Every one of the 26 miles Stouffville resident Robin Steckley covered at the Boston Marathon in April means better health care for residents in the African village of Igoma.
She raised more than $12,000 for the Stouffville Igoma partnership which began about a year ago when Stouffville was twinned with Igoma, a rural town of 42,000 residents in Tanzania
At last Tuesday’s Whitchurch-Stouffville council meeting, Ms Steckley was presented with a plaque by Mayor Sue Sherban for her efforts.
More than 20,000 runners took part in the Boston Marathon, more than 1,000 requiring medical care because of extreme heat.
Stouffville Igoma committee chairperson Peter Neufeld acknowledged the role of York Region Newspaper Group reporter Joan Ransberry and Whitchurch-Stouffville Chamber of Commerce president Helene Johnson in running a successful fundraising campaign. At least 163 Whitchurch-Stouffville residents have donated to the project over the past year.
There is now a medical clinic in Igoma with a doctor, some equipment and medicines. There were almost 4,000 people at the Igoma clinic’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Six staff are working at the clinic, Mr. Neufeld said.
He delivered more than $15,000 worth of medicines, including a donation from Novapharm, to Igoma last month. The clinic can be kept running for between $20,000 and $25,000 per year, he added.
The latest focus of the partnership is helping students at vocational schools in the Igoma area. Training is offered for plumbers, electricians and mechanics. Mr. Neufeld would like to see this expanded to include laboratory assistants and nursing.
For a donation of $350 a year, a vocational school student can receive a scholarship that will provide tuition, clothes, a uniform and room and board for a year.
Other members of the partnership are Joe Boll, Pastor Lou Geense, Larry simpson, Councillor Clyde Smith and Nancy Clark.
The partnership is planning a fundraising dinner this fall and is looking for corporate sponsorships.
By Hannelore Volpe
Staff Writer, Stouffville Sun-Tribune