Posted by Tom Wilkinson on Jan 25, 2018
Led by the Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty, our District has for the past 15 years worked with our partners in China and the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea/North Korea ("DPRK") to demonstrate the goals and purposes of Rotary International and our Rotary Foundation in promoting world understanding, goodwill and international peace.  During that time 11 humanitarian, sanitation and/or educational projects have been completed in the DPRK.
The first of these was to host three agricultural scientists from the DPRK for two weeks, who were seeking help to improve the harvesting, processing and transportation of potatoes, a commodity which grew well in their climate but 75% of which was being lost due to poor farming practices. With the help of Rotarians from Rotary clubs in our District 7820, including, Hillsborough, Summerside, Truro and Wolfville, we provided opportunities to visit our Canadian agricultural research facilities, the Atlantic Veterinary College, the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, potato farms, handing and storage facilities, potato processing plants such a McCain’s and Cavendish Farms as well as inspecting harvesting equipment and various potato transportation vehicles. This visit also included meetings with farmers, agriculture scientists , academics, provincial agencies as well as various federal government officials and international agencies in Ottawa, arranged and hosted by Rotarians of the RC of Ottawa. At the same time, these scientists were hosted in the homes of Rotarians, attended many Rotary club meetings, visited several local Rotary community projects and had an opportunity to engage in our Canadian and Rotary cultures.
From this beginning, Charlottetown Royalty Rotary with the assistance of many Rotary clubs in D7820, has engaged in 11 additional projects in the DPRK all of which have been made possible through the coordination and exceptional assistance of Randal Eastman, Special Rotary International Representative to China and our fellow Rotarians and Rotary clubs in Shanghai and Beijing, China.
Some of these projects have included:
  • support for renovation of an operating room in a paediatric hospital in S. Pyongan province;
  • the supply of 500 wheelchairs for children and the disabled following a disaster that destroyed a major children’s hospital;
  • Assisted in the establishment of the Rotary “Korean Friendship Network” consisting of a network of individuals and Rotary clubs in Canada, China, Australia, UK and USA who work to promote peace and understanding in North Korea through humanitarian, health and educational projects;
  • Transported and distributed 273,000 manna pack rice meals for starving orphans in 5 orphanages following crop failure in 2012;
  • Provided a major researched report prepared by Rotarian Dr. Winston Johnston which outlines the means, benefits and potential for producing native food crops in Rinsan Country, DPRK;
  • In 2014, introduced ShelterBox UK to leaders in DPRK which has resulted in delivery of several hundred Shelterboxes in areas hit by typhoons and flooding.
Most recently, we have completed the installation of a Solar Hot Water Heater system at the Haeju Orphanage/School which now provides a consistent supply of hot water for cooking and bathing for 590 orphans and staff which otherwise would only have hot water two months of the year. For the first time, the North Korean government partnered with us and provided 27% of the funding for this project. 
Also thanks to the RC of Gander and a District Foundation Grant we provided a year’s supply of hand soap while the RC of Sydney and another District Foundation Grant provided for the 4 Hot Water Storage Tanks. We are indebted to the RCs of Montague, Sydney Sunrise, New Waterford, Halifax, St. John’s East, Willowdale (Ont.), Rotaract Clubs in Shanghai, a US Interact Club of  and several other individual donors in Canada and China who made this project possible. We are particularly appreciative of the incredible contribution of Past President, Gord Card of the RC of Sydney, NS who traveled to North Korea, at his own expense, as part of one of our inspection/evaluation team for this project and for his on-going support of these projects.
Our current project relates to providing solar lights (LuminAid) for the Haeju orphanage as well as solar units for re-charging cell phones.
The RC of Charlottetown Royalty is extremely grateful to not only the clubs mentioned above, but also the Hillsborough club and others in D7820,  as well as the cooperation of the District Foundation team, particularly, PDG Greg Coldwell and PDG Elva Heyge and David Mullins, who have contributed significantly in helping us meet the goals for these international Rotary projects.
Hopefully our work in the DPRK will be an incentive to other Rotarians and Rotary clubs to make a courageous step to help disadvantaged children, even in the most perilous of geographical locations and to thereby promote world understanding, goodwill and international peace.