How Rotarians help Bogota’s poor children

From left, Rotary member David Baker, former Morpeth Rotary President Barry Swan, Richard Sanderson and Morpeth Rotary President Prof Andrew Hamnett.
From left, Rotary member David Baker, former Morpeth Rotary President Barry Swan, Richard Sanderson and Morpeth Rotary President Prof Andrew Hamnett.
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Morpeth Rotary Club

One of the international charities most supported over the years by the club is New Hope for Children, which operates in Bogota, Colombia.

The leaders of this Christian mission initiative are Richard Sanderson and his wife Jeanene.

Richard, with his son Henry, recently visited Morpeth Rotary to update members on the project.

The club took the opportunity to hand over a cheque for £1,500, which was made up of £750 raised from last December’s brass band concert and a matching grant from Rotary District charity funds. The money will help to furnish a new kitchen in a newly-purchased building that will be their fourth children’s home. Staff and children will be chosen between January and March. The aim is to have five homes in total.

The new house has six large bedrooms, a closed in play area and a master kitchen. It will take a lot of work to put in showers for 30 children. It is just around the corner from one of their other houses.

Jeanene established a project to support poor children in Bogota in 1993 and it now looks after more than 200 children. The aim is to use education to break the cycle of poverty among the street children of the Colombian capital.

Young people who lived in cardboard boxes and under bridges are taken from a place of darkness to a place of light. As well as receiving a meal and a bed, they are also given a family that cares for them.

One boy lived on his own in a shack on the top of a mountain. He had only been to school for two years. He was given food in plastic containers so that the rats could not get it. He studied very hard, was awarded a one-year scholarship to a US school and wanted to train as an accountant. Initially, he was offered a scholarship of 25 per cent, which was not enough, but a donor came forward with 100 per cent funding. He is now at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is studying accountancy.

Another girl who received support has a scholarship to Oral Roberts University. One of the children they rescued has just trained as a dental hygienist and hopes to become a dentist. A further two have scholarships to Uruguay.

Richard is an Anglican and as part of the Christian foundation they teach the Bible through drama at school and throughout Colombia.

They get some help from the Colombian Government – for example they get a container of supplies from the US every year and the Government allows it in without tax.

A vote of thanks was given by Barry Swan.