GUEST SPEAKER:   Steve Rutledge – Adopt A Village-Laos

Introduction by Kris Sachdeva, our Director of International Service:  

Steve Rutledge – President of Adopt A Village Loas, Rotarian on the International Service Committee with the Rotary Club of Whitby Sunrise, recipient of two Port Hope Civic Awards, the most recent in 2011 for Philanthropy, is a recipient of two Paul Harris Awards and The Spirit of Rotary Award.  In 2016 Steve was awarded the Family and Community Award by the Rotary Club of Courtice.  In June 2020, Mr. Rutledge was awarded the Bob Scott Disease Prevention Award from the Rotary District 7070.

Steve was co-owner of a medium sized computer firm for 22 years. Since then Steve has served on several boards and committees including the municipal Culture Committee, Skatepark Committee, Capitol Theatre Board, Canadian Spinal Research and others.

Here is a summary of Steve’s talk to our club, the video he showed about the work he did last year, and an interactive map of all the villages that he has helped get clean water in Laos over his 12 years of visits

Steve noted that a severe drought in 2019-20 made this year most challenging and most successful. In short, here is what he and some volunteers accomplished : 2 dams in 2 villages that had no clean water, plus miles of pipe from the dams to the villages, hundreds of filters and the result: clean water to over 4,000 people that changed their lives forever. The youtube video says it all.

Our fundraising activities begin as soon as our visiting director(s) return from Laos each winter.  It runs from approximately April 1 through November 30 each year.  This year, 2020/21, our budget has been significantly reduced, due to all traditional outdoor events being cancelled for the summer or fall, due to Covid-19 concerns.

There are currently, about 40 Rotary presentations planned on-line, in Southern and Central Ontario, and Vancouver area.  There are also a couple of fundraisers in the planning stages.  Global Change For Children has recently provided a donation as has HMA Benefits for their sponsorship of the Bob Scott Disease Prevention Award, awarded to the president of Adopt A Village in Laos.  We are humbled.

Much of our water project funding comes from various Rotary Clubs and District Matching Grants, but corporations and many individuals also assist.  This year we hope to raise funding for one large water project ($57,600) plus a small water project ($12,000).  In addition we have raised for for all of our secondary school students and are raising funds for our university student ($6,000).  Fortunately, JDM Actuarial Expert Services has stepped up to the plate and offered a 1:1 match, up to $3,000 towards this goal.  As of July 10th, $1,000 has been raised, so $2,000 more is required.


If you feel you may be able to help us with funding, or know of others that may be interested in funding or wish to visit, we hope that you will contact us.  If you aren’t sure where exactly you would like to apply your funds, please contact us and we will let you know where they are needed the most.  Perhaps you may be interested in doing a fundraiser for, or with us.  A few dollars can go a long way.

Many of our followers contact us from time-to-time to either donate to our projects, or enquire about visiting some of our projects. For those of you who are interested in joining us, our season in Laos is from the beginning of December to early April each year. All our welcome. We generally have four or five groups visit us during that time. If you are interested, please note that this is not a sweat equity trip, although some assistance with the distribution of water filters is certainly welcome. We ask for 1 week of your time with us and will provide you with an itinerary for review before making a decision, and will provide you with estimated costs. Once you advise us of your continued interest, additional information is sent and we will ask you about any health issues you may have in order that we may adjust the itinerary according to your needs. We ask for one favour however….the donation of a water filter to a needy family (currently $125) per visitor so that you can experience the sincere appreciation from the receiving family. Please contact us at

Steve enclosed a link to his interactive map, showing the 65 villages that now have clean water thanks to Adopt A Village and Rotary Clubs like ours, who have helped over the years, including last year. Although there are still a few villages that Steve has to load up along with more pictures.  It is interesting for visitors that have been there with Steve or wish to go. YES, you can volunteer to go and help Steve in Laos. Here is that link to the map: is

For those that weren't able to join us at the meeting I have also enclosed the youtube link to their video, that really shows Steve’s activity last year and we can see where our money went. As Steve said: it really changes their lives. .

Finally, Steve has enclosed more details for our water filter program, as promised.  The cost of the filters are $125 each, same as last year and as a reminder, any members and friends who wish to donate, will receive an emailed tax receipt.  They will also get an emailed picture of the receiving family with their water filter and will be able to zoom in on the label to see the name or phrase they chose. We will attach the brochure to our Bulletin.

Steve Rutledge and the Adopt A Village info can be seen here:

Past President David Andrews thanked Steve, for his continuing efforts to change peoples lives forever in Laos..

Meeting adjourned by Pres. Sue at 8:00 pm


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