Newsletter 121 - October 2019

Bridges Create Connections.

Our annual Charity Golf Day held in May this year fundraised for the charity Bridges to Prosperity. Our 2018/19 President, Roger Key, chose an engineering charity. Almost 1 billion people around the world do not have safe access to critical resources like health care, education or employment due to an impassable river. With a single innovation Bridges to Prosperity are able to impact households across multiple dimensions.

 Safe access unlocks economic opportunity for a community. Farmers are able to sell their crops at outside markets or access agricultural inputs like fertilizer or seed. Bridges ensure consistent access to non-agricultural jobs. Women save time on household activities, spurring an increase in women entering the work force.

 Easier access to healthcare leads to increased care-seeking behaviour; when a community has safe access to a clinic, there is an 18% increase in visits. In an emergency, easier access means a more likely positive outcome. A healthier individual is better able to work or attend school.

The bridge construction projects we are supporting are in Rwanda. The lead club is Rotary Club of Alamagordo, New Mexico, where Norm Arnold, their International Chairman, has been a stalwart supporter of the charity, or not-for-profit as they call them, since it was founded in 2001. He has secured some $38,000. Our donation of £6,700 will translate to about $8,500.

 Our many thanks go to all the teams that participated in the Golf day but especially to Mary Whittington and her team for organising yet another successful event.

Rukurazo Bridge– Muhanga District Rwanda

The suspension bridge will span 49m and the construction period is scheduled for the Autumn this year.

The Muhanga District is home to over 315,000 people.  It has a total of 509 villages. In the Nyarusange sector, there are over 25,000 people, of which 1,500 are in the Rukurazo community.  There are over 200+ farming households, both small and large, producing sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, beans, yams, maize, and rice.  These farmers are living in poverty, growing and selling what they are able to and not much more.  The agricultural training component of this grant will educate farmers on how to increase productivity and farm incomes by diversifying farming systems.  To better their farming systems, it is important to provide them with access to markets in which to sell their products.

In Muhanga, the Miguramo River stretches through the mountainous farming region.  On the right side of the river, where a large percentage of the population and farms are located, is the main Muhanga Market and the Kabagayi Hospital, but are inaccessible during the rainy season.  On the left side of the river, the primary and secondary schools, the smaller Mutara Market and the Rwamburiro Market are 3-5 km from the bridge site. Without a bridge, both sides are denied access to markets and education in order to improve their incomes and livelihood. Additionally, workers living on the left side of the river need to have access to the left side to work in these farms and other large, major production farms as well as travel to the capital of Kigali. Without a bridge, these workers cannot get to their jobs to earn money, which is critical for their family’s wellbeing.

In this current location, five timbers stretched across the river make up an unstable and unsafe crossing and are washed away when the river floods.  Men, women, and children cross the river by wading through the waters when it is low and choose to risk crossing the river when it becomes impossible. In the past year, there have been three injuries and two deaths of people who have crossed the raging water.

With such a swollen river, transporting loads of produce or goods to market is not possible.  The main market in this area, the Muhanga Market, is in accessible to the community on the left side on of the river.  With multiple market days in Muhanga, the high river waters can cut off access for multiple days per week. If you combine the two separate rainy seasons, the potential losses are significant.


MAGIC Breakfast - No child too hungry to learn

Magic Breakfast, aims to end hunger as a barrier to education in our schools through the provision of healthy breakfasts to children. 

Pupils arrive at school hungry for many reasons, but poverty is the main factor at play in schools where Magic Breakfast is needed. Even in homes where there are working adults, we are told by teachers at our partner schools that parents skip meals in order that their children can eat. In Bristol some 25% of our children are living in families below the poverty line and are in receipt of free school lunch.

When you think that children might not have eaten anything nutritious since their school lunch the previous day, and that it is very difficult for them to concentrate if they are hungry, that is half a day of learning lost for them every day - half their education - if they don't eat breakfast. 

We can provide a healthy breakfast, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, for just 30p per child per day. The impact on that child, to the school community and, in time, to the country's workforce is, we believe, an incredible return on such a small investment. We have set up a programme at the Bridge learning Campus at a cost of £500 per term. Rotarians Alan and Debbie Rogan lead this project and have kindly donated industrial toasters to schools that require them.


Nepal Vocational Training Programme

 Ashish is our student undergoing an electrical degree course His next term’s fees have been paid and the criteria for ongoing payment are exam results and the college report There are 2 aspects to follow up his Academic training and Vocational training bringing experience and knowledge. Rotarian Colin Shurrock has led on this project and will meet with Ashish when he visits Nepal soon. He will help to plan his professional progress – registration and mentorship and ensure that Club Council are happy with our due diligence and commitment, WE now need to find a second student to support through Fishtail Rotary Club. The commitment is £3,400 over 4 years. In due course we will see the benefit of education to these students.


 Swift Inclusive Sport “Swimming Gala”


An annual event supported by Rotary Clubs around Bristol which took place at the Horfield Leisure Centre in Bristol on Saturday 19th October. This is a highly popular event with nearly 100 disabled competitors (all ages but mostly children). It was well attended.

 This is an event which is sponsored and paid for by Rotary. A large number of Rotarians helped as stewards and time-keepers etc. The event was a great opportunity to build Rotary awareness, associating it with a very worthwhile cause and lead to more people taking an interest in Rotary. We had a Rotary kiosk at the event staffed by Rotarians providing information about clubs and what we do.  


Bristol Giving Day – 9 October 2019… Bristol Giving Day helped people living in our communities who face real disadvantage – from children living in poverty to adults with learning difficulties and people of all ages struggling with mental health problems.

Everywhere you step you have the dust of history on your shoes, a sense of the past in a city heading for a green and prosperous future; a maritime history and an entrepreneurial destiny. Bristol has always resisted the bland. Our sounds, sights, venues, and people show off our unique character. A paradise for foodies. The city where every street is an artist’s canvas. A city of business and learning with vibrant companies across every sector. This is a city of innovation with a heart for sustainability. This is a city of opportunity. But a city that still has needs. There are areas of affluence and areas of deprivation. There are pockets of poverty where people struggle. There are local good causes – charities, community interest and voluntary groups who are helping in these communities. And they need our collective efforts to help them help others. That is goal of Bristol Giving Day. A host of businesses and organisations took up the challenge by being part of the Bridges Challenge. Bristol is famous for many things. We think that we should be known for inspiring generosity!

 On the day the challenge was to cross the 45 bridges within the City. Each bridge carries inspiring stories from the 45 causes – one matched to each of the 45 bridges. By taking part in the Bridges Challenge and donating £1 per person per bridge (or more!) you will make a big difference, donations will directly support the 45 local causes, helping people to reach their potential, meeting big social needs, and giving a support to people facing a crisis in





24th October 2019

This short video will tell you more about End Polio Now 


On World Polio Day, thousands of Rotary clubs around the world will hold events and fundraisers to recognize our progress in the global fight to end polio.

Bristol Breakfast Rotary Club will be planting thousands of purple crocus bulbs at the historic Temple Church Gardens, Bristol to celebrate.

You may ask - 'Why purple'.  The Crocus was chosen as the purple colour matched the dye painted on the fingers of children who have been immunised. 

The Rotary Crocus is one of the leading international fundraisers for the End Polio Now Campaign. Since 2012 Rotary Crocuses have raised around £1,200,000 and been distributed in 15 countries. They are an easy way for every Club to reach out to the wider community to raise funds and awareness for End Polio Now.

The highly infectious childhood disease has been the target of a concerted elimination campaign since the 1980s, when roughly 350,000 children in 125 endemic countries were infected each year.

By 2018 that figure had dropped to just 33 cases in Afghanistan and Pakistan – along with Nigeria, these are the only countries in the world where the wild poliovirus remainsenedemic.

Key Facts:

  • Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children
  • The virus is transmitted person-to-person and spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by contaminated water or food. It multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system 
  • One-in-200 cases result in irreversible paralysis with a small proportion of those dying because they cannot breathe
  • Initial symptoms of polio include fever, fatigue, headache, vomiting, stiffness in the neck, and pain in the limbs.
  • There is no cure for polio, it can only be prevented by immunisation
  • Just three countries in the world are yet to be declared polio free: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria 
  • The eradication initiative is estimated to have saved 16 million children from paralysis