Speaker Report – 08 December 2023
The speaker this week was our own Rotarian, Alan Wolstencroft, who was hosted by Peter Fowler.
Alan did an excellent and informative presentation on his latest 10-day visit to Sierra Leone. He was accompanied on this trip by Barry Gascoigne, an old builder friend from Round Table days, who had volunteered his time to go and assist with some of the construction works. It was pleasing to have Barry at the meeting as a guest.
During the presentation Alan showed photos and described how the construction of the new classrooms and toilet block at the Westminster Community School, kindly named after the Westminster Group Plc., were progressing. It is amazing how quickly these buildings are constructed, despite some dodgy scaffolding. Everything is done by hand, from digging the foundations to the
actual forming and laying of the bricks, all in temperatures of around 30deg C.Alan showed pictures of the new bench and desk sets for the Christian Hope School, funded by
Alan’s Africa, to replace those sadly stolen in a recent break in.
Alan also showed some startling photos of a young boy he encountered during the visit who had suffered horrific burns to one of his hands. The family could not afford medical treatment and with the wound becoming infected the poor child was in danger of losing his arm or even his life. Thanks to Alan’s intervention the child was taken to hospital and the wound cleaned and treated – cost less than $50 USD. An example of what a difference kindness and small donations can make.
In the vote of thanks Peter Fowler pointed out that Alan was right to focus on education as there is no safety net in that part of the world. Poverty there means not knowing how or where your next meal is coming from, and you can die from a simple illness if you do not have funds for medical care. Education can lift people from abject poverty giving them a chance of a job and income.
Peter pointed out that Alan had made some remarkable achievements through Alan’s Africa, he has undertaken over 400 talks and presentations raising close to £400,000, used to support 9 schools building and equipment 43 classrooms, 10 toilet blocks, sunk or replenished 5 wells, delivered running water to communities and assisted countless individuals with educational, medical and
Using Alan’s own motto he has ‘Made a Real Difference’ to hundreds if not thousands of people – how many of us can say that?