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Belize hosts 25th Uniendo America Project Fair

Belize is hosting the 25th Uniendo America Project Fair for the third time. The fair is held annually and is hosted by different Central American Countries. Eight of the ten Rotary Clubs in Belize are part of the fair that opened this morning. Seventeen districts from the US and Canada are also being represented. Dalila Ical has more on this story.

Dalila Ical reporting:

Uniendo America Project Fair sees Rotarians form Central American countires, USA and Canada come together to partner on projects. This year, Rotarians hold the 25th annual fair in Belize and representatives from various Rotary Districts gathered at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel to showcase their work and seek out new partnerships and funding. Marcelo Blake is the Co Chair for Fair.

Marcelo Blake, Co Chair for the Uniendo America Project Fair

“We get a good idea, we get partners who support the same idea that we’re pushing; whatever that project is whether it’s in water and sanitation, education, disease prevention. There are six areas of focus for Rotary.”

Once funds are secured, projects are implemented and in most cases international partners join local clubs in executing them. Mel Honig, a Rotarian from District 6600 in Northwest Ohio, USA has been helping to enhance early childhood education for hundreds of children in rural schools here.

Mel Honig – Rotarian, District 6600, USA in norwest Ohio

“We send the them the tools that they need to mature physically, socially and also mentally and these tools are sporting equipment’s,puzzles, games and toys, computers and most importantly books to read and what we are trying to do is give them a well-rounded education and starting them out so they will be stronger when they reach levels 1,2,3,4 and hopefully go on to high school and from their maybe University and primarily we deal with the outlying communities. These are the communities where resources many times don’t find their way so we set up a resource center in the preschools and it is the preschool teacher and the principal who is most important in this equation for using these resources in the best way possible.”

Fellow Rotarian Robert Dinardo also of District 6600 has led an effort that sees used and usable medical supplies and equipment shipped to several countries, Belize included.

Robert Dinardo – Rotarian, District 6600, USA

“We ship containers; we find the need in the Rotary club in another country and we try to matchup what we have with what they need and we get our shipments together, ship forty foot shipping containers of all sorts of equipment. We use clothes as packing material and what that does is it not only keeps things from moving around in our container but their usable clothes too so everybody gets all kinds of different things and different items and it’s great.”

In Guatemala the Rotary E-club of Lake Atitlan, Panajachel focuses on water and sanitation challenges around Lake Atitlan. Dr. William Boegel says they hope to gain more support in this year’s fair.

Dr. William Boegel – Rotary E-club of Lake Atitlan, Panajachel Guatemala

“It has huge sanitation  problems: clean water, trash, waste treatment are big problems so our small club has done five global grants on water and sanitation enclose them and we are here in Belize to meet North Americans who want to continue to help us improve the whole leg basin that’s badly contaminated. There is an ecological crisis, so that’s our most urgent issue. We do health care and education in literacy and maternal and child care. We do all the areas of Rotary but our biggest effort is on the immediate water and sanitation crisis problem of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.”

To support the foundation the E-Club also sells Guatemalan coffee by the pound which is shipped to US and Canada.  The projects, with enough support, grow annually reaching more and more people and just the same, new partnerships are forged. One of these is the recently formed team work between Rotarians and the Belize Police Department.

Douglas Hyde – National Youth Program Coordinator, BPD

“Rotary had funded and supported us; big time loss therein executing our first time Youth Mentorship Program that we work with one hundred kids from the Southside. These are kids of high-risk and ofcourse trouble youth and fifty males, fifty females that we work with for six months on the weekends. We had trained mentors and person from the community working with these young persons. So Rotary came big time in supporting us and funding us in this program and we are looking again for redoing this program but we want to run it for three more years so today we are being apart of the Project Fair and sharing the information and also seeking funding in support of this program.”

Eight of ten Rotary Clubs in Belize are taking part in this year’s fair. The effort that goes into the various projects has benefitted hundreds of Belizeans across the county. Blake describes the collaboration as nothing short of great.

Marcelo Blake, Co Chair for the Uniendo America Project Fair

“It helps to execute those projects on the ground in your country. Helping the communities which we live in and really that’s what Rotary is all about.”

Robert Dinardo – Rotarian, District 6600, USA

“We see that people need some things and so I think it is almost our duties to help out.”

Mel Honig – Rotarian, District 6600, USA in norwest Ohio

“We’re excited about what we do and we really enjoy what we do and the smiles on their faces is just wonderful and it makes us very happy.”

Dalila Ical Love News.