The Rotary Club of Abbotsford-Sumas has helped secure a global grant of more than $288,000 for the Transitions Foundation, which provides wheelchairs and prosthetics to people with disabilities in Guatemala.
Ron Lewis, director of projects for Abbotsford-Sumas Rotary, said the club identified this as a high priority after multiple visits to the country.
“There’s absolutely no government support for any of this in Guatemala. They’re totally dependent on donors and charitable organizations to provide funds for them, so it’s an ongoing challenge,” he said.
The money will help Transitions hire more staff and build more wheelchairs, which cost approximately $400 each to construct.
Abbotsford-Sumas Rotary Club president Karina Chow said the grant is a combination of dollars raised by six local Rotary Clubs in Abbotsford, Mission and Chilliwack; the Rotary Club of Whidbey Island Westside (USA); the Rotary Club of Guatemala City; Rotary International; and the Government of Canada.
“The biggest part of this story is how we were able to work in partnership and how we could use our expertise to help transform another organization in a less developed area and be able to bring resources to that community,” Chow said.
The grant money will go to Transitions in two installments over two years. The host Rotary Club in Guatemala will oversee and audit the process.
Some local Rotarians will be traveling to the Central American country next year to see the progress.