Making a difference in orphans’ lives through Interact

Zaahidali Nathu with children at the Refilwe orphanage near Johannesburg, South Africa.

Zaahidali Nathu with children at the Refilwe orphanage near Johannesburg, South Africa.

By Zaahidali Nathu, a member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

This past summer, I got to go on a trip of a lifetime to an orphanage in South Africa called Refilwe.

The orphanage is in a settlement just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Joining me on the amazing trip were seven other Interact members from Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, two teachers, and four Richmond firefighters. Our biggest accomplishment was rebuilding a preschool, or crèche as they would call it in South Africa.

The first day we got there we knew we had to do something to help them. Their school was built out of makeshift materials and didn’t even have toilets. We started our work as soon as we could and in about a week we had completely rebuilt the school.

These kids were so happy. The smiles on their faces made all of us feel a huge sense of accomplishment, knowing we had been able to help. No matter who you are, where you live, or how insignificant you may feel in comparison to the world’s problems, you have an opportunity to truly make a difference through Interact and Rotary.

Editors Note:¬†Traveling with Interactors takes careful planning to ensure the safety of youth volunteers. If you are considering a trip with Interactors outside of your local community, work with your Rotary district officers to ensure you abide by Rotary’s youth travel policies. Email with questions

  • Watch a video of the Hugh Boyd Interact Club’s activities in Refilwe, their winning entry in the 2012 Interact video contest.
  • Learn more about Interact

Source: Rotary Voices

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