By Mamta Lulla

Spruce Grove Rotary Club has been supporting 20 schools in Bangladesh for the past three years and now they are looking to increase that number.

At the annual Lobsterfest for the Rotary Club of Spruce Grove in May this year, the club did a cash appeal and raised $29,500 for the Amarok Society running in Bangladesh’s slums. The club has sponsored the society for nearly three years and now it is hoping to use this money to open more schools.

Currently, there are 20 schools educating 25 moms at each school who in turn teach their kids and the neighborhood kids.

John Oldham international director for Spruce Grove Rotary Club said the program costs $80 per kid per year and it empowers the entire community.

The club is looking to use the $21,500 left from the $29,500 – and partner with other Rotary clubs and businesses, look for matching grants and open more schools.

It takes $10,000 to run a school per year. If the club succeeds in finding the grants and support from other clubs and businesses, it will be able to open seven more schools.

Oldham said he is in conversations with regional rotary clubs and will continue to do so in January as well. The plan is to partner with groups of three clubs/businesses for two years in the hopes that they won’t need Spruce Grove Rotary Club’s funding support after that time.

Oldham said he wants to give the community the best bang for their buck and that’s why the club is partnering with other agencies. With that strategy, he hopes to multiply both resources and impact – dubbing it the multiplier effect.

“The multiplier effect of the money that our community contributes is important. They are entrusting us with their dollar and we are getting the best bang for their buck by multiplying that money by grants by other means to give our community the best deal,” he said.

That could also be said for the schools running in Bangladesh.

For example, the 20 schools don’t have a brick wall setting which means there is no capital cost.

The hope of the program is to shape a brighter community and overcome extremism while providing literacy, numeracy, values and hygiene lessons to moms.

These moms who educate their children and neighborhood children also teach others. A rough math suggests the 25 moms at each of the 20 schools teach about five kids in the afternoons. These five kids teach other kids and their grandparents in the hopes of a better life and future.

For more information about the program visit Spruce Grove Rotary Club’s Facebook page or call the club at (587) 763-0250.

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