My Rotary hat is the ultimate travel accessory

Kate McKenzie meets a Melbourne Rotarian during her travels.

Kate McKenzie, wearing her Rotary hat, meets a fellow Rotarian in Melbourne.

By Kate McKenzie, a member of the Rotary Club of Randwick, New South Wales, Australia

Since joining Rotary, I have discovered the ultimate travel accessory, my Rotary hat. Not only does it keep the sun off my Celtic skin, but it advertises my connection to Rotary.

I currently live in Sydney with my husband, but grew up on a farm in the southern part of Western Australia. It’s one of the most isolated and beautiful parts of the world, but it’s also what inspired me to be interested in other cultures and what led me to Rotary. Continue reading

Making a difference in orphans’ lives through Interact

Zaahidali Nathu with children at the Refilwe orphanage near Johannesburg, South Africa.

Zaahidali Nathu with children at the Refilwe orphanage near Johannesburg, South Africa.

By Zaahidali Nathu, a member of the Interact Club of Hugh Boyd Secondary School, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

This past summer, I got to go on a trip of a lifetime to an orphanage in South Africa called Refilwe.

The orphanage is in a settlement just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Joining me on the amazing trip were seven other Interact members from Hugh Boyd Secondary School in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, two teachers, and four Richmond firefighters. Continue reading

How your gift to The Rotary Foundation changes lives

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

Construction on a new school in Masaya, Nicaragua. Photo courtesy Leonor Fraser

By Rotary staff

Leonor Fraser and other members of her Rotary club arrived in Masaya, Nicaragua, ready to deliver shoes to the elementary schoolchildren and play with them.

It immediately became apparent that the school, located near a diesel plant, had bigger problems. The plant emitted pollutants into the air, which made the children and teachers lethargic, and the cracked building had no sanitation facilities. Fraser had difficulty breathing during her visit. Continue reading

Why we love Interact

Interactors take part in an outdoor activity during the Famine Camp to raise money for World Vision.

Interactors take part in an outdoor activity during the famine camp to raise money for World Vision.

By Janelle Tai, club service director for the Interact Club of Wesley Methodist School, Sentul, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fasting from food and drinks except for plain water may sound like an impossible feat for us food-loving Wesleyans, but that’s exactly what we did on one weekend earlier this year for a totally worthwhile cause.

We organized our 30-hour famine camp in conjunction with World Vision Malaysia with the theme of  “Fight Hunger!” In total, 120 students and 5 teacher advisors took part. We had an amazing time. The morning started off with a few ice breakers. Then, everyone headed outdoors for more vigorous activities. The highlight of the night was our Mystery Game. Continue reading

RI President Ron Burton: Changing lives by inspiring the next generation

RI President Ron Burton and his wife, Jetta, (second and third from right) at the Presidential New Generations Conference in Uganda.

RI President Ron Burton and his wife, Jetta, (second and third from right) at the Presidential New Generations Conference in Uganda.

What does it mean to Engage Rotary, Change Lives? For me, it means, in part, to share my love of Rotary as well as empower the next generation of Rotarians. I’m hoping I was able to do that when from 4 to 5 November I visited Kampala, Uganda, for the second Presidential New Generations Conference.  Continue reading

My mountaintop experience

Sunrise on the summit of Mt. Fuji.

Sunrise on the summit of Mt. Fuji.

By Valentina, a current Rotary Youth Exchange student from the United States to Japan who received round-trip airfare through United’s 10 Million Charity Miles Giveaway.

I have been in Japan for only two weeks, but already so much has happened! The day I arrived I was greeted by local Rotary members and my host mother at the airport. I couldn’t believe I was in Japan. Continue reading

Why what goes on safari shouldn’t always stay on safari

Courtney (center with hat in lap) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari earlier this year. Photo courtesy of District 9800

Courtney (center with hat in lap) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari earlier this year. Photo courtesy of District 9800

By Emanuel Tumino, a member of the Rotary Club of Footscray, Victoria, Australia

A chance encounter on the side of a dusty road deep in the Queensland Outback will forever change the life of one teen-ager, thanks to the magic of Rotary Youth Exchange.

In March of 2012, I was one of three leaders for our annual safari tour for 16 inbound Youth Exchange students which takes students deep into the Outback for a unique look at Australia’s remote areas. The bus stopped for a coffee break along the highway at a town of about 350 consisting of a few shops, houses, and a post office with the only cappuccino machine in “town.” Continue reading

Using your vocation to mentor students

Students take part in a field trip as part of the Pathfinders program, a project of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA.

Students take part in a field trip as part of the Pathfinders program, a project of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA.

By R. Scott Lyons, a member of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA 

How can you use your vocational skills to help students prepare for life after graduation? Three years ago, our club set out to answer that question with the help of Germanna Community College, the Spotsylvania Education Foundation, and our local high school. Here’s what we discovered. Continue reading

Preparing future leaders to pursue peace

Elsa Garcia Soto at the United Nations in New York.

Elsa Soto Garcia at the United Nations in New York.

By Elsa Soto Garcia, Rotaract Club of Mexicali Industrial, Mexico 

Walking through the doors of the United Nations headquarters building in New York was an awesome experience. Sitting in a room full of students from 30 different nationalities, sharing ideas on how to promote the model UN programs in our countries, was even more amazing.

I have been taking part in model UN programs for many years. Continue reading

Rotaract Model UN instills courage

Delegates to the Rotaract Model UN in Romania practice diplomacy.

Delegates to the Rotaract Model UN in Romania learn the discipline of decision-making.

By Alina Cristina Buteica, member of the Rotaract club of Bucharest Triumph, and participant in the first-ever Rotaract Model UN in Romania

The courage to shine and take a stand. The courage to make informed decisions that will impact the world. The courage to find innovative ways for building international dialogue.

These are the things that come to my mind in reflecting on what I learned during the Rotaract Global Model United Nations in  Baia Mare, Romania, 21-25 August. I had just spent a full year working in 10 countries in Africa when a good friend told me about this initiative and encouraged me to apply. I could hardly have imagined what I would experience.  Continue reading