The club began partnering with the Rotary Club of San Andres in 2011, mainly through our literacy focus. The first contributions went to the development of backpacks full of school supplies for children who didn’t have the means to purchase them. After a couple of years the project support was recognized by having the back packs say Rotary Club of North Bay and expanded to assistance on a neighbouring island, Providencia.
The club requested assistance from the military (the air force colonel is a member of Rotary) to transport the materials and Rotarian Ron Farrell accompanied them and made the distribution to children at their school.
In 2015, there were extra funds available so the club proposed splitting our donation to fund both the backpack project and a school for severely disabled children, which relies largely on charitable donations to provide services. The school was very thankful and placed a plaque on their wall recognizing the Rotary Club of North Bay.
In February 2016, our donation went entirely to this school as they were expanding to a second location on the island of Providencia and needed assistance with materials for the school there.
It appears the government is now considering a grant for financially needy children to cover their school supplies, so in 2017, the backpack project may become unnecessary.
Due to Covid-19, the program wrapped up in 2018. Which is unfortunate because Providencia was devastated by a hurricane in 2020. Effort were made to arrange for ShelterBox support, but the army took over recovery and declined.