India eye surgeons share skills with peers in Ethiopia

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

By Suhas B. Naik-Satam, past president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West, Maharashtra, India

In March, during our silver jubilee year, my Rotary club sponsored a vocational training team of ophthalmologists to Ethiopia to improve the abilities and skills of eye surgeons at various medical centers there.

Under the direction of club president S.R. Balasubramanian and led by Dr. Haresh Asnani, a past president of our club, the team of three super specialists included a vitreoretinal surgeon, a pediatric ophthalmologist/squint specialist, and an oculoplastic surgeon/ocular oncologist. Our club partnered with Beyond Eye Care, an organization that manages the India Eye Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Continue reading

Fighting malnutrition with special peanut butter formula

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially developed peanut butter formula.

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially formulated peanut butter.

By Rotary Voices staff

Severe acute malnutrition kills millions of children around the world every year. Those who don’t die often suffer from stunted growth and other health problems. More children between the ages of one and three die of inadequate food intake every year than from HIV/AIDS.

In Sierra Leone, Rotary members are partnering with more than 20 clubs in the United States and Canada to prevent some of these deaths by supplying jars of specially developed peanut butter, known as “Ready to Use Therapeutic Food,” to treat children suffering from malnutrition. The project, funded by a global grant from the Rotary Foundation, began in January of 2013 and is continuing through September. Continue reading

Medical camp delivers the gift of sight

A member of the medical team inspect a patient for cataracts.

A member of the medical team inspect a patient for cataracts.

By Himal Pandya, past president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India

Every year, our club has arranged multiple medical camps in and around the town of Uttarkashi. We began the effort two years ago when heavy flooding struck the state of Uttarakhand, and our charter president risked landslides and other perils to help deliver 1,200 cooking stoves and other supplies to flood victims. We struck up a close association with Rotary members in Uttarkashi about 1,000 miles from our city.

It is a great and most satisfactory experience performing humanitarian service miles from home. This year, seven committed medical Continue reading

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

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

Putting books in the hands of children

Children read books they received through Gyan Jyot, a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari.

Children read books they received through Gyan Jyot, a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari.

By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Gujarat, India, have launched a program to put books into the hands of children from low income families who cannot afford them, or whose schools lack large library collections.

Gyan Jyot is a program of the Rotary Club of Baroda Sayajinagari. For as little as $3,000, the club purchases and circulates a variety of reading material to students, who get to pick a book of their choice a week to read at no cost. Continue reading

Four countries meet to tackle malaria

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

By Kenneth Masamaro, Rotaract Club of Kisumu, Kenya

On 3 April, we hosted a malaria prevention program in Kisumu, Kenya, as part of the third year of Rotaract East Africa Impact (REACT). The project is a multi-district initiative that brings together Rotaract clubs from throughout Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

More than 100 members from 19 different Rotaract clubs across these countries travelled to the lakeside city to make a difference in the informal settlement of Nyalenda. A story is told of a young boy who was four years old and had many dreams ahead of him. One evening, the boy developed fevers and refused to eat. Though his mother had a premonition about it, she decided to brush it aside. The preceding week, her other two children, a boy and girl, developed fevers and had reduced appetites but their symptoms had resolved on their own. Continue reading

Two of the most exciting words in Rotary

150413_solowBy Kenneth Solow, incoming governor of District 7620 (Maryland, USA)

Can you picture Dr. John Sever, member of the Rotary Club of Potomac, Maryland, asking Rotary’s 1979-1980 Board, at the request of RI President Clem Renouf, to imagine “what if” Rotary adopted the goal of a polio-free world?” The rest is history.

Recently the Zone 33-34 class of incoming district governors asked a different “what if” question. What if the Rotary districts in Zone 33-34 combined to fund an international project using a global grant from the Rotary Foundation?  If they could pull it off, the financial contribution from each district would be relatively small, but the impact of their combined effort would be gigantic. The result of asking that “what if” question is the unprecedented cooperation of twenty-two districts to fund a Rotary Family Health Day in the country of Ghana in Africa next year. Continue reading

Working together, we get more done

Members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact join community health workers in a cleaning up an impoverished neighborhood near Naivasha, Kenya.

Members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact join community health workers in cleaning up an impoverished community near Naivasha, Kenya.

By Joe Kamau, service project chair for the Rotary Club of Naivasha, Kenya

My Rotary club recently completed a very successful Rotary At Work Day in January where we cleaned up a poor community near Naivasha, Kenya.

This activity was truly a collaborative and inter-generational effort, bringing together members of the Interact Club of Trinity Mission School, the Rotaract Club of Naivasha, members of Rotary, friends, community health workers, and local government officials. Continue reading