By Wendy Elliott
Dorothy Miller has been to one of the places where Kentville Rotarians are sending their charitable dollars.
Miller is a Valley entrepreneur and active community volunteer. Having returned to the Valley after five years in Thailand and China, she can speak to the considerable needs of Su Bote Chan School.
The school is in its fourth year of operation and serves about 40 Burmese refugee children in the town of Mae Sot in Northern Thailand. Having escaped the brutal regime in Burma, their parents work for pennies in garment factories on the border, says Miller.
Many aid workers believe that communities like Su Bote Chan will continue to be their home away from home for years to come because of the unstable political situation in Burma.
The cost of operating the school is $687 per month. That amount, noted Miller, covers rent, teacher salaries, school lunches, supplies and the needs of a disabled seven-year-old boy. The club is contributing $1,000.
Miller worked with NGO representatives in Thailand, facilitating training and consulting in human relations and intercultural communication. She said that living in the East was the experience of a lifetime.
“I learned as much as I could and spent lots of time outside the tourist areas. The spirit there is quite wonderful.”
She got involved with international clubs that offered rewarding work with much needed charities. As a result, Miller says she found the first few months back in Canada unsettling as she re-examined the western world.
With over 20 years in the non-profit, private and public sector, Miller has since opened a consulting practice called Involution to link business and well-being.
She said Kentville Rotarians are also donating to the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (Wasrag), which was formed in 2007 to focus on water and sanitation work.
UNICEF estimates that over half the schools in developing countries do not have safe water or adequate sanitation and hygiene education programs, so Wasrag was created to provide the know-how, consistency and credibility.
The Kentville club has committed to funding one school, at a cost of $5,300. This will be matched by $22,600 from other partners to aid the 2,500 students attending a school in Mulawi.
The Kings–Kikima Grannies are the third charity that has gained the Rotary Club’s support, Miller said.
The local group of grandmothers, who help 28 grannies caring for 70 grandchildren in Kenya, is gaining $1,500. Their biggest need is food, followed by educational assistance, improved water resources and micro-loans.