Local Rotarian part of water project in Ethiopia – News – Shelby Star

Half a world away, thousands of people will have access to clean water thanks to a Rotary project with local ties.

Shelby Rotarian and Past District Governor Allen Langely made a trip to Ethiopia last year to ensure the wells installed as part of a Rotary project were in working order. The trip to the countrys capital, Addis Ababa, gave him a first-hand look at the project’s impact.

While in northern Ethiopia, Langely met an 11-year-old girl who previously walked 13 miles a day to a river to collect water for her family and their animals, and a mother who said the wells would mean her children would now be able to go to school rather than collecting water each day.

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“I couldn’t tell you how grateful I was for the opportunity to be able to go,” Langely said. “It’s a good grounding. It brings you back to what things are important.”

The clean water project got its start with Graham Wilson, another Past District Governor Rotarian out of Charlotte. He got several chapters involved to raise $100,000, including a $5,000 contribution from Shelby Rotary.

The $100,000 was then matched through contributions raised by Tim Arnold, a Rotarian from Washington. Rotary International then signed on to contribute another $200,000. That $400,000 total from Rotary was then matched by World Vision International, who do work in Ethiopia.

The money was used to build 27 individual wells benefitting groupings of families, which are now operational. Another two community wells, which will provide water to 5,000-10,000 people, are forthcoming.

Langely made the trip to Ethiopia with Graham Wilson and Tim Arnold and was inspired by the people who worked to make the project a reality.

“In a world where we have so many problems identifying who the true heroes are,” Langely said, “right there, I was with two heroes who raised this money and created such a difference in these people’s lives. They changed their lives for the better.”

The two community wells are scheduled to be complete around April. When they are finished, Langely said he and the others will return to Ethiopia to make sure they are in working order.

Langely has visited 43 countries in his lifetime, many of which have been developing nations on trips for Rotary.

“As a culture, we take so many things for granted,” he said. “To get over there and see these people and the struggles in their daily lives, and I mean struggles, it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to help.”


Casey White can be reached at 704-669-3339 or cwhite@shelbystar.com.

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