On 29th June in the delightful garden setting of Barbacoa Restaurant, Rotary Club Estoi Palace International (RCEPI) changed Presidents for the coming Rotary Year of 2021-22. Outgoing President Uwe Jonsson handed over the chain of office to incoming President Shirley Dunne. The Handover was the first time Club members had been together for an official meeting in over a year and it was a pleasure to be together with various guests, albeit appropriately socially distanced.
President Uwe reflected on the challenges caused by Covid restrictions during his year. Fund raising had been much more difficult but fortunately our annual Charity Golf Day had been able to take place in a reduced format and on-line projects included a Cat Show, Photography Competition and the ongoing Happy Bears fundraiser which effectively is sponsoring a child. The Club had continued to support the Food Bank distributions in Estoi Casa do Povo, plus provide additional food supplies to families of pupils at Estoi School who were in dire straits. RCEPI also arranged presents for the Christmas parties at Estoi and Moncarapacho Casas do Povo.
Dictionaries and merit certificates were given to pupils at the Estoi School, but unfortunately the summer camps were unable to take place due to Covid.
Medical equipment has been donated to Faro Hospital and the Algarve Oncology Association. RCEPI joined forces with some other Algarve Rotary Clubs to provide refrigerators for ReFood in Faro, Almancil and Algoz and a wheelchair to the Association for Multiple Sclerosis. We also assisted a student from Estoi with her University fees and gave a donation to ACCA for their Back to School initiative.
A donation of 550 euros was made to help an important environmental project to Save the Seahorses in the Ria Formosa
Internationally support was provided to 15 pupils in Guatamala to benefit from a scholarship to allow them to continue their education. Funds were also sent to help provide water sterilising tablets to Mozambique following cholera outbreaks after flooding there. A virtual bike ride raised 700 euros to send to the End Polio Now fund which will be matched 2 to 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, so effectively 2100 euros towards this disease eradication programme.
David Thomas, CEO of Safe Communities, was a guest of honour at the Handover. RCEPI presented him with a Paul Harris award to recognise the contribution he has made to the community in setting up his Organisation and particularly the immense efforts made to provide updated information as quickly as possible during the Covid pandemic. This Rotary award is recognition for great service to the community. The Club also made a donation to Safe Communities to say thank you for all its hard work.
Incoming President Shirley also reflected on the challenges ahead but hopes to be able to reinstate the Clubs normal fund raisers, Quiz Nights, Fashion Shows, White Night etc., covid permitting. Rotarians are people of action who purpose is to serve the local community and RCEPI will continue to do that in the coming Rotary year.