By Byung Woo Kim, past president of the Rotary Club of Cheongju-Musim, South Korea
My Rotary club has been working on more than one global grant project every year. When we were planning an initiative this year, we were seeing a high rate of COVID-19 cases. At that time, the government’s guidelines required that those suspected of having COVID should be tested at their nearest screening center. But as they travel from their home to the screening center using public transportation, they come in contact with multiple people and risk infecting still others in the hospital performing the screening.
We envisioned a mobile screening center, the COVID Screening Bus, that can go to people who suspect they may have the virus and perform tests. It was a way to stop the spread of the virus and protect healthcare institutions while delivering timely emergency care.
The power of partnerships
To be eligible for Rotary global grants, you must meet a number of requirements including having an international partner. Since 2014, my club has established a sisterhood relationship with the Rotary Club of Pingtung South, Taiwan, in District 3510 and we have partnered with them on international service projects. We naturally thought of this club to be our international partner on this project.
It was also a bit of a challenge for our club to run a $40,000 project alone. Fortunately, seven Rotary clubs in our district and Cheongju region joined together to help with promotion and funding.
266 exams have been performed since the mobile bus began its mission in March.
Hyosung Hospital, the cooperating organization, was also an important partner. Other clubs in District 3740 have provided medical and quarantine equipment to general hospitals in downtown Cheongju through district and global grants. At that time, Hyosung Hospital had not yet received support from other clubs, and we could see they had a high level of understanding and appreciation of Rotary when we met with officials. We have been in constant contact with the hospital staff working together to ensure everything went smoothly.
Bus begins screening patients
Since the bus was delivered in March, we have performed 266 exams through 10 June. Chang-Jin Oh, chair of the Hyosung Hospital, thanked Rotary at a ceremony christening the bus. “Rotary’s leadership and service spirit are leading the way in helping to protect the health and well-being of the local population” I was also happy and honored to be able to help provide medical care to my neighbors.
Global grants require effort, but they are well worth it. My advice to other clubs is to not be discouraged but to prepare your documentation, community assessment, and sustainability analysis in a step-by-step fashion. You can reach out to the Rotary Foundation grant officer for help and a pre-review. When my club saw how we were helping people with our project, I got an indescribable feeling in my heart. Now, I am thinking I will not be satisfied if we don’t do more than one global grant every year.