Pakistan Rotary members distribute free books

Students at St. Mary’s Academy in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, display the books they received from the Rotary Books for the World program and the Hashoo Foundation.

Students at St. Mary’s Academy in Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan, display the books they received from the Rotary Books for the World program and the Hashoo Foundation.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, a member of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan

Back in June, my Rotary club partnered with the Hashoo Foundation to distribute books to schoolchildren in Rawalpindi during a ceremony held at St. Mary’s Academy.

Through the Rotary Books for the World program, Rotary members in Pakistan are working with the Hashoo Foundation to actively promote education throughout Pakistan, and to help our country meet the Millennium Development Goals for literacy set by the United Nations. The books and educational material help teachers and students increase their knowledge, enhance classroom learning, and promote community development. Continue reading

My brush with Lyme disease and what my Rotary club is doing to help

The ticks that cause Lyme disease can be small, and the victim often does not feel their bite.

The ticks that cause Lyme disease can be small, and the victim often does not feel their bite.

By Stephen “Steve” Borgos

I’m a longtime Rotarian from Glens Falls, New York, USA. I taught college-level business administration for 31 years, served as a local elected government official and as executive director of the regional emergency medical service council, and made a part-time occupation of commercial real estate sales into a full-time retirement job. At age 68, I began considering slowing down, but I was still going strong.

Then in the spring of 2010, I began to notice significant changes in my energy and concentration levels. My cognitive function became compromised, to the point where I began to experience trouble navigating my way home after meetings more than a few miles away. There were times when my wife had to accompany me to meetings to respond to simple questions, because I couldn’t find words to answer for myself. I realized that what I had thought were simply natural changes due to aging might be something else. Continue reading

A milestone for polio eradication in Nigeria

150724_mcgovernBy Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Today is a special milestone for global health and for every Rotary member. Today, Nigeria has gone one year with no new cases of wild poliovirus.

This is the longest the country has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world.

A vaccinator in Maiduguri looks for children that were missed during the mop up phase of an immunization drive in Northern Nigeria. Photo by Diego Ibarra Sánchez

A vaccinator looks for children that were missed during the mop up phase of a polio immunization drive in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Photo by Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Last year, thanks to its extensive polio eradication infrastructure, Africa’s most populous nation was able to reduce polio cases by 90 percent and thwart the deadly Ebola virus with a swift, “world-class” response.

I had the privilege of speaking earlier this year at the UN Economic and Social Council about Rotary’s work as part of the Global Polio Eradication Continue reading

Free toys brighten children’s lives

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

By Rotary Voices staff

A girl clutched the new purse she had just received during the annual toy giveaway in the community of Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Another child examined the coloring books and colored pencils with interest, while a crowd of other children and their parents surrounded a table in the market square, waiting their turn to select a free toy. Continue reading

A good day at Katkar Wadi

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India

Our Rotary club’s women’s welfare society recently went to a tribal settlement in Katkar Wadi, where we visited 60 households and a 35-student school for kindergarten through grade four, handing out notebooks, writing materials, clothing, and utensils. Many of the women in the settlement have never been to school, and it is a rare occasion when they even travel out of their community. Our youth wing conducted games for the children, also engaging our members in the fun.

We were also able to plant trees in the community and distribute snacks and treats. The team left with the determination to adopt the settlement and make a significant difference for years to come.

Wildfires can’t stop this Rotary cycling event

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By Geraldine Nicol, Governor of District 9350 (Angola, Namibia, and South Africa)

Despite raging wildfires on its outskirts, which at times came within yards of the city, the City of Cape Town, South Africa, proudly carried on with its planned cycle race earlier this year. The Cape Town Cycle Tour is organized and managed by Rotary clubs in District 9350 in partnership with local riding clubs of the Pedal Power Association. About 37,000 cyclists from around the world registered for what is the world’s largest timed cycle race in its 38th year.

The cycle race had been in major jeopardy, as the mountains of the beautiful Cape Peninsula had suffered from devastating fires in the 10 days preceding the race. Although the wildfires forced the race to be reduced from 103 kilometers to 47 kilometers, and the route to be altered to keep roads open for fire engines, everyone got into the spirit of the event. Continue reading

Building community and developing leaders at a unique changeover event

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants take part in an outdoor challenge course designed to teach leadership and problem-solving. Photo courtesy District 7780

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants take part in an outdoor challenge course designed to teach leadership and problem-solving. Photo courtesy District 7780

By Sheila Rollins, governor of District 7780, parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA

Changeover ceremonies, in which Rotary leaders transition to their new positions, are often formal events. I knew I wanted our district’s ceremony to be different. I wanted an event that would positively reflect the ideals of Rotary, that would be family-oriented and cost-conscious, and that would not take place in a hotel ballroom. I considered combining the district changeover with a service project, but I decided to create something even more unique: I planned the changeover to coincide with our annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Continue reading

New action group unites leaders to protect endangered species

Jane Goodall joins the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species’ “Say No!” campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES

Jane Goodall joins the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species’ “Say No!” campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES

By Philip Merritt, vice chair of the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species and a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat Clark, Pampanga, Philippines

About three years ago, Rotary member John Glassford sent a message to the Rotarians on the Internet (ROTI) Fellowship’s discussion list asking if anyone had any ideas on how we could help stop the poaching of elephants. I responded: “Why don’t we start a Rotarian Action Group (RAG)?”, and from that point forward, it was a long journey to finally get the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species (RAGES) recognized by the RI Board in January. Continue reading

Happy New Rotary Year!

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

It’s another new Rotary year, and with it come more decisions, responsibilities, and — more important — some inspiration.

A new Rotary year is a great time to make a fresh start. So how do you get off to a good start? That’s a question many Rotary members ask themselves when 1 July rolls around. Some dive straight in and make a big SPLASH! Others ease into it a little more gently. Continue reading

Stories that are changing the world

140919_sirahBy Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

I recently had a chance to reconnect with my fellow Rotary Peace Fellows at a Rotary Peace Symposium in São Paulo. I was in the company of many talented friends and colleagues, including representatives from organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as global peace consultants and specialists in health, government, peace, security, and education. It was an incredible group of some 80 interdisciplinary peace advocates and Rotary members from all over the world. Continue reading