Monday, October 5, 2009

Bukavu Rotary Club

Last Friday evening I met with members of the Bukavu Rotary Club to discuss a grant I recently wrote to expand services at Ushindi Center. As is often the case, my friend and Administrator at Ushindi Center, Hortense Barholere, accompanied me as translator.

I am a member of the International Committee of the Montecito Rotary Club, one of seven clubs in the Santa Barbara area. In that capacity, I applied for a grant to Rotary International this September, and we are awaiting news about funding.

The Rotary Club of Bukavu was formed in 1955, and although it is a small club with 22 members, it has a long history of service.

The President of Bukavu Rotary for year 2009-2010 is Sylvain Mapatano, a soft-spoken man with a strong presence who is both an agronomist and Insurance Broker. Speaking for all its members, he said his club is most happy to act as Host Partner for the grant: They sympathize with the plight of women in Congo and are willing to help improve the lives of women survivors of sexual violence. One of their current programs supports the education of girls and orphans.

After a year of successful operation, the Ushindi Center is ready to expand and help more women survivors heal and rebuild their lives. The grant we are co-sponsoring will enable the Center to increase capacity building by hiring more teachers and buying more sewing machines, fabric, supplies and furniture; a large copier and generator are also included in the grant, a purchase intended to generate income from students needing copies at a nearby university.

While I'm here in Congo arranging grant details with the Bukavu Club, my associate, Larry Thompson, Chair of the Montecito Rotary Club International Committee, is working hard to generate funds within our District, 5240.

We are looking for funding from other Rotary Clubs. If your Club is interested in contributing to this very worthwhile project, please contact Larry Thompson, Architect, at

With love and gratitude,

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