Posted by Johnny Ahern on Oct 28, 2020
The Rotary Club of Leominster had planned to send one of its Rotarians last March to Guatemala on a Global Service Project. The WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) project at the 23 primary schools in Guatemala is designed to invest in water and sanitation systems and provide comprehensive hygiene and menstrual education. 
Those schools were selected due to their lack of access to adequate sanitation facilities. Education in both hygiene and menstrual health is necessary because girls suffer more than boys due to inadequate sanitation and privacy. The WASH project aims to improve sanitation services in a comprehensive and sustainable manner, including installing filters to make the water drinkable.
The Rotary clubs participating in the WASH project have access to expertise and resources available through two of Rotary’s areas of focus: basic education and literacy. Since 2013, The Rotary Foundation has invested in more than 1,000 WASH projects in more than 100 countries. Through Foundation grants and fundraising by Rotary clubs, Rotary volunteers have supported water purification, hygiene education, latrine construction, and waste management throughout the world. 
Rotarians collected school supplies, personal hygiene items, stuffed animals and soccer balls, to bring with them, to give to the schools and families they met. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project was cancelled and items collected were never brought to Guatemala.
Still wanting to support those in need, members of the Leominster club decided to look closer to home. Knowing that schools and families could use these items, they decided to put these items to use.
School supplies were donated to Frances Drake Elementary School in Leominster, where students and staff will have access to items that they need. Vice Principal Wendy Hess and the Guidance Department will also work closely with other schools, to assist in their needs.
Personal hygiene items such as soaps, shampoos, conditioners, hundreds of tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes, sunscreen, and deodorant were donated to the Leominster Office of Emergency Management. In addition to these items, the Office was also given a large bag of stuffed animals to provide to displaced children, to offer comfort during trying times.
The 21 Rotarians of District 7910 were not able to complete their global project this year in Guatemala. However, they were able to make an impact within the Leominster community.
For more information, contact Johnny Ahern, of the Rotary Club of Leominster, at
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