Rotary members from South America discuss humanitarian efforts

rpulley@lsjournal.comMay 19, 2017 

Visitors to Lee’s Summit from Paraguay and Argentina were in the U.S. as part of a Rotary program to help build relationships between communities worldwide. (From the left) Mirian Raquel Medina, Jorge Horacio Dellamea, Gonzalo Martín Acuña, Jonathan Keller and Valeria Favarón.

PHOTO PROVIDED

A volunteer team of Rotary members from South America recently completed a month-long tour of northern Missouri, including Lee’s Summit, to explain what the organization is accomplishing in their countries of Paraguay and Argentina.

On Monday the team toured various locations in Lee’s Summit, such as Unity Village, accompanied by hosts from the city’s Rotary clubs. The team members were younger professionals, ages 25 to 40, who presented various programs at meetings in the community, arranged by Lee’s Summit’s clubs.

The visiting team was led by Rotary member Valeria Favarón, a member with Rotary Club Resistencia of Argentina. It included attorneys, a hotel manager and a violinist and music teacher, Favarón said. The group had been in Missouri for about one month, visiting Rotary clubs in various cities, giving presentations on Rotary efforts in the two South American countries.

Favarón said the purpose of the exchange is connecting people who are doing the groundwork with peers in the U.S., finding the resources for efforts like providing clean water, getting music instruments for children and helping women start small businesses. Favarón is an information technology engineer.

Other projects include providing mobile libraries, medical equipment, fire trucks and ambulances to communities in their countries.

Dan Hall, of the Downtown Rotary Club, said that for many years Rotary International had sponsored a similar program, but a few years ago turned it over to the organization’s districts, and it became more intermittent. This year, District 6040 had an exchange. While visitors were here in the U.S., staying at homes of Rotary members, a team of Rotarians from Missouri were in their countries also visiting and living with families.

“This has been a great revival of that effort,” Hall said.

Hall and Favarón said Rotary strives to make “projects “sustainable” by transferring skills and knowledge, as well as monetary support.

The exchanges promote Rotary’s causes of promoting peace, saving mothers and children, fighting disease, supporting children, supporting education and growing local economies.

“We don’t want to dig a well, only to have it become a dry well filled with sand,” Hall said.

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