By Grant Moyo
The Rotaract Club of Belmont remains adamant about doing a world of good, addressing physical and social needs of local communities, despite putting on hold their yearly community projects due to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic which has affected the entire ecosystem.
With numerous efforts being channelled to combat the aggressive disease, the club hopes to resume services soon. Since its inception, the Rotaract Club of Belmont has embarked on life-changing projects addressing poverty, hunger and diseases mostly affecting the poor and needy in vulnerable communities.
Rotaract is a Rotary International programme for up-and-coming leaders aged between 18 and 30 years that are passionate about community and international service. It originally started as a youth programme in 1968 in Charlotte, United States, and has grown into a major organisation of over 10 904 clubs spread around the world and over 203 000 members in 189 countries.
Rotary International is an international service organisation whose stated purpose is to bring together professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organisation which is open to all. In Africa, Rotaract District has 9 210 positions itself as an international hub, which oversees Rotaract activities in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
“Rotaract Club of Belmont was chartered with the purpose of bringing youths together to develop members’ professional skills as well as giving back to the community and having fun through service,” former president, Rotarian Victoria Mungwena, said.
“In previous years, we have received assistance and partnered up with organisations such as the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe, Junior Chamber International, Schweppes, Edgars, as well as Rotary and Rotaract clubs from around the world. All these organisations have played a huge role in helping us fulfil our mandates over the years and in some cases have been strong partners in the running of projects.”
The Rotaract Club of Belmont has flagship projects such as cancer awareness campaigns and ‘A day without shoes’ where they ask the community to walk a mile barefoot for the day, as some of the underprivileged people do on a daily basis. The community is also requested to donate any shoes in good shape for those in need, these projects are normally done on a yearly basis.
In the pursuit of assisting the needy, the club joined Junior Chamber International in a clothes drive for the underprivileged at Ngozi mine in Bulawayo.
The initiative was implemented after observing how hardworking the individuals were as they collect recyclables from areas they can access around the city and take them to the dumps where they exchange them for cash which is usually far from enough to last more than a day.
With a valid community service which is not selective and embraces all, in 2014 the Rotaract Club of Belmont partnered with its mother club, the Rotary Club of Belmont, in their annual Hope Fountain Marathon.
The Bulawayo-based club took up various tasks which included helping out at water points, cooking, logistics for the marathon and ushering at the fundraising dinner, with proceeds going to charity.
This was followed by a textbook donation for the prize-giving day at Komayanga Secondary School in Nkayi district.
The club also donated stationery at the Riverside Stimulation Centre, which was also used as part of the school’s prize-giving day gifts for the children.
To help renovate the damaged electrical system, which posed a threat for the children at John Smale Children’s Home in Bulawayo, the Rotaract Club of Belmont donated hardware and accessories including doors, door handles, paint, electrical supplies, switches, sockets, cables, fluorescent lights, and energy savers.
The funds were raised through Car Track, which had hosted a golf day fundraiser at Bulawayo Golf Club.
To hearten the kids at the children’s home, the Rotaract Club of Belmont held a Christmas party filled with fun and laughter as they played games and cooked lunch for the children. The club also donated food and clothes which were contributed by club members.
In 2015, the club embarked on 10 weeks of service celebrating a decade of existence.
The club members took part in the Blood Drive where the public was asked to voluntarily donate blood in Bulawayo and Harare as there was a serious shortage.
This was followed by the club’s introduction of fortnight computer lessons for all the children both primary and high school at John Smale Children’s Home.
To consolidate its humanitarian work, the club took part in the borehole project initiated by the Rotaract Club of Harare West, helping to coordinate and travel to Kezi for the project.
The following month, the Rotaract Club of Belmont returned to John Smale Children’s Home where it had a career guidance session which was facilitated by club members from different fields such as medical, business and marketing.
On Valentine’s Day the club showed love to infants at Isaiah’s Home of Love Children’s Orphanage where they were engaged in art, painting, and drawing.
After a visit to the Hearts of Love soup kitchen, the club partnered with Bakers Inn to provide bread for the soup kitchen. The kitchen fed various people from different places including destitute street kids and adults.
After noticing that teenagers were in dire need of innovation, in 2019 the club collaborated with the Rotaract Club of Matopos on a project which taught pupils at Bazha Secondary School in Figtree how to build a beehive and attract honey bees. This was and is still one of the best self-sustaining projects they have had the privilege of being a part of.
Last year the dedicated club joined its mother club, the Rotary Club of Belmont, and the Rotary Club of Harare Central in the assembly, and donation of wheelchairs to children with disabilities.
The wheelchairs were sourced through Free Wheelchair Mission and the Rotary Club of Fresno in California.
This was the second time the Rotaract Club of Belmont joined the good cause, the first time being in 2015. Since the Covid-19 surge, projects have been put on hold.
“The pandemic has greatly affected us as most, if not all, of our projects require interaction with our beneficiaries and on-the-ground surveillance. So the majority of our projects have been put on hold. We have mostly focused on joining all virtual meetings and activities held by Rotary as a whole, in order to gain more insight as well as to try to keep our club motivated and continually growing as we have suffered greatly in loss of membership since the end of 2019,” Rotarian Bhala said.
The Rotaract Club of Belmont strives to transform its members into highly effective and upright leaders with a great sense of community. It is critical to recognise how the club’s work has been cutting across all sections of the society.
In communities worldwide, Rotary International and Rotaract members work side by side to take action through service inspiring new synergies.