Update on Chile projects


Having spent two weeks in Chile this past November, I want to share with you the impact of our–the members and clubs of District 6420–work in this country and the reputation we are gaining as an engaged, thoughtful group of people.


The work of District 6420 has been made possible by the generosity of Rotarians of this district. It started with the Rotary Club of Galena establishing a Twin Club arrangement with the Rotary Club of Combarbalá, Chile. With the help of some fundraising and a Rotary grant, public restrooms were built in the town square, Plaza de Armas, en Combarbalá.. There have been many other small and large projects through the years.


Carter Newton poses for a photo with teachers and students after spending time in the English language computer lab in Combarbalá, Chile. A District 6420 Vocational Training Team program project in 2015 provided funds for the computer lab.

District Rotarians may well recall two of the bigger projects involving our. In 2015, District 6420 supported a Vocational Training Team project there. With a Global Grant of $36,000 which sent seven highly trained teachers to Combarbalá we helped Combarbalá’s teachers develop stronger English language teaching skill sets, and supported the installation of an English language computer lab in the community.


As a result of this project, the Rotarians of District 6420 contributed $13,682 to bring 11 teachers from Combarbalá to the district in January/February 2016 for three weeks.


I had the opportunity while in Combarbalá in November to visit many schools and interact with all of the teachers who came here in 2016. One of the teachers asked, “Is there anyway we can come back (to District 6420)? I am amazed at all of the different techniques and the diversity of the techniques, which are now being used in the teaching of English. I am amazed at the increasing levels of English speaking abilities of the older students. I see more and more English words hung up on classroom walls.


Maybe most telling are the relationships that have been built that make this world a bit smaller. When photos are taken, my teacher friends all want to stand next to me. How cool is that?


District 6420 has been asked to participate in two other projects. Work has started on one. The other will be a Vocational Training Team project, which still needs to be successfully defined.


We have been asked to participate in a global grant with the Rotary Club of Curacaví, Chile, which is in Rotary District 4340. Curacavi is about 30 miles east of Santiago, Chile’s capital. One of the great needs in Chile is getting dental care into rural communities and into places where people can’t afford dental care. To that end, the RC of Curacaví is partnering with its municipal government and with us to buy a trailer and then equip it with all of the equipment and supplies needed by a dentist. A pickup truck or some such similar vehicle can haul the trailer where the services are needed most. Knowing Chile as I do, it’s an elegant solution.


District 6420 has pledged the use of $3,800 in District Designated Funds (DDF) to support the project. The Rotary Club of Galena has agreed to serve as the International partner for the purpose of the Global Grant. I have agreed to raise $4,300 to support this project.


The Foundation chair of District 4340 is Roberto Silva and is a personal friend of mine. Roberto, who is writing the Global Grant proposal, has shared all facets of this project with me, including, “Due to its rural condition, the community has many small towns which makes very complicated its access to health care. Many senior citizens have not attended to medical or dental attention since many years due to their distance from the medical facilities. If we consider that the dental and heath attention is under public programs the problem in Curacavi is the distance people have to travel to attend medical facilities. This project will allows an estimated of 1,200 patients a year. This number will increase if we consider the benefit it will provide to the families


“The Mayor is highly committed with Rotary Club Curacavi and has been part of many projects the club has done during the last years. In this case the Mayor has made a contribution of $18.898 USD. Besides the money, the municipality will assume the costs related to the maintenance of the Dental unit, will be responsible for the dentist and his assistants salary and also provide the vehicle to transport the unit. All this will guarantee the sustainability of the project from its implementation. This is a great project where our dollars can make a difference in dental health care for a great many people in a project that is sustainable.”


It is my hope that Rotarians and Clubs in District 6420 will see this project in the same light as I do and would be willing to make a contribution that will impact the lives and healthcare of others. Donations can be made out to the Galena Rotary Foundation and sent to: P. Carter Newton, 129 S. High St., Galena, IL 61036. If you have questions or if you would like for me to do a program on Chile for your club, email cnewton@galgazette.com or call my cell number, 815-238-0318.


Thank you very much….in advance.