We had a double bill on Monday night. First our RI Global Grant Scholarship student, Dr Yuan-Ming Tsai, attended the club for the first time, and gave us a concise but brilliantly illustrated presentation about Taiwan, its sights, people and cuisine [featuring the exotic ‘bubble tea’]. Ming is a qualified surgeon, and has just embarked on a PhD course at Leeds university, which he promises to tell us more about as his studies progress. Philip Aindow has been acting as host to Ming on behalf of the club, including an introduction to roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on his arrival in Leeds. We very much look forward to seeing Ming with his wife Nana and little daughter Rue Rue at our forthcoming Christmas social.
KSV Yorkshire School
The main event was a presentation by Peter Lloyd of the Rotary Club of Halifax, a retired senior inspector of schools who was one of the prime movers behind the response of our District 1040 to the devastation wrought by the tsunami in Sri Lanka on Boxing Day 2004. Some 40,000 people lost their lives, and included in the damage was the destruction of 183 schools. The response of District 1040 was to raise over £250,000 to build a new school in the east of Sri Lanka. The Rotary Club of Roundhay, then under the presidency of Andy Booth, was one of the clubs actively involved in raising the money. Building the school was no easy task due to the Tamil Tiger conflict in the area, the contractors suffering bombing during construction, but the building was completed in 2007 and the school handed over to the Sri Lankan government. The school is known as the Kaluwanchikudy Saraswathy Vidyalayam, or, more simply the KSV Yorkshire School.
In November 2015 Peter went back to Sri Lanka with a team from District and inspected the school to see how it was doing. The school has 149 pupils, but has unused capacity: the main hall cannot be used because of the state of the floor, and there is other wear and tear caused by a combination of the weather and lack of funding. After careful analysis, in conjunction with local Rotary clubs, essential and urgent repairs costing £10,500 were identified. When this work is done, the school will bring the school back to its original standard, ensuring sustainability of education and community provision in a poor area of Sri Lanka.
Peter told us that almost all the money has now been raised, including a District grant of £1,000, with about £500 outstanding. Thanks to the non-means tested winter fuel allowance having paid out this week indiscriminately to pensioners, two of our members immediately pledged £200 to Peter’s fund. It is hoped that the Rotary Club of Roundhay, involved in fund raising for this worthwhile project from the start, will now continue with the support it needs to finish the job.