Three major decisions were made by Carlos “Charlie” Rufino during his watch as president.
With the dissolution of MRDC, the Club fast tracked the formation of the new foundation to get a new school up and running with as minimal a disruption as possible to the pupils’ school routine. The Development Center for the Handicapped Foundation was envisioned to manage and operate a new special school, which was aptly named Stepping Stone Learning Center.
To place the school on solid footing for its first few steps, the foundation hired a US-educated special education specialist to run the school as principal. With finance and management now a shared responsibility among eight Rotary clubs, Stepping Stone was on its way to discharging its mission of molding the young minds of the special-needs students. Financial requirements were eased with the provision by the Club of rent-free space for classes, on top of providing scholarship to three pupils from in-need families.
The second major move was the mainstreaming of the Club-run feeding centers by placing them under the care of the Makati City Government and of various parishes in Makati.
The third was the kick-off for a health initiative that would be a recurrent area of concern for the Club for years to come. The project was a TB Elimination Project funded by a matching grant of US$162,000 from The Rotary Foundation, with support from AKAPKA Foundation, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, and Direct Relief International. The project covered two sites in the province of Cavite: Carmona and Dasmariñas, where informal settler families from Manila had been relocated. With Social Welfare Sec. Mita Pardo de Tavera as spearhead, DSWD conducted a training program for nurses and volunteer health workers in testing for TB, dispensing medication to patients, and prevention of contagion to other members of the family.
To improve the Club’s quick response capability in the face of typhoons and other natural disasters, the Club converted a donated container van into a mobile relief center that could be deployed posthaste to deliver food, water, clothes, medicine and other items to places not accessible to small vehicles.
The year marked the setting up in Brgy. San Isidro of a Rotary Village Corps (later renamed Rotary Community Corps) whose initial project was a cooperative store. San Isidro was one of three barangays where the Club put up a soap-making project and helped the women market their products to clients including the Makati City Hall.
Pres. Charlie, making capital of his business and social connections, solicited donations of used bed sheets and towels from hotels in Makati and gave them away to inmates of the Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.