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October 7, 2019: Club Members John Bossuyt and Sharon Fraiman on each of their charitable associations.

John Bossuyt, Sharon Fraiman, and Don Sharp speaking at the Rotary Club of Calgary West

Bill Fitzsimmons introduced our two speakers Sharon Fraiman and John Bossuyt, both of whom are recent club members. Sharon was first up.


Don Sharp Sharon first announced that she had just gotten engaged! Congratulations Sharon! She started her talk saying that she was the western regional director for the Canadian Magen David Adom Association (CMDA). CMDA is an international medical response organization with over 14,000 trained volunteers, and a small full-time professional staff. Response times are very fast, which is vital in saving lives.

Don Sharp was next introduced by Sharon as a volunteer with CMDA. Don is a paramedic with the city of Calgary and has extensive volunteer experience with CMDA.

CMDA has an app which reduces response times by notifying the five closest paramedic volunteers to an incident. The app also coordinates the many other factors involved in getting a responder to an incident.

Don commented on the different service attitude in Israel versus that of Canada. Sixteen-year-olds are trained as volunteer paramedic volunteers, which wouldn’t happen in Canada.

CMDA gets no money from governments and is financed entirely by donations.


John Bossuyt was up next to tell us about his charitable organization, Humanity’s Promise. John started off by showing us an axe, a hoe, and a machete, these being the only three tools South Sudanese farmers use.

He told us about a trip he took to Kenya where the scale of the needs of the young people there overwhelmed him. He told us of the young boy he and his wife, Beverly, had taken under their wings because his need was so great. They then found out that by taking him on they had to help his whole family and their community! They provided three water wells and food for the community, but this became unsustainable.

Humanity’s promise was given land in South Sudan to use as an experimental farm to develop new foods for the people of South Sudan. John so impressed the people that they built him a three km road to make it easier for him to travel to the farm!

The farm is developing new farming techniques for South Sudan. These techniques are implemented with the South Sudanese on a consultative basis and not imposed upon them. A fruit-growing farm is in operation two days a week, being Tuesday and Friday.

John has been given farming equipment which he will take to South Sudan as soon as he can raise the funds to do so.

John and Beverly financed the first eight years of Humanity’s Promise from their own resources. This was because John said that he did not like asking people for money. However, because the financial requirements became so large, he has had to overcome this dislike of asking for money. John says that if you give him money, he will invest it in growing activities which will return the money tenfold.

Ted Valentine thanked our speakers most eloquently!

reported by Larry Doyle

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