By Amparo Albuja, District 4400 XIII Project Fair District Committee Chair
In February 2004, our district hosted our first project fair in Quito. Since then, 12 fairs have been organized in beautiful cities across Ecuador: Guayaquil, Cuenca, and Manta. Every fair highlights District 4400’s club service projects for international visitors to build friendships, partnerships, and facilitate connections to bring projects to life.
Over the years, we’ve welcomed Rotarians from the United States, Canada and Europe to the fairs. We’ve built lifelong friendships and a huge number of projects have been successfully carried out with the support of our international visitors. As a result, our district has been able to implement larger scale projects with support from our international friends and global grants.
When a fair is organized, we not only plan the related events but also offer our guests attractive social activities and opportunities to tour our very diverse country, including the Galapagos Islands, the Sierra highlands, the Amazonian jungle, rainforests, and the coast.
Many fair attendees return year after year to revisit old friends, build new partnerships, and visit the projects they have sponsored and their impact on the local community. Sometimes, international visitors are not able to commit to supporting one project during the fair. But as visitors go back to their home clubs and districts, present about the initiatives they learned about and saw first-hand during their time in Ecuador, they inspire their fellow clubs to reach out and build partnerships with our exhibitors in need of support. Throughout the year, we are pleased to receive requests from districts and clubs asking for backgrounds on projects still seeking support. That is when many of these projects that were not sponsored have a second chance and are successfully carried out with wonderful international partners.
This was the case of a new born intensive care unit at a hospital in Quevedo. We had visited this project with the Rotary Club of Quevedo and it was presented at the fair, but the club did not find an international partner. Some months later we received an email from the Rotary Club of Alpharetta in the United States asking for a projects still seeking support. They eventually partnered on the hospital project, and it is already completed and benefiting the community. This is the magic of Rotary!
If you want to live through an incredible experience of making new friends, touring, and helping people in need, don´t miss our XIII Ecuador Rotary Project Fair. The fair will be hosted at Hotel Oro Verde in the beautiful city of Guayaquil from Friday, November 17 through Sunday, November 19. View the full program and register online.
We look forward to welcoming you to Ecuador!