By Carol Hermann, Co-Chair for the Interact Club of Lodi, United States
Although there are 8,331 miles between Lodi, Wisconsin, USA and Munyambala, Zambia, there is no distance between caring for each other’s communities. The Interact Club of Lodi has been working with the people of Munyambala to take action and create lasting change by establishing a piggery to provide sustainable food security to Munyambala, a rural village that suffered from crop drought. Through the relationship, the Lodi community trained youth in community economic development, understanding of economic inequality, building self-esteem, and leadership skills. Both partners fostered greater cultural understanding, built a strong international friendship, and cultivated their passion for serving others.
The Lodi Interact connection to Zambia was introduced by a Rotarian from Lodi that knew an aid worker in Munyambala. From there, the Interactors communicated by texts, calls, video and photography concurrent with the project. Through funding to the aid worker, Lodi Interact was able to finance building the first pig pen and purchase the first six pigs for $1000 USD. Pigs have a fast reproduction cycle and subsequent sales of offspring to new piggeries will reduce herd diseases and provide sustainable revenue. Profits from the pigs sold outside the community will pay for school fees, school uniforms, and food. Within the community, the pigs provide a source of protein and food security. The pigs eat what humans will not, such as the corn husks, cobs, bushes, stalks, and spoiled vegetables.
Zambian District 9210 Governor Douglas also asked the Lodi Interact Club to mentor a new Interact Club in Lusaka, Zambia, in an effort to establish their club, become sister clubs, and coordinate projects in the future.
Interactor Stella said, “Lodi Interact has done so many little projects for the community, and huge projects for other countries. One of my proudest achievements in Rotary is supporting the piggery in Zambia. I couldn’t believe that something so small, like a brat stand, could raise so much money and awareness of both Interact and Rotary’s worldwide connections, but most importantly make a difference in a rural area of Zambia. It’s truly incredible to receive photos, videos, and texts from our new friends in Munyambala, even though it may be just a pig farm to us, which we have plenty of in Lodi, it is very valued and important to their lives.”
Interact clubs bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self. Learn how to sponsor a club.