By Galia Barlow
My husband, Robert, and I decided to take one of those lifetime voyages through India and Nepal while we can still travel and learn.
Being a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg, New Jersey, I was asked by the past governor of our district, Tulsi Maharjan, to visit the school in Nepal our club is supporting. We provide $500 scholarships for 30 students from poor, working families, which pays for books, tuition and other school supplies.
Our trip was a life-changing experience. We saw people living very differently than we do in the United States. Cows and water buffaloes walk freely in the streets, and people take care of them. We mingled with families living with their goats and other animals in huts without water or electricity. But there seemed to be peace among them.
When we saw so many people living together from different faiths — Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, and Jews — we immediately thought of world peace.
Our visit to the school was clearly the highlight of our trip. We were invited to attend a scholarship distribution ceremony, and the kids were amazing. They work during the day to support their families and attend school at night to complete their education. It’s a long and tiring day, but they all seem so anxious to attend!
We gave them our encouragement, love, and support. Our traveling team was so moved by the experience, that we pooled money on the spot to give a supplemental contribution to the school.
We learned that it only costs $30 to send a child to the school. That is less than the price of a cup of coffee once a week for a year. It makes you realize how important our mission is as Rotary ambassadors to the world.
Through Rotary, we are helping assure that the next generation has a brighter future through education. I am proud to be a Rotarian and thankful for the way it has opened my eyes to the many ways we can help others, sometimes just by collecting and saving our pocket change.