2022
by Strini Reddy
 
Since the children and youth in our partner communities have had a very challenging 2 school years, we decided to do as much as we can to enable the communities to provide as many fun learning and recreational activities as possible over the summer.  We consulted with the communities to determine how best we could do this.
 
We initially tried to work in partnership with other like-minded organizations so that we could increase our capacity and impact. In particular, we wanted to collaborate with MFNERC. Unfortunately, after a promising beginning, our efforts at collaboration failed.  However, we were able to get Wpg Aboriginal Sports Achievement Centre (WASAC) to offer summer programs in two of the communities, Lac Brochet and Shamattawa.
 
S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math)
 
I sought the assistance of one of my former students, a teacher who is now a widely recognized, award winning leader in this field, to help us offer S.T.E.A.M. activities in 2 of our partner communities over the summer.  Consultations were held with local leaders about program and needs.  Unfortunately, they were not able to offer the program this summer but plans are being made to do this in the fall.
 
SUMMER LITERACY PROGRAMS
 
We worked with our partners, Frontier College, to enable the offering of fun literacy development activities in Red Sucker Lake, St Theresa Point and God’s River.  Two instructors have been hired for 5 weeks in each community and training is being provided.  All necessary materials and resources are being sent into the communities.
 
Manto Sipi (God’s River)
 
We were able to send life jackets, crocs and water shoes so that the children could enjoy the water. We have already received some beautiful pictures and “thank you” notes.
We also sent board games and a variety of supplies for arts and crafts activities.
This community lost their dock last winter and requested help to have a new one built.  We are collaborating with a funding partner in Ontario to see if we can help make this happen.
 
Children from Manto Sipi (God’s River) happily holding up their water shoes to say “Thank You”
 
 
St Theresa Point
 
The community had purchased boats for water and land-based activities but were in need of life jackets which we have provided.  We have also sent all books and supplies needed for the Recreation and Reading Program.  In addition we have sent board games, arts and crafts supplies and soccer equipment.
This year, for the first time, we will be sponsoring 2 students from the community to attend our Rotary Adventures in Human Rights.
 
Red Sucker Lake
 
The community had acquired canoes for their water and land-based programs but were in need of life jackets and paddles which we have provided.  We have also sent board games, and are in the process of responding to a request for baseball and soccer equipment.
 
 
 Tadoule Lake
 
This is the only community (population of approx. 400) located in the Seal River Watershed, an indigenous protected area.  The Chief expressed an interest in educating the youth in his community about this pristine area.  He would require canoes.  We are in the process of purchasing and shipping 2 canoes for this purpose.
 
 
Students and adults from Tadoule Lake crossing the lake to summer camp in one of the canoes we sent.
 
Split Lake
 
We have worked in partnership with Indigenous Youth Mentorship Program to enable the offering of their 6-week fun program of summer physical activity and literacy program.
We are also working with the community to support the development of a baseball league.  We will be helping to procure the necessary equipment, etc.
We have just connected with Rylee Nepinak, the young man who rode his bike across Canada to raise funds to support the development of youth suicide prevention initiatives. We will be working with him to see how we can support these initiatives.
 
UPDATE : August, 2022
 
1.  We have purchased 2 canoes and shipped by air to Tadoule Lake.
The canoes arrived safely and we have just been informed that they are being used for their summer camp.
 
2.  Working with Basketball Manitoba we sent basketballs to 5 of our partner communities.  Received the following acknowledgement from one of our friends:
 
“I was very surprised and thrilled to receive a box of basketballs for our youth in . . . Cree Nation. Feels great not to be forgotten when one gives up.  I wanted so much to have a baseball league of some sort and more basketball games for our youth during the summer.  Only had one tournament of 10 teams so far and they were only permitted one ball to warm up with.  Thank you for your help.”
“July 1/22 was a one-year memorial for our late son who passed from suicide as did many others in the last year.  Sports is one way to prevent more tragedies from occurring in our community.  Thank you for your kindness and generosity.”
 
3.  We worked with our friends in Split Lake to obtain a substantial amount of sports equipment from MB Aboriginal Sports and Rec Council.  They sent a school bus down to Winnipeg to collect the equipment.
 
4.  We have just received the great news from our partner organization in Ontario that funding for a new dock in Manto Sipi (God’s River) has been approved!  They are in the process of having the paper work completed.  The community is hoping to have the dock built by fall.
 
5.  We sent $2000 worth of new books with indigenous content for the Poplar River School library for the beginning of the new school year.
 
6.  Both St. Theresa Point and Red Sucker Lake requested ball hockey equipment so that the students could enjoy this activity in the fall.  Equipment has been ordered from a supplier in Ontario and will soon be on the way to the communities.
 
7.  As noted above we sent paddles and life jackets to Red Sucker Lake.  The water activities were enjoyed so much by the students that the community wants to continue the activity in the fall with even more students involved.  Number of participants is limited by the fact that they have only 2 canoes.  We are looking for funding to enable us to provide 2 more canoes when able.
COVID-19 Response Projects in South Africa: Direct Aid for Food Supplies
 1)      Sondla Abantwana (Taking Care of Children)
In partnership with the Rotary Club (RC) of Johnannesburg New Dawn, the RC of Winnipeg donated USD $1500 to help feed resident students at the Alexandra township near Sandton, Johannesburg.  In April of 2020, RC New Dawn established the Sondla Abantwana fund to assist the Alexandra Education Committee’s (AEC) efforts to provide financial support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.  The AEC has set up a direct system of electronic fund transfers to the bank accounts of the neediest pupils who, in return, provide receipts of their purchases.  This approach has proven to be extremely orderly and agile in response to the pressing need.
 
In a Rotary Zoom meeting on August 5th, several members of RC New Dawn joined and thanked the RC of Winnipeg directly.  
 
 
 
 
  1. Porridge Project
Our partner Rotary E-Club of South Africa One brought our attention to a resourceful means of providing basic nutrition to large numbers of people in remote villages near Pietermaritzburg.  E-Club One is working in conjunction with the North West University’s “Centre for Advanced Manufacturing” and the Potch-Tlokwe Chamber of Commerce to craft and distribute a pre-cooked maize-based porridge.  Each meal costs a mere 8 cents (CDN), and a 5 Kg bag of the porridge coverts into 100 meals!  The RC of Winnipeg donated USD $1300 toward this noble cause.
 
  
 
  1. Food Supplies
Through his brother who resides in Kwazulu-Natal, the Rotary Club (RC) of Winnipeg’s Director of International Service, Strini Reddy, was able to obtain a large amount of food supplies to provide to remote communities in the region.  The supplies were transported from Pietermaritzburg to our partner RC Hillcrest, who in turn saw to the distribution of the food to the neediest areas.  $2500 was donated to accomplish this service.
 
     
 
 
Lily of the Valley Project
 
Located in South Africa’s Kwazulu-Natal province, the Lily of the Valley Children’s Village provides residence, health care, education and life skills for approximately 120 orphaned and vulnerable children who are cared for by about 30 resident staff. The Village’s structure and mandate is similar to the nearby iKhethelo Children’s Village, which has been long supported by the Rotary Club (RC) of Winnipeg in partnership with the RC of Hillcrest. Water supply for the Village is sporadic at best, which can jeopardize the health of the children and pressure the Village’s resources in seeking the water it requires. Owing to the relatively flat geography of the area, harvesting rainwater cannot ensure a sufficient supply, meaning that it would be necessary to take on the considerable expense of building a borehole. 
To fund this worthy endeavour, a Global Grant was sought by a united network of Rotary Clubs.  The RC of Winnipeg contributed USD $10,000, an amount matched by District 5550.  In addition, RC Hillcrest contributed $3,000 (augmented with $5,000 from its District 9370), RC El Camino Real (Oceanside, California) provided $7,000 (with matching funds from its District 5340), while RC Minneapolis donated $10,000.  The Rotary World Fund rounded out the funding with $37,000 to raise the total to $89,000 (over 1.4 million South African Rand).  The Global Grant was approved in August 2020 and the project will soon be underway!  It is anticipated to take 4 - 6 months to complete
Check out the Video 
Dolophini Project
 
Dolophini is a remote sub-village of Taweni in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.  Of its population of 3500, 80% of working-age residents are unemployed.  The main source of income is government social grants, which has created systemic issues that contribute to persistent poverty in the community.
 
Raised in Taweni, Khaya Mposula left a successful career in banking to return home to help uplift her community.  After successfully developing a community organic gardening project in Taweni (see image below and this link https://www.foodformzansi.co.za/former-banker-champions-organic-food-to-give-mother-nature-a-break/), she turned her attention to the residents of Dolophini.
 
Two potential borehole sites were identified that could provide a consistent supply of running water and, with this potential, Khaya wishes to train residents to grow garden towers that would provide food for themselves and generate additional volume that nearby commercial markets have agreed to sell.  This overall project promises a healthy measure of self-sufficiency by providing a local source of food, technical skills, and an independent source of income.
 
This ambitious project was brought to the attention of the Rotary Club (RC) of Winnipeg by the Rotary E-Club of South Africa One.  As project host, RC Winnipeg won approval for a Global Grant in October 2020, furnishing USD $10,000 that was doubled in matching funds from District 5550.  District 9370 also contributed $3,500 and the Rotary World Fund added $18,500 to amass a total of USD $42,000 for this wonderful project, which will be underway soon!
 

Dadaab Early Childhood Education - Dadaab Refugee Camp - HumanKind International
 
The project involves the construction, equipping, and staffing of an Early Childhood Centre in Dadaab. The Humankind Academy opened in January 2014 and had 71 students. The school expanded to a total of 150 students in January 2015. The children take two years of early education until they are able to enroll in the primary schools. The school has three classrooms, an additional room to act as an administrative office, training equipment for the three programs, an electrical generator and solar equipment to provide power.
 
The school has been enormously successful since inception and the need continues to grow. In collaboration with fellow Rotarian Muuxi Adam of HKI our club decided to support the initiative by raising the necessary funds and building 2 additional classrooms at the Centre so that more children can be admitted.
      
 
Construction of the 2 additional classrooms was completed end of February, 2019. Please see (http://humankindintl.org/) for more details about the Dadaab project.
Gillitts Primary School Sanitation Facilities
 
The recent,  2019,tragic drowning of a child in a pit toilet in South Africa created a national focus on the need for adequate safe toilet facilities at schools. The Gillitts Primary School in the province of Kwazulu-Natal approached our partner club, Rotary Club Hillcrest, for assistance in upgrading their toilets.
 
With the generous support of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg Manitoba Canada coupled with funds raised by Rotary Club of Hillcrest and Kloof Durban South Africa and a matching global grant from the Rotary Foundation, R342,000 (approx. USD 24k) has been raised to double the toilet facilities and make them much safer.
 
The second phase of the project  completed renovation of the girls’ toilet facilities so that the female students will no longer be inclined to miss several days of school each month.
   
 
 
Ngcolosi Village community Centre and Skill Acquisition Project
 
Rotary Club (RC) of Hillcrest has developed a very strong relationship with the headman Mr. Shandu and the people of this village. The Rotary Club (RC) of Winnipeg helped with the refurbishing and equipping of the community centre which is a gathering place for the villagers especially the seniors. RC of Winnipeg funded the construction of up to date ablution facilities.
 
As well we helped purchase sewing machines and the cost of training the villagers who wanted to learn to sew garments to help the local economy.
 
      
Chirasauta Water Project
 
Located approximately 300km from Harare in the southeastern part of Zimbabwe in the Mashonaland East province of the Chikomba district, the Chirasauta community is a semi-arid place where the rainy season only lasts for 3 months out of the entire year. In 2015 the Rotary Club (RC) of Winnipeg was approached by Dr. Matanga, Executive Director of the Canadian Multicultural Disability Centre Inc. (CMDCI), with a request for assistance to bring water to his remote home village of Chirasauta.
Rotary Club of Winnipeg took on the challenge. Over a period of 18 months we provided water and sanitation education to thousands of students in numerous schools who helped us to raise the necessary funds, a total of $30,000, which included a grant of $6,000 from the Manitoba Council for International Cooperation as well as a contribution from our Rotary District 5550. Towards the end of 2016, we were able to have a borehole drilled and a solar-powered pump installed bringing a permanent source of clean water to residents of Chirasauta and other villages in the surrounding areas. In addition to the many other benefits the girls are now able to go to school instead of making several trips each day to fetch water.
    
 
Holiday Camps
 
Over the past several years the Rotary Club of Winnipeg has funded 2 holiday camps (summer and winter) for children and youth from the iKhethelo Children’s Village and 2 neighbouring villages. The camps, organized by our fellow Rotarians at Rotary Club of Hillcrest, have been a huge success with participants enjoying enriching developmental activities as well as nutritious food.