Selkirk Rotarians going the distance to help Philippines orphans

A group of Selkirk Rotarians are travelling to Naga City in The Philippines to participate in charitable projects at an orphanage.
A group of Selkirk Rotarians are travelling to Naga City in The Philippines to participate in charitable projects at an orphanage.
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A heartfelt mission of assistance will link the people of Naga City in the Philippines and Selkirk forever when a group of Rotarians, pictured, travel there next month to undertake several collaborative charity projects.

Selkirk Rotary Club president Ferdous Ahmed and his wife, Maria, who is from Naga City, will be leading the group of members and their partners travelling to the Philippines. The club has raised more than £12,000 for the overseas project, doubling its original target, thanks to Borderers’ generosity.

Mr Ahmed said this was a unique opportunity for Rotary clubs in the Borders to work with Naga City Rotarians, contributing on a humanitarian level and showing support for people in need on the other side of the world.

He went on: “Since coming to Selkirk more than 19 years ago, I have been really impressed with the warmth and charitable nature of the people in this region.”

In the last year, the Selkirk club has supported the Tweed Valley mountain rescue team by contributing towards a new ambulance; Blood Bikes – donating funds for ongoing work; donating funds to Silverline, Stable Life, Rowlands Youth programme; provided new football kits for the Selkirk junior football team and have undertaken mock interviews for high school leavers.

It also has an active youth development programme, supporting competitors from the region to participate in the District Rotary Young Chef Competition, Young Writer Competition and Young Musician Competition, as well as the organising an annual Rotary Young Leaders Awards programme and Rotary Challenge Enterprise.

Having visited the Rotary club in Naga City prior to becoming Selkirk president in May last year, Mr Ahmed was also aware of how Borders Rotarians could make a difference to those in need in poorer countries.

So, in the year leading up to his presidency, serving as vice-president, Mr Ahmed set an ambitious plan in motion with the goal of raising £6,000 to help The Queen of Peace Children’s Home, where there was a dire need to replace 27 foam mattresses and a few bunk beds, as well as refurbishment of an outdoor toilet block.

It has been a busy 18 months, with a number of fun events being organised by Selkirk club members in aid of the project. These included a ladies’ dinner during the town’s Common Riding Week, a pop-up shop, community quiz evenings, gin-tasting evening, plus a Curry and Cabaret night evening.

In addition, a presentation was made to all other Rotary clubs in the south of Scotland, encouraging joint support for this humanitarian mission. This resulted in generous contributions from, among others, Rotarians in Hawick, Galashiels, Kelso, Melrose and Langholm. A request to the Rotary Foundation led to a £2,000 grant being awarded.

As well as the aforementioned items, the cash will be used to plant 30 lemon trees in the grounds of the orphanage, buy laparoscopic equipment (keyhole surgery) and plant 30 cashew trees at Tugawe resort, Caramoan, as well as supply a new deep well for clean water provision in one of the remote islands.