During DGE Caroline Earle’s Graduation Ceremony at a Zones 28 & 32 gathering on September 23rd, our Rotary International Director Valarie Wafer noted that Autumn signifies change through the changing colors all around us.  It’s a vivid reminder of our call to Serve to Change Lives!
Following a recent visit with the Barre Rotary Club, AG Nicole DiDomenico shared with me the latest developments with the Tanzania Project, a wonderful example of Serving to Change Lives, that the Norwich Rotaract Club initiated almost 10 years ago, and the immediate hope for making this a truly sustainable school and economic engine in the region. 
In 2012 the Norwich University Rotaract Club, sponsored by the Northfield Rotary Club, undertook an initiative to begin actively and financially supporting Upendo Mmoja, a then-newly formed nongovernmental organization based in the Kilolo District of Tanzania, East Africa.  By 2015, with one initial trip already under their belts, Norwich students, along with several students and faculty from Northfield Middle and High School, traveled to begin constructing the residential and vocational training center for orphaned youth in Pommerin.
A group of people working in a construction siteDescription automatically generated with low confidence
A contingent of students helping to build the boy’s dorm for the Upendo Mmoja center for orphaned children. (Photo courtesy of CCE, Norwich University.)
Since then, Norwich students have traveled to Pommerin three more times (for a total of five trips) and have helped to design, fund and build the center’s main instructional space, which serves numerous purposes. Norwich students have also helped to fund, design, and build the center’s kitchen, barn and carpentry and craft workshop.
In 2019, they helped build the boys’ dormitory and have already designed and found funding to build the sunflower oil production and bottling facility, which is now fully operational. Other student-community collaboration projects have included: the design and building of the center’s own solar electrical system to power the entire facility; the design of an aquaponics system to introduce fresh fish to the village as an added source of protein; the design and building of a volunteer guest house located just off-site, but within walking distance of the main campus.
Given that “International Service” is one of our main avenues of service, but at the same time recognizing how challenging personal travel and impact can be during these times, Nicole would welcome the opportunity to speak with your club and discuss the current challenge in making this school truly sustainable – even from a distance!  Nicole can be reached at:
Nicole M. DiDomenico
Please reach out to Nicole and invite her to your club.  Here is another “We are this close!” opportunity to Serve to Change Lives!
DG Mike