Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club are celebrating a landmark charitable achievement as one of hundreds of Rotary clubs from across the country to contribute over £1 million to Lendwithcare, a microfinance charity which enables people in the UK to make small loans to entrepreneurs from poor communities around the world.
Since October 2011, Rotary clubs across the UK have been raising funds to make small loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, enabling them to start or expand their small businesses and work their way out of poverty, feed their families and send their children to school.
More than £1 million has now been lent by Rotary to farmers, tailors, market stallholders and food producers to name just a few of the types of businesses Rotary have helped in 11 countries across Africa, Asia and South America.
The first Rotary club to join Lendwithcare was Currie Balerno Rotary Club, in Midlothian, and Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club followed suit in October 2013.
The Stowmarket club has raised and lent a total of £9,171, contributing towards the national £1 million landmark, with the club loaning to 328 entrepreneurs in 11 countries.
Club member in charge of the project, Guy Wiltshear said: “Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club are proud to be a part of this fantastic initiative. Lendwithcare is a great way to help people out of poverty. You see exactly who the money is going to, and what they will use it for.
“The entrepreneur uses the funds to help them to earn a living, often employing family members and neighbours as well, helping to lift their communities out of poverty. They pay the loans back, which can be re-lent to person after person.
“Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club has a proud history of fundraising for charitable causes through community events, and Lendwithcare is a fantastic cause very popular with our members.
“Local people have given generously and it’s testament to their generosity that we’ve managed to reach an incredible £1 million. And that money will keep being re-lent and re-lent, translating into many millions of pounds worth of loans over the coming years.”
Head of Lendwithcare, Tracey Horner, added: “Through Lendwithcare, Rotary have helped change the lives of more than 5,000 entrepreneurs around the world so far. We’re grateful to every Rotary member who lends their time and energy to raise funds to lend to people trying to earn a living in some of the most challenging environments in the world.
“It really is life-changing for the people we work with, and we want to extend our huge thanks to Rotary Great Britain and Ireland, and everyone at Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club.”
Stowmarket Gipping Valley Rotary Club have assisted entrepreneurs such as Tania, in Ecuador, who used her loan to raise piglets to help cover the basic needs for herself and her two children.
Reynaldo, in the Philippines, who used his loan to farm vegetables to provide for his family including three children and a group of 11 smallholder farmers living in the district of Kasur, in Pakistan, to pay for a solar tube well which relies on energy gathered through large solar panels to power the well to enable them to grow wheat and rice to sell and vegetables for their households which include 24 children.
During this recent lockdown the club is meeting via Zoom, but hope to resume normal get togethers when safe to do so.