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Rotary Happenings: Builders without Borders volunteers help communities in Third World countries

By Staff | Aug 29, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED Craig Schneider, a volunteer with Builders without Borders, speaks about the organization at a recent meeting of the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club.

“Service Above Self” is the Rotary International’s motto and, believe me, those words are the inspiration that keeps this service organization working on and with many other service organizations in our community and around the world on projects that can make a difference in people’s lives. However, Rotary is not the only non-profit service organization out there that believes this philosophy.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club partners with many of them, but has not had the opportunity to work with all of them. Our recent guest speaker brought to our attention a Fort Myers-based charitable organization, Builders without Borders, that has taken volunteer construction crews to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Haiti for the purpose of constructing schools, dormitory buildings and churches for Christian charitable organizations in Third World countries.

Volunteer Craig Schneider gave us insight into the work that Builders without Borders accomplishes in Africa and Haiti. The organization has one or two construction projects running each year. Advance planning is done on finding the right organizational project partner, identifying the organization’s needs, site planning, construction plans and materials needed. All the building materials come from the states; metal framing is pre-cut and building materials are prepared for simple construction on-site. A time restricted window for construction is determined and a volunteer team is selected for the build.

Schneider was part of a recent project building two dormitories at the Africa New Life Ministries School campus and a church in Kayonza, Rwanda. Fifty volunteers traveled to Rwanda at a cost of $2,600 for each. A 14-day time-frame for the build was determined. Donations for the cost of building supplies and shipping of materials cost approximately $375,000; all builds are paid for by donations. The volunteer team is aided in the on-site construction by locals, who are paid for their work.

“Africa New Life Ministries manages several schools throughout Rwanda, where over 90 percent of the students are on sponsored scholarships,” the Builders without Borders website states. “ANLM’s model of caring recognizes that with educational scholarships being central, there are four other factors necessary for children to succeed: stable home, growing faith, community development and healthy body.”

Schneider pointed out that the volunteers do not necessarily need to be in the construction field. The preparation for each site is simple, and the builds are “erector-set” types of construction. If anyone has the calling to help with this type of service project or would like to make a donation for a future build, visit the organization’s website at builderswithoutborders.net.

August is membership month for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club. Anyone interested in finding out more about the organization is invited to attend a meeting. The guest speaker for the Aug. 31 meeting is Tamara Pigott, executive director of the Lee County Visitor and Convention Bureau. She will present a program called “The Value of Tourism.”

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are always welcome to attend.