When Rotarian Ted Rose went volcano-hiking in western Mexico 23 years ago, he got lost and ended up spending a few hours in a poor, tiny village. During his short visit, Rose was moved by the enthusiastic Mexican children, but saddened by their dire need for health care and education. Three years later, he and his wife sold his typewriter business in California and moved to Colima, Mexico to see how they could help.
Since then, the Roses have dedicated themselves to improving educational opportunities and health services to very poor children in rural villages throughout the state of Colima on Mexico’s west-central coast. Their effort launched what is now known as “Project Amigo.”
“I wanted to give these children the books and health care they needed to be able to compete in the world,” said Rose in a Rotarian press release. “We’re getting kids excited about reading and giving them hope for the future.”
Rose has since enlisted the help of Rotarians around the world. Several times each winter, Rotarians come to rural Colima to participate in “winter work weeks.” These work weeks provide opportunities for hands-on international service. Participants meet Rotarians from around the United States and Canada, as well as the children served by Project Amigo. They also visit with local Mexican Rotarians, and learn about the local culture and traditions.
The Rotary Club of McLean, in partnership with the Geelong Rotary Club of Australia and the Club Rotario de Villa de Alvarez, recently obtained a matching Rotary Foundation grant that will provide 10 computers to six rural schools throughout the county of Villa de Alvarez in Colima. The Rotary Club of McLean also collected and sent new books to the impoverished children. The project provided effective learning tools and technology that will help young students achieve a better education and to lift themselves out of the cycle of poverty.
For more information on Project Amigo, visit www.projectamigo.org. The McLean Rotary Club meets for lunch Tuesdays at 12 p.m. in the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Fellowship Hall in McLean. For more information, visit www.mcleanrotary.org.