A beautiful partnership of service through Rotary

Students use the sound proof therapy room at the school for the deaf and mute.

Students use the sound proof therapy room at the Kamalini school for children with hearing and speech impairments.

Prafull Karnik, past president of the Rotary Club of Thane East, Maharashtra, India

Our unique partnership with the Rotary Club of Mission Viejo in California, USA, began more than a decade ago when I was president and I was looking for a centennial project for our club. With other members of the club, I visited Nakhwa School in Thane, established in 1964 to provide education for children from low-income families, and was convinced this would be a great opportunity for us to serve. Continue reading

Rotary exchange inspires children’s books about animals

Rachel Shaw with Rotary members at the launch of her book in Manila.

Rachel Shaw (middle, first row) with Rotary members at a book launch in Manila.

By Rachel Shaw, honorary member of the Rotary Club of West Bay, Laguna, Philippines.

Six years ago, I visited the Philippines as part of a Group Study Exchange team from Rotary District 1270 (Lincolnshire, England).The opportunity to visit one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots as a professional wildlife conservationist became for me the start of a new writing and illustrating adventure.

Glimpsing just a little of the amazing diversity of animals sparked my imagination. Continue reading

Rotary club meets on a train

Members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen meet on the passenger train between Pune and Mumbai.

Members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen meet on the passenger train between Pune and Mumbai.

By Deepak Shikarpur, past district governor

On the Deccan Queen Express, an Indian passenger train that connects Mumbai with Pune, members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen conduct their weekly meeting. It may very well be the only Rotary club in the world that meets on a train.

The Deccan Queen is one of the most popular trains in the sector and a daily means of transportation for thousands commuting between the two cities. The idea was first proposed in 2012, but since the route crosses through two Rotary districts, it took a while to reach agreement the club would be considered to meet in District 3131 (which includes Pune).

Every Thursday, members get together in a special car for pass holders. There are 25 members at the moment, and prominent citizens traveling on the train are invited as speakers. We have conducted community service projects including health checkup camps for train porters and railway staff, and made infrastructure improvements to the station in Pune. We are planning to begin monthly fellowship meetings in the city so members can bring their family and they, too, can experience the joy of Rotary.

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Pakistan picnic benefits blind children

Children gather in the park for a Rotary-sponsored picnic in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Children gather in the park for a Rotary-sponsored picnic in Islamabad, Pakistan.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, president of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

My club recently arranged a picnic for children who have visual impairments or learning delays at the Lake View Park in Islamabad. We were able to partner with True Site, an organization dedicated to the welfare of blind children, through our Rotary member Shehzad Javed, who is secretary general of the organization.

The children enjoyed rides in the park, a visit to a bird aviary, and a healthy lunch provided by the Rotary club. It was a great picnic, enjoyed by the children to the fullest. What better example to the community of the power of Rotary!

Tips for smarter fundraising

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, and a regular contributor to this blog

I’m not a huge donor with the capability of making or breaking your club’s fundraising campaign. At least not yet. And I am fully aware Rotary isn’t just a fundraising organization. But we do need funds to carry on our service projects and do good in the world.

So here are a few of my ideas for how to put fun back in your fundraiser, and increase your reach and effectiveness. Continue reading

Making a difference in Uganda

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

By Lisa Miller, a member of the Rotary Club of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, USA

Sixteen mothers die in childbirth in Uganda every day. How can we make a difference?

Ryan Smith, then a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine, posed that question to his father several years ago. The question, and his father’s membership in Rotary, combined to bring together staff from two medical schools — Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, USA, and Makerere University School of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda, to exchange ideas, share technology, and discuss ways to reduce mortality and morbidity during and after childbirth and improve access to essential medical services.

Continue reading

Experiencing more flavors of Rotary

150505_huddlestonBy Mark Huddleston, a member of the Rotary Club of Edwardstown, South Australia, Australia, and District 9520 Membership Chair

My son can be a particularly picky eater. One of his favorite meals is ham and pineapple pizza. We occasionally make pizza at home, and I wouldn’t ever bother putting anything on his pizza but ham and pineapple, because he would just pick it off. If we order a pizza when we’re out, that’s exactly what he does.

So, what’s this got to do with Rotary? Many members approach Rotary like my son approaches his pizza. Continue reading

When the floods came, Rotary stepped in to help

150501_ramaswamyBy Thamilarasu Ramaswamy, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Madras Vadapalani, Tamil Nadu, India

This is my Rotary story. In November of 1995, heavy rains created floods that uprooted trees and ravaged agricultural fields in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, paralyzing many communities. The district of Tiruvannamalai was the hardest hit. District administrators worked hard to help those affected by the floods, providing food and clothing.

In one subdistrict known as Sengam, there are many weavers who make dhoties and sarees on manually operated hand looms operated by wooden pedals. Many of these looms ended up under water, destroying the equipment and the ability of these weavers to carry on their craft and make a living. In addition, many lost all or most of their belongings. Continue reading

Why you should consider being part of a vocational training team

150429_gopinathan_mugBy Indumati Gopinathan, Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West

The vocational training team is one of the most meaningful programs that has emerged from the Foundation’s grant model. Having had opportunities to lead a Group Study Exchange and a vocational training team (VTT), I have witnessed the metamorphosis of this idea and can attest to the great value the latter provides.

My participation in two consecutive medical vocational training teams to Uganda in 2013 and 2014 showed me how purpose driven these teams are, what a crisp program they follow, and how they build capacity in one of our six areas of focus. Stringent monitoring and evaluation tools gauge efficiency and assure sustainability. Continue reading

How we increased attendance at our district training event

Presentations with posters allowed participants to have individual discussions with trainers.

Presentations with posters allowed participants to have individual discussions with trainers.

By Deepak Agrawal, past governor and 2015-16 trainer for District 3060 (India)

I have been a Rotary member for more than two decades and have attended multiple district assemblies as a club officer or trainer. We recently adopted a new approach to our assemblies, and opened them up to members who are not preparing for a new role as a club officer. Where else can these members get one-on-one information about the exciting new things happening in Rotary? Continue reading