Posted by Alana Hirtle on Sep 25, 2018
Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation create opportunities to help individuals and communities thrive financially and socially, such as:
  • Entrepreneurs use microloans to become street vendors, rickshaw drivers, weavers, and tailors
  • Entrepreneurs in rural communities can borrow money to buy livestock or plant crops, or get training in sustainable farming.
  • Rotary helps Tanzanians with albinism overcome stigma and superstition to find safety and a livelihood.
Closer to home, at the Zone Conference in Montreal Sept 20-22, former Prime Minister Paul Martin spoke of his foundation, the Martin Family Initiative, and their education based programs for First Nation, Inuit, and Métis communities.
As Indigenous peoples are the youngest and fastest growing segment of the population, better education is necessary to ensure that Indigenous children and youth in Canada have the chance to succeed. The Martin Family Initiative (MFI) is committed to improving not only K-12 education for Indigenous children, but also the wider determinants that influence their educational outcomes, including health and well-being. To achieve this, they work in partnership with Indigenous leaders, educators, governments, other foundations, and private sector partners. Because in their words, better student outcomes make stronger communities.  
There are a number of programs offered by MFI, including: Model School Literacy Project (with a focus on children K-grade 3), Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneurship Awards (for students in Grades 11 and 12, designed to introduce them to the variety of business opportunities available within the Canadian economy), First Nations School Principals’ Course (professional development for Principals and Vice Principals, aimed at building leadership skills and improving educational outcomes for students), Mentorship Programs (with participation from accounting and law firms, now available in 29 schools), and We Stand Together Campaign (changing the way indigenous students experience indigenous history).
During Mr. Martin’s interview at the Zone Conference, he expressed his great respect and appreciation for the work that Rotary International does, and although there is no formal relationship between MFI and Rotary, Mr. Martin indicated he would be open to such a partnership. Following his interview with RI Director Jeffry Cadorette he was made an honorary member of the Montreal Westmount club by President Barry Rassin.