Colorado: Steamboat Springs Rotary Collects Computers for Macedonia

Rotary Announces International Service Projects

Although there are few Macedonians in the famous Colorado ski resort Steamboat Springs, locals are becoming familiar with Macedonia.  Presentations on Macedonia have been given at Yampa Valley University Women Club, Kiwanis Club, Peace and Justice Club and the Rotary Club.  Hundreds of used computers and reading materials are being assembled by the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club for shipment to Macedonia this summer for distribution to local schools and libraries in the region.  The project is being coordinated by Steamboat Springs Rotarian John Palmer and his wife Vesna – a member of the Ohrid, Macedonia Rotary Club and a president of Multilingual and Multicultural Harmony.

We’ve stepped up our club’s outreach internationally, “Chan Coyle, Steamboat Springs Rotary Club president said.  In addition to the Macedonia project, the club has also established a micro-loan program in Granada and Trinidad and is coordinating two projects with its new sister club in Aqua Prieta, Mexico across the border from Douglas, Arizona.  The club is also in the process of collecting, sorting, boxing and shipping more than 25,000 books to hurricane-ravaged Louisiana.

We expect to have about 400 computers ready to ship by container to Macedonia sometime this summer,” John Palmer said.  About 175 of the computers will be obtained from the Steamboat Springs School system – units they are replacing with new machines under a special grant this summer.  Others are being collected from other Rotary clubs in Colorado and from private donors, Palmer said.

Funding for the project is being provided through a grant from the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club.  Additional matching funds are now being sought through another foundation.

There are about 50,000 residents in Ohrid, which is in the southwestern part of Macedonia near the Albanian border.  Ohrid and Lake Ohrid have been named a world cultural and natural heritage listed city under the protection of UNESCO since 1980.  There are 12 schools that will be receiving the computers.  Today, these schools have fewer than 10 computers despite the fact that high speed internet service is readily available because of a project funded through a USAID grant.

The first Rotary club in Macedonia was formed at Bitola during 1935.  However, all Rotary activity there was suspended during WW II and not restarted until the early 1990’s.  Today the Ohrid club is one of four in Macedonia.  It was formed three years ago and currently has 27 members.

Macedonia gained its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.  The country is in southeast Europe north of Greece.  It is slightly larger than the state of Vermont with a population of two million.  “Even though it is a very poor country that is highly dependent on tourism, the literacy rate is more than 93%, one of the highest in that part of Europe,” Palmer said.

We are still collecting computers,” Palmer said.  They will accept both Mac and Windows-based PC’s with an operating system at the Pentium II level or better, he said.  For more information on the program including drop-off locations for donated computers, contact John or Vesna Palmer at (970) 871 6292 or [email protected].

Taken from Reality Macedonia.