Mark and Margaret Stewart, Country Coordinators
Mark and Margaret have been living part-year in the Guanajuato State of Mexico for the past X years. In the last two years they have become progressively more active with members of the Rotary San Miguel Midday Club (RSMM) and its partner CEDESA, a local NGO, in implementing local water system improvements. Their generous contribution of time and financial support of the water cistern development project motivated LOTUS to join as a funding partner with the RSMM and CEDESA.
In 2015, Mark and Margaret led a team from LOTUS to the villages outside of San Miguel de Allende to inspect and further support the water cistern project. Based upon this site investigation, Board members of LOTUS have become more actively involved in this program and in providing technical assistance in addition to the organization’s financial support.
Mr. Lee Carter, Rotary San Miguel Midday Club, Volunteer Program Manager
Lee is the driving force behind the RSMM involvement in the Water Harvesting Program. He coordinates its members participation, grant writing, and finding partners such as SAPASMA – the governmental Water and Sewer Utility in the Guanajuato region — to develop rural rain water catchment and storage cisterns.
Lee is a small business owner, born and raised in San Diego, and has been a resident of San Miguel de Allende for more than 20 years. He was the president of the San Miguel Midday Rotary Club in 2013-2014. Lee’s passion for helping poor rural communities is infectious and has brought in Rotary partnerships and private funding, such as LOTUS, from throughout the world.
Ms. Chela Martinez, CEDESA, Director
Chela is the Director of CEDESA, the primary partner of SMA Rotary and LOTUS in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico. Her staff, in conjunction with Rotary staff and volunteers, provide the primary technical assistance and construction coordination for the Water Harvesting Program. Chela took over the work of her twin sister, Tere, who died in 2013, and their sister Lucha, previous Director, who died in 2006. Chela is a tireless advocate of community outreach, an educator and a friend to disadvantaged rural communities.
CEDESA was founded in 1965 by a catholic priest, Father Guillermo Davalos (Padre Memo) and several nuns concerned about they saw as the many necessities and injustices visited on the people of northern Guanajuato state. The organization began teaching literacy and other skills to rural campesinos.
CEDESA’s mission has evolved to include contributing to the organization, abilities and health of these communities. Their goal is for campesinos to strengthen their identities and productive abilities, their knowledge of ecology, and the ability to make autonomous decisions as communities. Their projects include many sustainable agricultural technologies of which they provide training to local people. They are also avid activists for local conservation projects and work with many organizations, such as the Center for Global Justice on joint projects involving communities and education. CEDESA also produces its own brand of food stuffs and traditional medicines..