The Rotary Club of Ladysmith is working wot raise funds for access to education in the highlands of Guatemala. The club, along with other Island Rotary clubs, funded a women’s shelter in San Lucas Toliman. (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Ladysmith)

The Rotary Club of Ladysmith is working wot raise funds for access to education in the highlands of Guatemala. The club, along with other Island Rotary clubs, funded a women’s shelter in San Lucas Toliman. (Photo courtesy of Rotary Club of Ladysmith)

Rotary builds a women’s centre in Guatemala

Ladysmith club to host fundraiser for access to education

By Don Mercer

For two years students in the highlands of Guatemala have been unable to attend school due to the pandemic. The Rotary Clubs of Ladysmith, Chemainus and Nanaimo have been working in this area for many years. They are committed to a solution.

After several years of tenuous rental of space for a Mayan Women’s Centre and Shelter in San Lucas Toliman, funded by several Mid-Island Rotary Clubs, the San Lucas Mayan Women’s was able to secure donated, deeded land for a permanent Women’s Centre. With additional funding from the Mid-island Group (MIG) of Rotary Clubs and The Rotary Foundation, a women’s centre and shelter was built on this land in 2020-21, overcoming the challenges of COVID-19. This has coincided with the COVID-19-related closure of Guatemalan schooling to all students who do not have internet access to the school curriculum.

For 2021-22, the same clubs, MIG and foundation are funding improvements to the centre which will enable it to be set up (wiring, furniture) to accommodate the poorest of Mayan families’ children and give them internet access to the school curriculum. The missing element is computers for students to use under the supervision of a professional teacher to access and learn the curriculum, thereby avoiding another lost year of school. The fundraiser on Nov. 27 at Eagle’s Hall in Ladysmith will enable computers and equipment to be sourced for the start of the school year in January.

All money raised from the Fashion Show and sale on Nov. 27 at the Eagles Hall will go towards this project. Please join with Rotary for a fun and entertaining event between 11:00 and 3:00 pm. Attendance is by donation.