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An evening with Darlaston Rotary Club

Gill Knight

I went to an event organised by Darlaston Rotary Club, yesterday evening. This was unusual for me and only the third time I had photographed an event. The event was held at Darlaston All Active a community venture focused on helping people to stay active. The guest speaker was Gill Knight (pictured) who gave us an excellent talk about the work of Mary’s Meals.

The Rotary Club is probably best known for it’s activities at Christmas which include a Santa sleigh for the children that tours the streets. Rotary in Darlaston do so much more and I met the president, David Read in Asda at Christmas manning a ‘Tree of light’. He told me about how Rotary did fund raising and supported charities that includes a soup kitchen based in a local church.

After the presentation of awards and Rotary business the event got on with the real reason we were there and that was to listen to Gill Knight tell us about the work of Mary’s Meals. She told us how Mary’s Meals has helped children in Eastern Europe and continues to do so in Albania. I was already familiar with the plight of children in orphanages in Romania and Hungary; but the problems of children go much farther than Europe. We heard how there are 300 million children around the world who go hungry every day. This affects their education, partly because no one can learn when they are worrying about where their next meal is coming from and many children have to do what they can to earn enough for their next meal.

Mary’s Meals is active in Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, South America and Africa. We were told about the work in Malawi and how the children there often don’t even have a spoon to eat the little food they are given. They need more than food and so Mary’s Meals also  provides them with backpacks filled with items they need to survive and develop. People donate a backpack full of things that will be useful like soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and a towel. Children need to be creative and so stationary is included; pens, pencils, crayons and the all important pencil sharpener. They also need clothes and footwear, so flip flops and something to wear is included. Children also need to play and a simple ball, like a tennis ball will allow a child to play a game bouncing the ball to keep themselves amused or it will form the basis of a team game.

Helping children overseas is important. Ideas and beliefs are forming in their minds. Do we want them to grow up hating the world and all it’s inequality or do we want them to grow up knowing that despite all the hostility and hate there are people who care.

Talking to people last night. I found that they were rewarded with self-respect and a sense of pride in themselves and their organisation, because they care about their community and the world they live in.

I’ll be sending the rest of my photos of last night’s event for Rotary to use. They weren’t the greatest photos I have taken and some aren’t usable because I didn’t notice a mirror in the background reflecting the flash! I learnt something. Watch out for mirrors next time…

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