It’s a Wonderful Life through Rotary

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131230_pollardBy Bill Pollard, past governor of District 7600 (Virginia, USA), and member of the Rotary Club of Churchland, Virginia

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is watching It’s a Wonderful Life. The movie shares with us two important messages: the importance of friends and the positive impact each of us makes on the lives of others.

At the end of the movie George Bailey finds a copy of the book Tom Sawyer, a gift from his guardian angel Clarence who wrote in the book, “Remember,George: no man is a failure who has friends.” Our membership in Rotary provides us with the opportunity to make special and lasting friendships with Rotarians in our clubs, districts, and throughout the world. Continue reading

How your year-end gift to The Foundation does a world of good

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

Four hundred citizens in northeast China received free cataract surgeries in 2013 thanks to efforts by the Rotary Clubs of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Shanghai

By Rotary Voices staff

There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways your support is helping change lives all over the world:

Educating children: Rotary members in Maine, USA, and Bikaner, India, are using a global grant to educate hundreds of children in Bikaner who previously were not attending school, and provide professional development for their teachers. Learn more about the project, which also provided desks for the students.

Building peace: The Children Peace Initiative Kenya conducted a peace camp in Baragoi to end fighting in northern Kenya by building friendship between children from different tribes. Rotary Scholar Monica Kinyua and her sister, Jane Wanjiru, founded the organization, which also sponsors events that bring together parents of the children who have made friends in another community. Learn how a Rotary grant supported the effort, and how Kinyua’s Rotary Scholarship made her a stronger leader.

Fighting disease: Rotary members in Georgia, USA, and Shanghai, China, are using Foundation grant money to provide free sight-restoring cataract surgery to some of China’s poorest residents. Read how Dave Razo used his contacts in Rotary to keep the teams of ophthalmologists going after the founder of the nonprofit that began the missions ceased operations.

Ending polio: Rotary first launched its PolioPlus campaign in 1985, and since then the number of polio cases worldwide has dropped 99 percent, with the virus endemic in only three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Gifts from Rotary members have funded immunization efforts that have vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children. Watch a silent video that shows how the campaign began.

Wildlife runs revive South African club

Peter Watson runs in the Savannah Africa wildlife park.

Peter Watson runs in the Savannah Africa wildlife park.

By Judy Brown, a member of the Rotary Club of Parys, South Africa

Raising funds is crucial when you are faced with rebuilding a club. I am an avid runner and enjoy a holiday home in a beautiful area of South Africa, so I decided organizing a race would be a perfect fit.

My partner, Peter Watson, has been a Rotarian for many years. I never joined Rotary in the United Kingdom, where we live. But when we bought our second home in Parys, South Africa, Continue reading

More amazing projects on Rotary Showcase

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaced dangerous Kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

A boy in Belize holds the solar powered light that replaces dangerous kerosene lamps, provided by Rotary members in Austin, Texas.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Nigeria banded together to provide 850 children in Nnewi, Anambra State, with medicine to kill a type of intestinal worm transmitted through the soil.

A single 400 milligram tablet of Abendazole deworms the children and kills the parasite, which is prevalent in many areas of Nigeria. The project is an example of Rotary’s work in preventing disease, but also in supporting education, as the parasite affects the children’s ability to concentrate on school work.

Members of the club distributed the tablets in October to an enthusiastic group of school staff and students. The project is just one of many that Rotary members have shared on Rotary Showcase. Continue reading

Finding meaning in life during a Rotary Youth Exchange

"Louis" Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

“Louis” Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

By I-Ting “Louis” Liu

In 2013-14, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange from Taiwan to the United States. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, think differently, and to gain a better understanding of myself. I made many new friends.

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother, who had lost most of her left arm earlier in life. She was beautiful and strong and took care of me herself. We had no income and survived on the money the government gave us each month. I brought home part of my school lunch to use as breakfast or dinner the next day. This gave me compassion for children who don’t have enough to live on. Continue reading

Funding the fight against polio

A child who has tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

A child who tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

By Jewat Sunder, Rotary Club of Khipro Sunders, Pakistan

I recently traveled to the Sanghar District of Pakistan to meet the parents of a child who had tested positive for polio. Rotary members were taking part in immunizing children against polio during a one-day drive.

Seeing the child reminded me all the more why we must eradicate this disease. The parents cooperated with me in distributing vaccination information, and I handed out End Polio Now caps, pencils, and balls. Continue reading

World’s Largest Human National Flag

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By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Chennai, India, organized the creation of the world’s largest human national flag on 7 December on the grounds of the YMCA during a Rotary Day event. Rotary members joined 50,000 other people, and formed the blue wheel in the center of the human flag, while RI President Gary C.K. Huang, his wife, Corinna, and other Rotary leaders watched from a podium. After breaking the Guinness World Record, local Rotarians flipped over placards to show the Rotary logo and unfurled a large banner that read “Keep India Polio Free.”

Skip a cup of coffee, help educate a child in Nepal

Gail Barlow (third from right) visits with students during a recent trip to a school her Rotary club supports in Nepal.

Galia Barlow (third from right) visits a school in Nepal during a recent trip. Her Rotary club provides scholarships for 30 students to attend the school.

By Galia Barlow

My husband, Robert, and I decided to take one of those lifetime voyages through India and Nepal while we can still travel and learn.

Being a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg, New Jersey, I was asked by the past governor of our district, Tulsi Maharjan, to visit the school in Nepal our club is supporting. We provide $500 scholarships for 30 students from poor, working families, which pays for books, tuition and other school supplies. Continue reading

Australian Rotary Youth Exchange student warms to Brazil

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

By Courtney, a Rotary Youth Exchange student sponsored by Rotary District 9550 (Australia)

Thanks to my Rotary Youth Exchange in Brazil, I now have friends from all corners of the globe. I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here, and it has been an amazing experience.

A little more than two years ago, I was sitting along the highway in a small town in the Queensland Outback watching traffic go by, when two members of a Rotary Youth Exchange safari tour walked by and struck up a conversation. Little did I know that simple conversation, and later meeting the entire busload of teens on the safari, would eventually lead to my own Rotary Youth Exchange, with financial support from the Rotary District that covers Queensland and from members and clubs throughout southeast Australia. Continue reading

An update on fighting Ebola in Liberia

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

The rate of infection from Ebola in Liberia is slowly decreasing. It is a great joy to sit in my office, which is right next to the main road, and not hear every hour the sirens of pickup trucks transporting bodies to be cremated. It is a sound Liberians have come to know as the sound of sorrow.

Our campaign to prevent the spread of Ebola and save lives is now in its third phase. I am grateful to the board of the African Dream Academy, members of the Yonkers-East Yonkers Rotary Club, friends, and partners who Continue reading

Help Rotary make a positive difference on #GivingTuesday

Thank You #GivingTuesday from Rotary International on Vimeo.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people — children, families, and entire communities — benefit from projects funded by The Rotary Foundation. See how your generosity is making a positive difference in communities around the world. Then consider making a gift to The Rotary Foundation as part of #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday was founded two years ago by 92ndStreet Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The concept has been steadily growing since, with more than 10,000 charities and businesses taking part this year.