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Salida Montessori bake sale in process. Left to right: Britton Irving, Teacher Aubrey Palermo, and Etta Griffin. Photo by Alison Brown.

The Salida Sunrise Rotary (Region D5470) has connections around the globe, and a recent project connected this service club to some of the smallest residents of Chaffee County as well.

A local fund drive-bake sale organized in December 2023 by Salida Montessori teachers, students, and families has benefited a Montessori school construction project sponsored by the Salida Sunrise Rotary (SSR), halfway around the world in Tanzania.

The Salida Sunrise Rotary accepted a check from the Salida Montessori for the project in Tanzania. Pictured: SSR international committee member John Vandewalle,
Montessori Preschool Director Brianna Myers and SSR international committee chair Dr. Alison Brown.

“Through the holiday-themed bake sale, the students raised $472,” said Salida Montessori Charter School Preschool Director Brianna Myers. “The children were so excited, and we sold out of baked goods, although with the snow storm, it was a crazy day.”

The nonprofit, Salida Tanzania Community Foundation (SATCOFO), is building a new daycare center in USA River, Tanzania. The Relini Day Care Center provides education and a good care environment for a minimum of eighty disadvantaged children between three and five-years-old.

In 10 years, around 700 children were given a quality preschool education at Relini Day Care Center. Through a sponsorship program, 80 percent of these children were able to enter Primary and Secondary school without financial difficulties. To further enhance this program SATACOFO is constructing a new Day Care Center. The new center will be bigger, more modern, and built with the social welfare expectations to get the perfect environment for the children. However, SATACAFO needed a new bridge to the land in order to start construction.

The Salida Sunrise Rotary Club obtained a district grant to purchase materials and fund the construction of the new bridge. Members of the Rotary Club of Arusha Mt. Meru supported the construction project.

The bridge has been marked with a plaque recognizing the Rotary contribution.

A video of the construction project is at:

Salida Sunrise Rotary bridge construction project in Tanzania will connect the new Relini local preschool with the community. Courtesy photo.

As reported by Damien Sellier, the founder of SATACOFO, this full project, for which construction has been enabled by “the Rotary-funded bridge, will:

  • Increase our student’s capacity.
  • Offer better comfort with dedicated classrooms and dormitories.
  • Offer dedicated spaces for games and lessons.
  • Offer bigger shaded playing area.
  • Build a veggie garden to teach children how to grow food.
  • Build a dedicated space for meetings with parents.
  • Build an administrative base for our sponsorships.
  • Be fully independent vs. renting our current building.”

The school might have gotten involved in the effort spearheaded by the Rotary and its SSR International Committee as a one-time project, but now it may become something else. Students from the Salida Montessori and the Relini Day Care Center will begin to exchange pictures and letters and begin to build a relationship, child to child and classroom by classroom.