ROTARY COLLABORATES WITH THE TOURISM ENHANCEMENT FUND
Past President Konrad Wagner introduced our guest Noorani Azeez, CEO of the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
He also went on to brief us on discussions which had been ongoing with the TEF for several months, to explore the possibility of a collaboration with Rotary on the procurement of wheelchairs through the World Wheelchair Foundation.
Our thanks go out to Past President Konrad for his ongoing commitment to the work of Rotary, having spearheaded discussions on this initiative.
Noorani Azeez gave an overview of the origins and work of the TEF which covered a broad segment of the tourism sector as well as the community as a whole: “The TEF is a private sector initiative established on 1st October, 2013, designed to allow the tourism industry a greater opportunity to play an integral role in the sustainable development of our destination.
“The TEF is financed by a small, voluntary donation from our guests of US$2 per night which goes towards community development and environmental projects and actions which will affect the livelihoods of our current and future generations. By collecting a small voluntary fee from our visitors, the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association will also be able to support projects specific to ensuring that our island is clean and safe for visitors and residents alike, including the beautification of specific areas of our island.
“The TEF is managed by a Board of Trustees comprising representatives from the public and private sectors who ensure that projects undertaken by the fund continue to have a strong educational, environmental and developmental impact. For more information on how you can participate or benefit from one of our grants please reach out to us at [email protected]ciatef.com.”
At a recent meeting, the Rotary Clubs of Saint Lucia and Gros Islet signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the TEF to assist with the procurement of 270 wheelchairs of assorted types and sizes for donation to persons with disabilities, through the World Wheelchair Foundation.
Under the agreement, the TEF will commit to funding EC$120,000 towards the initiative. The financing will be made available in three equal instalments, the first of which was presented to Rotary Club President Soraya Warner-Gustave. Rotary will commit to the importation of the wheelchairs and selection of beneficiaries, and will facilitate discussions to establish a training programme for disabled persons to repair/ service wheelchairs, thereby generating part-time employment opportunities.
The targeted beneficiaries are persons who are unable to walk and who would otherwise be unable to obtain such chairs due to financial constraints. This will enable mobility of persons with disabilities to undertake employment, provide for their families and encourage independence of recipients, thereby restoring or enabling their productivity and a sense of self-confidence.
The handover of the first instalment of EC$40,000 was made by Noorani Azeez at our regular luncheon. The remaining funds are expected to be handed over by mid-September and mid-October respectively.
Our club registers its deepest appreciation to the TEF and its Trustees for their support with this important initiative that will go a long way to benefit the community we mutually serve.
CEO of the Tourism Enhancement Fund Noorani Azeez presents the first instalment of funds to Rotary Club President Soraya Warner-Gustave