World Community Service (WCS) is the Rotary program that makes humanitarian grants to developing countries. Clubs can either make direct contributions or apply for matching grants from The Rotary Foundation (TRF) If a grant application is approved, the club's contribution is matched by the District, and TRF matches the District contribution 100 percent and the club's at 50 percent. Under that system, each $1,000 contributed by the club toward a project results in a total of $3,500.
Our trip objective was to support Proyecto Itzaes build libraries in three villages in the Yucatan province of Mexico -- Chicxulub Puerta, Ixil and Mococha. Thank You to our International Projects Chairman, Walt Hays, to our Travelers, and International Projects Committee.
The work was done in conjunction with the Los Altos Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Merida (Club Rotario Merida Nuevas Genaciones). The group delivered numerous boxes of books, toys and clothes.
Palo Alto Rotary has participated in several matching-grants projects with the Bombay Metropolitan Club, providing materials for water harvesting projects.
Walt Hays, Palo Alto Rotary International Projects Chair, presents the project to the village.
In each case, local NGOs obtain a written commitment from villages to establish a self-help committee with adequate representation for women and all castes, and to provide all necessary labor to dig a percolation pond to capture water from the Monsoon, which otherwise would run off and leave the area dry for several months.
On this project we did not do any hands-on work. Instead, seventeen members and spouses from our club and Los Altos traveled to India to meet the Rotarians and visit the project, and received a very warm reception.
We also experienced the wedding of the son of one of the Rotarians, and spent several weeks traveling around the country.
To watch an inspiring video about the Water Harvesting Project in India, go to