Royston Rotary Club members raise £1,000 to help poor communities in South Africa

Royston Rotary Club have raised funds for sewing machines in South Africa

Royston Rotary Club have raised funds for sewing machines in South Africa - Credit: Archant

Members of Royston Rotary Club have raised £1,000 to help communities living in poverty 6,000 miles away.

David Blundell of Royston Rotary Club.

David Blundell of Royston Rotary Club. - Credit: Archant

The funds will shortly be making it’s way from Royston over to the Valley of a Thousand Hills in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa, to help orphans and families in an area devastated by Aids.

Rotarian David Blundell, from Melbourn, has been out to the country to see the project which better equips people to feed and support themselves.

He said: “The story of our link to the valley, as it’s known, began a few years ago when I was visiting family in South Africa. A young Zulu teacher I met told me how some of the villagers had got together to try to lift themselves out of poverty by their own efforts.

“With the help of a local Rotary Club they were buying second-hand sewing machines and learning elementary sewing. This meant that they could not only provide clothes for themselves, but they could sell products through an outlet in the nearby town of Hillcrest.

“He took me in a bakkie – or pick-up truck – bouncing on a blazing hot day miles up dirt roads far into the valley to show me what was going on. Eventually, we came to a collection of shacks in which was the sewing school where a group of men and women were hard at it turning out workwear and school uniform.

“My Zulu friend explained that the sewing project was only a beginning. They had ambitions to teach metal work and even to buy computers and offer IT training to both adults and youngsters. This, I thought, is exactly the sort of thing we could be helping with at home. So when I got back to Royston I told some friends in Rotary. Typically, they couldn’t wait to get involved!”

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The Royston group, which meets regularly at the town’s golf club and other venues, has also learned that its funds are also to help with the running of the Hillcrest Aids Centre Trust in South Africa.

This charity helps those who have lost their parents to Aids through the funding of education, school uniform and transport and food provision.

Anyone wishing to know more about it can contact Rotarian David Blundell, through the Royston Rotary Club website, or visit,or