Originally published April 11 by Rotary International News
While scouting locations for his film Apocalypto, Mel Gibson came upon a near apocalyptic situation in southern Mexico: the aftermath of Hurricane Stan. The storm ripped through the states of Chiapas and Veracruz in October, killing 15 people and displacing 370,000.
Gibson met with Mexican President Vicente Fox and told him he would donate US$1 million to help families rebuild…
He is making the donation through The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
The Hollywood actor and director learned of Rotary from several of his relatives who had traveled with members of the Rotary Club of Tarzana Encino, California, USA, on medical missions to Central America. Gibson and his wife, Robyn, were impressed that The Rotary Foundation had matched their family members’ donation to participate.
"The key in their minds [to] the money coming [through] Rotary is that they felt it would be responsibly handled," says Clare Short, of the Tarzana Encino club.
Rotary clubs closest to the affected areas will help identify people most in need of assistance.
Through a cosponsorship, the Gibsons’ funds could be matched and homes for disaster survivors built at nearly half the normal cost.
The Mexican government is giving the land and the services, such as electricity and drainage, in the unique [collaboration]. The government will also provide a new school and clinic near the planned homes.
To give them a true feeling of ownership, beneficiaries of the low-cost homes will be asked to contribute a small amount, about 10 percent, of the commercial value of the homes.