Thanks to the Thomasville Rotary Club, teenage orphan and foster youth in Serbia are learning computer skills that will give them a better chance at self-supporting lives. The club donated $7,500 to the project, which was matched by a district grant of $7,500 and a Rotary Global Grant that brought the total to $30,000.
The project organized by local Rotarian Walter Gilbert purchased 30 computers for an orphanage in Belgrade and two centers for foster children elsewhere in the country. Gilbert became aware of the need through his work as CEO of An Open Door Adoption Agency Inc. He coordinated on the project with Nenad Sakovik, the president of a Belgrade Rotary Club.
“We wanted them to have marketable skills so they could become self-supporting,” Gilbert said. About 70% of the orphan children become involved in drugs, crime or prostitution, he said, and 10% commit suicide within five years of leaving the orphanage. “Only 20% find meaningful lives.”
Sakovik said more than 200 individuals have been trained using the computers. “I’m happy that the project has fulfilled its goal,” he wrote to Gilbert. “I thank you for all your efforts on this.”