Christmas may be over for most of us, but for the staff and patients of the Lalgadh Leprosy Hospital and Service Centre in Nepal, the season of giving is coming on Jan. 30 when a much anticipated delivery date gets there along with a huge shipping container filled to the bursting with drastically needed medical equipment and supplies.
The shipment is just one of the 266 40-foot containers worth nearly $100 million sent to 50 countries in recent years through the Rotary World Help Network. The non-profit organization has a mission to help communities help themselves, and it is supported by member clubs throughout the area, including those on the North Shore in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In the ’90s the Vancouver Rotary Club started chartering the first Rotary club in Ukraine. When the B.C. Rotarians visited there, they saw the needs of residents, especially those affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster
After that, they got together a load of medical equipment and supplies, and the giving and gathering of supplies never stopped after that. Things started off with seven member clubs and now about 38 take part from all over the area. This network depends on the local groups for what they know about who and where the strongest needs exist.
At first they concentrated on the Ukraine, but as the group got bigger, they were able to help other countries as well that were in need. One example was a donation of laboratory gear to a cancer institute in Tanzania in 2009.
Other examples of countries that have been targeted by the network include Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines and Zimbabwe.