Twins’ holiday wish fulfilled

Masaya and Tomoya with their letters from Santa

Masaya and Tomoya with their letters from Santa

By Tomomi Kumagai, Fund Development Coordinator, Rotary International Japan Office, Tokyo, Japan, in English and Japanese

In early December, we received a message from a father of three. Two of his children are 10-year-old twin boys, Masaya and Tomoya. The father wrote:

“Our twin boys made a Christmas wish list this year. They are asking Santa Claus to make half Continue reading

Running through Thailand to raise money for polio eradication

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

By Neo LothongKum, a member of the Rotary E-Club of the Carolinas

On 17 February, I will be starting a 999 kilometer (620 mile) run from the very top of Thailand down to the east coast of Pattaya to raise funds for polio eradication and support water projects here in Thailand.

Since coming to Thailand, I have had a desire to help people. In Phuket, I worked with the local police department to assist visitors and local Thai residents work out agreements when there were issues of insurance. I moved to Bangkok just before the 2004 tsunami, but volunteered my translation skills in helping search for missing people. Continue reading

Addressing women’s health needs in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

Rotary members and family pack health kits to distribute.

Rotary members and family pack health kits to distribute.

By Pamela Godoy, past president of the Rotary Club of Mandaluyong-Pasig-San Juan, Philippines

Not long after Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made its first landfall on 8 November, Rotary members in District 3800 began mobilizing donations to help the relief efforts.

Instead of the usual items for relief packs (canned goods, instant noodles, etc.), the members of my Rotary club decided to take a different approach and focus on Continue reading

Good smells from the kitchen

The team that helped put together the cookbook and some of the young test chefs.

The team that helped put together the cookbook and some of the young chefs.

By Günes Ertas, a Rotary Public Image Coordinator

Rotary members in Turkey partnered with Türkiye Görme Özürlüler Kitaplığı (TÜRGÖK), a library for the blind, to produce the first cookbook for the visually impaired in both Braille and audio CD.

A commission of food engineers, dietitians, members of TÜRGÖK, Rotary members and their spouses, and those who are visually impaired helped select 100 recipes for the book using various criteria paying special attention that the recipes were healthy and included ingredients that are easily Continue reading

Your entire family will enjoy Sydney Olympic Park

Convention Committee Chair Mark Maloney, RI President Ron Burton, and Committee Vice-Chair Barry Matheson at ANZ stadium.

Convention Committee Chair Mark Maloney, RI President Ron Burton, and Committee Vice-Chair Barry Matheson at ANZ stadium.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the Sydney Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

As chair of the Sydney Convention Committee, I am enjoying the opportunity to share the many wonderful opportunities that await Rotarians and their families in Sydney. Sydney Olympic Park may well be the best venue for a Rotary International Convention ever.

In addition to offering world-class convention and meeting facilities, Sydney Olympic Park is a holiday destination in its own right! A vast array of family-oriented activities can be found just steps from the Convention plenary Continue reading

Bridging the gulf to protect our valuable water resources

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Agustinus, second from left, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Augustinus, second from left, a member of the Rotary Club of Delft-Koningsveld, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary Scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

By Emmanuel Chinedu Umolu, Rotary Scholar from Nigeria

Three months have gone by since I began my master’s program in Hydraulic Engineering – Land and Water Development at UNESCO-IHE as a Rotary Scholar. The pace of learning has been quite intense. Indeed, most students realized within the first few weeks that the rector was right when he warned us during opening week that the suffix IHE does not mean  “International Holiday in Europe.” Continue reading

My Rotary Moment: Emine’s story

140120_alpayBy Şafak Alpay, RI director-elect and a member of the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Sisli, Turkey

About ten years ago, an ambitious literacy campaign was started in our region using the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) method. Like all other clubs, my club Sisli participated with great enthusiasm, running a course for women in one of Istanbul’s slum neighborhoods.

On graduation day, one young woman who was among those to receive their certificates captured everyone’s attention. She had both her lower arms missing, and as her certificate was placed under her armpit, Emine timidly asked her instructor to get the sheet of paper she kept in her pocket. It was a thank-you letter written to the person who taught her to read and write.  Continue reading

Incoming district governors excited to Light Up Rotary

140114_themelogoBy Daniela Garcia, RI editorial staff

Incoming district governors enthusiastically greeted the theme for 2014-15, Light Up Rotary, during the first plenary of the International Assembly, Rotary’s annual training event for future leaders. RI President-elect Gary C.K. Huang explained he was inspired by the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucious who said: “It is better to light a single candle, than to sit and curse the darkness.”

I asked several of the future leaders their thoughts about the theme, moments after it had been unveiled here in San Diego, California, USA. Here is what they said: Continue reading

Twenty years of fighting polio in India

Shri K. Sankarnarayanan, governor of Maharastra, India, administers the polio vaccine to a child being held by former Trustee Ashok Mahajan.

Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, governor of Maharashtra, India, administers the polio vaccine to a child being held by former Trustee Ashok Mahajan. Looking on is the governor’s wife (left) and Rajashree Birla, who has contributed more than US$7 million for polio eradication.

By former Foundation Trustee Ashok Mahajan

Since 1993, I have been deeply involved in the polio eradication program, Rotary’s top priority, both as a member of Rotary and in various leadership positions. I have many strong memories of the challenges, triumphs and setbacks we’ve faced along the way as we pursued ending this crippling disease in my country.

One thing I will always remember is the extensive efforts we made to build goodwill and acceptance of polio immunization in the Muslim community and among religious leaders. Continue reading