Rotary Minute: A Rotarian makes a difference in Sri Lanka

Published 5:19 pm Sunday, November 11, 2018

The nation of Sri Lanka suffered through a decades-long civil war at the close of the last century. Both sides buried land mines which remained unmarked there long after the civil war ended. Thousands of people, especially children, eventually became amputees because of these land mines. In a third-world country like Sri Lanka, when you become disabled you are left behind, written off by society. One Rotarian, having read about this problem, decided to do something about it.  With the sponsorship of his Rotary Club, he spearheaded a project that involved the Rotary Foundation and three Rotary Districts, including the one in Kandy, Sri Lanka, where their national prosthesis program is headquartered. From 2007 through 2012, the project raised around a half-million dollars and provided 2,500 amputees the ability to be mobile, including many children. In gratitude, he was invited to visit Sri Lanka to be thanked personally and to see firsthand what his project had accomplished. That Rotarian was Neal Atkinson, and he was sponsored by and a member of the Washington (noon) Rotary Club. So you see, it’s not just some far-off Rotary Club that makes a difference. It can happen right here!