Journey of the Desks...

A child's request...and promises will be kept...

Feb. 2008, District Governor Marlene Brown & husband Earl Lewis traveled to India to take part in NIDS Polio drops; inauguration of Vocational center & visit Rotary sponsored schools. A child asked, 'Mum, could you get us some desks?' Gov. Marlene mentioned this as part of her International presentation at D-7150's RLI. Fulton RC President Steve Osborne shared they had some desks in a warehouse, and New Hartford Rotarian Chuck Tomaselli shared he could get trucks donated. And so the idea took hold. View the journey of the desks below. Donate to our project.

April 25th: Rotary eClub NY1 President Earl Lewis & Governor Marlene Brown begin the journey from Utica to Fulton in trucks loaned by Utica companies, secured by New Hartford Rotarian Chuck Tomaselli

Arriving at Fulton's Critical Vac warehouse, Fulton Rotary Club President Steve Osborne and Past President Gary McIlvain, start loading the desks

A humanitarian team effort Rotary's so famous for

Wheeling them from the back, prior to loading them on the two trucks

Ready for the journey back to Utica. L. to R. Fulton Rotarian Ray Czachor & Steve Osborne, eClub NY1 Rotarians Gov. Marlene Brown & Earl Lewis, Fulton Rotarian Garry McIlvain.

Arriving at The Children's Museum ('earthly headquarters' for Rotary eClub NY1)

New Hartford Rotarian Chuck Tomaselli carrying desks up the ramp into the museum

The driver of the donated truck from Anchor HVAC unloading his truck. Tontel Construction donated the truck Earl drove with Marlene aboard.

Children's Museum staff also help unload desks

Rotarians & Museum staff stacking the chairs inside the Children's Museum, as the journey continues

In the elevator, ready to be stored. eClub Rotarians Earl Lewis & Gov. Marlene, New Hartford Rotarian Chuck Tomaselli, Staff & Volunteers

April 26th: Hamilton College HAVOC students & museum staff begin the process of desk refurbishing

Cleaning the dust & dirt accumulated from years of storage, then sanding the desks, then spot priming the metal areas, painting a finish coat

An Assembly line process for children half way around the world, whom they may never meet

The Hamilton College HAVOC students at the end of a busy afternoon, pose on the museum's stairway

April 28th: Museum staff put finish coat on

April 28th: eClub Rotarians Earl Lewis & Gov. Marlene Brown, clean tops & stain chairs

April 30th: The desks are refurbished and stored in the museum basement awaiting a shipper

Keep checking back as we continue finishing the desk refurbishing & get ready to ship them to India!

Contribute to our India Project via our secure shopping cart. (Funds donated can be used to designate Paul Harris Fellows by the clubs or the individuals donating the money).

WATER: India faces a turbulent water future. Unless water management practices are changed soon, India will face a severe water crisis within the next two decades and will have neither the cash to build new infrastructure nor the water needed by its growing economy and rising population. India’s past investments in large water infrastructure have yielded spectacular results with enormous gains in food security and in the reduction of poverty.

However, much of this infrastructure is now crumbling. Shortfalls in financing have led to an enormous backlog of maintenance. Faced with poor water supply services, farmers and urban dwellers alike have resorted to helping themselves by pumping out groundwater through tubewells. Today, 70 percent of India’s irrigation needs and 80 percent of its domestic water supplies come from groundwater. Although this practice has been remarkably successful in helping people to cope in the past, it has led to rapidly declining water tables and critically depleted aquifers, and is no longer sustainable.

Sewage and waste water from rapidly growing cities and effluents from industries have turned many rivers, including major ones, into fetid sewers. Massive investments are needed in sewers and wastewater treatment plants to protect people’s health and improve the environment. Climate change projections show that India’s water problems are only likely to worsen. With more rain expected to fall in fewer days and the rapid melting of glaciers in the western Himalayas, India will need to gear up to tackle the increasing incidence of both droughts and floods.

LITERACY: The problem of illiteracy in the Indian context cannot be over emphasised. Basic literacy, as defined by the United Nations, is the ability to read 40 words per minute, write 20 words per minute, and do 2-digit arithmetic. In India, where one of the oldest civilizations flourished, only 52% of the population is literate (65.5% of males, 39% of females). (These figures are from the 1991 census). The literacy rate among rural women is 10%. Over half of the world's illiterates may be in India as we enter the 21st century. Every third working child in the world is in India.

For 3 million children in India, the street is their home. Various barriers to child and adult literacy exist in India, most prominent are the issues of gender and poverty. However, now as the population nears the 1 billion mark and with issues of poverty and social inequities becoming larger, it is time to face the challenges. Literacy is the key to development, health care, employment and last but not the least, it is the key to population control.

Through Rotary projects, teachers and students pair up with Rotarians to educate the community. The importance of literacy is the need for the community to be able to read. As President Wilf Wilkinson said " Literacy empowers people. It is the foundation for virtually all forms of education and an essential component of poverty reduction, social inclusion, and economic development. Despite the importance of literacy, there are more than 800 million people unable to read or write in the world today, and 64 percent are women and girls".

View slideshows of India Project. Read journal. View Blog.

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