Though they were a long way from home, members of the Rotaract Club of Bugolobi, Uganda, felt confident they could tackle problems in rural Kanabulemu during their annual 1000 Smiles project.
Their original plan focused on curtailing the spread of HIV/AIDS. It's in the Rakai District, where the first case of AIDS in Uganda was uncovered in 1982 and about 12 percent of the population has been infected with HIV in recent years. But the Rotaractors discovered that problems in the village extended far beyond the disease.
"The community lacked water, the school was in a sorry state, and the medical center was in an even sorrier state, especially the maternity ward," says Anitah Munkudane, president of the Bugolobi club. "The condition was worse than we had imagined."
The Rotaractors still weren't prepared for what they found when they launched the project with the Uganda Health Marketing Group. They expected to treat 700 at the medical camp in Kanabulemu. More than 1,000 patients came.
Volunteers, including Rotaractors from other clubs and members of the club's sponsor, the Rotary Club of Bugolobi, provided comprehensive medical exams, dental screenings, medication, birth control, and more. And the troubled maternity ward? It got new mattresses to make childbirth more comfortable.
They presented benches and desks to the Keyebe Primary School and school supplies and uniforms to its pupils, many of whom are orphans. The team also helped install a borehole to bring much-needed water to the village.
For all of its exemplary work on the 1000 Smiles Kanabulemu Edition project, the Rotaract Club of Bugolobi was named the International Winner of the Rotaract Outstanding Project Award. Members will be honored at the Korea convention in June and will receive $500 to apply to a future project. The club will use it to help women suffering from fistula, says Munkudane.
Acknowledgement Rotary CONNECT