The Knysna Rotary Club is unique in District 9350 in that it has established Interact Clubs at all seven of its local high schools: Heatherhill International, Knysna High, Knysna Montessori, Knysna Sekonder, Oakhill College, Percy Mdala and latest to join, Concordia High. Every year an Interact training day is held for the clubs’ committees during which they are familiarised with the structures of their clubs and the duties of the committee members.
Each club does community service as chosen by its members. They raise funds which they use on projects in their own communities. Some project examples are soup kitchens, food collections, toy and clothing collections, entertaining the elderly, donations to needy schools, comfort packs for abused women and children, book collections and a puppet theatre for a preschool. The Interact teacher at each school plays a vital part in the Rotary-Interact link. The Knysna Rotary Club also has an Interact Club of the Year Trophy and cheque for the club with the most active and balanced programme during that year.
The Knysna Rotary Club uses Interactors at various stages of the annual Cycle Race – for example to prepare race packs and help at registration. Their clubs are paid for this help which gives them seed money for their own projects. Interactors are selected for Know Your Town programmes and for Rotary Leadership Courses (RYLA) at Outward Bound in Sedgefield, both of which are held annually.
Occasionally Interactors from other areas, including overseas, are hosted. Together projects are done and outings enjoyed. A few years ago a group from Bath in the UK participated in a project to upgrade Noluthando Educare by painting it with murals inspired by the illustrations in Desmond Tutu’s children’s book God’s Dream. Every afternoon these thirteen visitors were joined by around 80 local Interactors helping with the painting. Great fellowship was shared by the Interactors, who also played soccer in the township with local youngsters.
Interactors are an important part of the Knysna Rotary Club and their active involvement in club activities illustrates the Rotary theme “Service Above Self”.