Gord LeMaistre and John Beringer of the Kenora Rotary club were present to provide an update and a brief history of the Ripple Effect Program (REP) and our club’s involvement.
The Ripple Effect Program is committed to creating a rich learning environment, with sustainable schools and the hope for a brighter future for children in Guatemala.
Since 1999, Ripple Effect has refurbished or built 75 schools, handed out 450 scholarships & benefited over 25000 children in many areas of Guatemala.
Ripple Effect focuses on children in the kindergarten to Grade 6 range.
Do date they have had assistance from the Canadian Rotary Collaboration for International Development (CRICD) and matched with funds from Rotary clubs. They have also had two Global grants, meaning both Rotary District 5550 and Rotary International (RI) have jointly funded Ripple Effect projects. One example is a toilet at one of the schools.
John and his wife have been to Guatemala 3 times and Gord and his wife Deb have been there 9 times
An effective program requires passionate leadership, good boots on the ground in Guatemala (usually partnering with local Rotary club) , and knowing how to get funds from government and RI.
We were then shown some of the schools which we have helped in, especially the one assisted by the Schools Building Schools effort initiated by our own Peter Keen and involving a number of high schools in the region.
In the Rotary Year 2014/2015, the REP provided many educational opportunities for children   living in challenging environments in Guatemala investing over $800,000 in the construction of 13 schools, awarding 28 Middle School and 20 High Scholarships, awarding 5 scholarships to practicing primary school teachers to attend University on Saturdays and directly benefiting over 4,500 students and teachers.
For more info and pictures of some of the schools that were helped, go to: https://www.facebook.com/RippleEffectProgram