The Zambia – Columbia Falls Connection?

By Beacon Staff

The Rotary Club of Columbia Falls recently celebrated their first anniversary with a barbeque at Big Sky Waterpark, and as first years go, it has been exciting for the new club.

The club’s efforts so far have helped the Columbia Falls Food Bank by funding and helping to assemble food baskets during the holidays, and funded swimming lessons for several children in 2006 (and is trying to find kids for 2007). Hometown Rotarians also work the Red Cross Blood Drive in Columbia Falls, which the Club co-sponsors in conjunction with Glacier Bank.

Rotary calls itself “A Global Network of Community Volunteers”, which reflects every club’s efforts to help the local community while taking part in projects created through partnerships with clubs around the world. The Rotary Club of Columbia Falls’ first international project involves assisting 2 orphans in Zambia with their education.

Rotary’s international volunteer exchanges can develop some wonderful relationships and generate ideas for worthwhile projects. Such is the case between the Rotary Clubs of Columbia Falls, Butte and Whitehall, and the Rotary Club of Ndola-Mukuba in Zambia, Africa. With organizational help of Zambia Rotarian Nimrod and Arlene Weber, a Rotary volunteer from Whitehall MT, three young Zambian women will have the chance to finish high school. The Zambian club had a difficult time choosing only three deserving students since there are so many in need and all three of the young women selected are orphans.

One young lady is being sponsored by a Butte Rotarian, while the other 2 young women (Mercy and Lillian) are being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Columbia Falls. Mercy Mwila is 14 and currently lives with friends of her late parents. This family has children of their own and are struggling to keep their children in school. Lillian Mofya is 15 and homeless. The Catholic Sisters at the convent are allowing her to temporarily stay with them. For only $200 each, these young women are being given a chance to complete their education and make a difference in their community and their country. This is a simple international project that can make a big difference.

Given the current events in the countries that surround Zambia (Zambia map), it’s not surprising that each of these girls are orphans.

July 1 marks the end of a long term for Columbia Falls City Manager Bill Shaw, who served for over 15 months as Club President.

Interested in learning more about Rotary? The Columbia Falls club meets over lunch on Wednesdays at noon in the Back Room in Columbia Falls.