Worldwide Projects: Highlights from 2013
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Worldwide Projects: Highlights from 2013

Contributions from generous travelers help us support projects around the globe

Since our founding in 1992, Grand Circle Foundation has donated or pledged more than $97 million in support of more than 300 organizations, including 100 schools, in 60 countries. The projects we support would not be possible without the generosity of our travelers, who contributed more than $900,000 in 2013 for their support of projects like these. We would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to all the travelers who have made possible our support for projects like these:

Of the many scholarships we sponsor in Africa, one of the most touching stories is that of Flora Ntaine of Kenya, who was just eleven years old when her father "sold" her into marriage. Moved to a home for rescued girls, Flora needed financial support to attend a safe and secure boarding school in a remote area. We are proud to support this brave young woman in her new life. Also in Kenya, our support for the Amboseli Primary School included the purchase of dining equipment, books, uniforms, and teaching and study supplies. We also installed a water tank and solar electric fence, and provided legal fees and teacher training.

We improved the grounds of the Jacob Basson School in Namibia with paving. Doctors without Borders in South Africa received a donation to fund a pediatric and adolescent care clinic. The Fontein Social Care Center in Swaziland serves about 40 preschoolers, many of whom are infected with the HIV virus. Last year, we supported the center with windows, solar heat, and repairs.

A new Foundation partner in Tanzania is the Rhotia Primary School, where our gift purchased 3,200 books, plus chalk and reams of paper, for the delighted students and teachers. We also gave books, solar lights, exam and teacher supplies, cooking and dining equipment, a notice board, and a water-catching system to school partners in Tanzania. In addition to Rhotia, these include the Njia Panda Primary School, the Tarangire Primary School, and Tloma Primary School.

In Zimbabwe, we are proud to have helped four schools in need. Our funds provided gravel, library shelving, books, and toilets for the Jabulani School. At the Ngamo School, we built a playground, helped paint the school, offered scholarships, and provided books, chalk, and cooking pots. We also donated books to St. Francis Xavier School. Books, chalk, fencing, and a library were on the shopping list for the Ziga School, where we also built a playground, initiated a poultry project so that the children could be nourished, and provided transportation so that villagers could receive inoculations.

The Americas:
Two schools in Argentina received Foundation donations last year: Escuela No. 27, where we funded roof repairs, and La Concepcion, where we purchased a water tank and pump, furniture, and a playground. We also support two schools in Chile. At Quel Quel Rural School, our projects included providing a stage for student performances and painting the exterior of the building. And at Sol de Pacifico, we built bathrooms and installed a heating system.

In Colombia, the Alex Rocha Young Center is a community school located in a disadvantaged part of Cartagena. In 2013, we provided the school with furniture and a video projector.

Costa Rica remains one of the Foundation's longest-standing and most valued partners. In the farming village of Sonafluca, we donated funds for ceilings, walkways, and a fence at the local school. We provided an ESL classroom, audio equipment, and a handicap-accessible classroom and bathroom to the San Francisco School.

A long-time and very special partner in Ecuador is the Sinamune Disabled Children's Orchestra, which helps students overcome mental and visual challenges by developing the motor skills needed to play a musical instrument—and in doing so, gives them the confidence to face whatever other challenges they might encounter during their lives. Our funds last year purchased musical instruments, computers, art and music supplies, a fence, and signage. We also funded the purchase of a new vehicle to provide transportation for students and their instruments.

Our partner in Guatemala, the Santa Catarina was provided with computers, educational and kitchen supplies, furniture, and a library. In Panama, we renovated bathrooms and funded a kitchen at Centro Educativo and provided water to the village of Centro Educativo Basico El Valle.

The Sacred Valley is set in the ancient Inca center surrounding Cuzco, Peru. Schools we support here include the Pucruto School, where we purchased library furniture and digital classroom equipment, and Vila Marcelo, where we provided dance costumes, a greenhouse and irrigation system, a photocopier, video projector, and classroom furniture, and built a playground. In the farming village of Raqchi, we funded a storage room, kitchen equipment, and furniture for the school, and painted the fence and building exterior. We also continued our support of the Yanomono Medical Clinic.

Donghan Village in China is brighter and safer, thanks to our gift of sustainable solar streetlights. We also supported several schools in that country. At the Guang Ming Primary School, we purchased projectors and blackboards for the classrooms, while Huo Kou Primary School benefited from our gift of computers and library books. And at Shao Ping Dian Primary School, our donations funded a water system, cabinets, laptops, and furniture.

In India, we gave a $10,000 donation to the GKV School, provided the Sri Venkateswara Orphanage with toilets, and funded a flour mill at Tomejhong Village.

Since construction of the Tin Keo School in Laos in 2009, Grand Circle Foundation has pitched in with installing electricity, a water system, and a computer center; setting up ceiling fans; painting; and building toilets and a playground Now, students at the school can enjoy reading and develop their skills at the new library in their classroom, provided by Foundation funds and those donated by our generous travelers. We also launched a poultry project to help nourish the children, and funded a silk weaving center, a sidewalk, and a radio broadcast system in the village. Elsewhere in Laos, we purchased looms and toilets for the village of Kia Luang.

The Lotus Children's Centre in Mongolia is an official NGO that provides a home to about 100 vulnerable and abused Mongolian children. In 2013, we donated books, fitness equipment, and a musical instrument to the center. And at the Unur Bul Orphanage, we provided an ecology education area.

Five sites in Myanmar were supported last year. We provided toilets to Myinka School and Thanlar School, a water purification system and signage to the village of Myin Mahti, desks and benches to Setpagone School, and bedding and furniture to Aye Yeik Mon School. We also helped renovate Aye Yeik Mon Orphanage.

New fencing is helping to protect children at Baan Boonyapark Early Childhood Center in Thailand, where we also installed a water purification system. In the village of Don Chum, we supported a women's handcraft cooperative and an indoor recreation area. At Baan Mae Yang Rong School, we funded musical instruments, a first-aid room, and fitness equipment. And at Baan Pu Ong Ka School, our funds went toward a playground and equipment.

In Vietnam, the Minh Tu Orphanage/Duc Son Pagoda—a nonprofit, privately funded institution run by two Buddhist nuns—is home to more than 200 children. Continuing our long-time partnership with the institution, we renovated bathrooms, built a computer classroom, created a garment workshop, donated school fees, and purchased bicycles and briefcases.

Students at the Dobrisa Cesaric Elementary School in Croatia now have a secure place to store their belongings, with our gift of school lockers. We provided computer equipment to M.L. King Caltanissetta School in Italy, and installed windows at the Salantai Day Care Center in Lithuania. At long-time Foundation partner the St. Petersburg Music Boarding School in Russia, we purchased musical instruments and uniforms for the school's girls' choir, so that the students would appear confident and professional during their appearances at city events and festivals. We supported three kindergartens in Slovakia, providing a bathroom at Gessayova, sporting equipment to Haanova, and a carpet and fitness equipment at Strecnianska. And in Turkey, we purchased sound and security systems for Karacaagac and computers, a garden, and toys for Kiriklar.

South Pacific:
In Australia, we have helped preserve the native culture through our gifts to the Yipirinya School, a school for Aboriginal students. Our 2013 gift was earmarked for the purchase of books. And we continue to try to provide a better learning environment for the children who attend the Sigatoka District School in Fiji. Our donations last year included computers, chairs, uniforms, a sound system, and a covered walkway.

Featured in our January 2014 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.