The chance to build a better world through Rotary

130906_celia_giayBy Celia Elena Cruz de Giay, RI director

In December 1995, my husband, Luis, and I visited Bombay (now Mumbai), India, during his year as president-elect of Rotary International. We were there to participate in a national polio immunization day and were very impressed by the social mobilization that went into it. It was the largest immunization day to that point.

When the day arrived, more than 10,000 volunteers were distributed throughout the country, easily identifiable in their yellow jackets and caps imprinted with the Rotary wheel. Continue reading

The power of Rotary on display in Africa

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days in May, Rotarians from 365 clubs fanned out across Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa to help medical professionals and government workers provide free health services to 250,000 disadvantaged people.

Rotary Family Health Days, the third event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), was an incredible success! The program, initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, has always included other health care services. This year, we conducted polio and measles immunizations, dental and eye clinics, family counseling and screening for HIV, diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Continue reading

Surplus equipment saves lives

Rotarians in British Colombia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

Rotarians in British Columbia, Canada, load medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Chile. Photo courtesy Chris Offer

By Chris Offer, past governor of District 5040 (British Columbia, Canada)

There is something almost magical about loading an infant incubator, which has kept hundreds of newborn babies alive in Canada, on board a ship and knowing it will continue to help children in Chile.

I recently had the opportunity to load a 40-foot sea container with medical and dental supplies to be shipped to Iquique, Chile. Continue reading

Climbing Mount Blanc to fight hunger

Amelie Zegmout atop Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

Amelie Zegmout on top of Toubkal Mountain in Morocco earlier this year. Photo courtesy Amelie Zegmout

By Angeli Mendoza, a Rotary Peace Fellow and social media officer for the Asia office of the World Food Programme

Amelie Zegmout, a past vice-president of the Rotary Club of Jumeirah-Dubai, United Arab Emirates, is climbing Mont Blanc, the highest peak in the Alps, to support the work of the World Food Programme (WFP).

Amelie fell in love with mountains as a child, and discovered trekking for charity in 2003 when she climbed Kilimanjaro for a local non-governmental organization. This Ramadan, Amelia, who has lived in Dubai for 15 years, is challenging herself with a two-day “climb against hunger.” Continue reading

Howie’s field of dreams

The Buddy Ball baseball field in Rochester, New Hampshire.

The Buddy Ball baseball field in Rochester, New Hampshire.

By Marty Peak Helman, past governor of District 7780 (parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA)

A child, with his buddy, uses the new field.

A child, with his buddy, uses the new field.

The Rotary Club of Rochester, New Hampshire, inaugurated its Buddy Ball baseball field with an exhibition game in front of a crowd of 300 this past June. A Buddy Ball field is a regulation Little League field specially designed for use by mentally and physically handicapped youth. As a result, the club was recognized with the RI Significant Achievement Award, which is presented to an individual club that has accomplished a major local community service project, one that all club members are involved in bringing to fruition. Continue reading

Bringing light in darkness

Dr. Harminder Singh Dua receives the 2012-13 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Dr. Harminder Singh Dua with the 2012-13 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

Dr. Harminder Singh Dua, an ophthalmologist in Nottingham, England, is the recipient of the 2012-13 Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award. The following is an excerpt of his acceptance speech before the Rotary convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

As a young trainee doctor in the city of Nagpur in India, all those many years ago, I had made a trip to a city called Vijaywada to be interviewed for the Group Study Exchange team selection. I was one of about 103 young men who had descended on a hotel in Vijaywada.  Each of us had been picked from amongst several others by the local Rotary clubs. Continue reading

Listening is sometimes the best education

The vocational training team to Dar es Saalam. Photo courtesy Susan Meskis

The vocational training team to Dar es Saalam. Photo courtesy Susan Meskis

By Susan Meskis, RN, member of the Rotary Club of Fishers, Indiana, USA, and leader of a vocational training team to Tanzania

After a year of planning and with much anticipation, I set out for Tanzania, Africa, as part of a vocational training team (VTT) comprised of nurses to share my expertise in nursing education with the faculty at Aga Khan University’s (AKU) School of Nursing.

We had built a curriculum, created slides and documents, and spent many hours fine-tuning Continue reading

Rotarians work together to restore sight to the blind in Ghana

Dr. Albert Alley, director of the World Blindness Outreach, and six villagers who received free cataract surgery during the mission.

Dr. Albert Alley, director of World Blindness Outreach, and six villagers who received free cataract surgery during the mission.

By Sue Carlson, M.D.

“Medase me adamfo” is Twi for “Thank you, my friend.”

We heard and said these words many times on our recent medical mission to Apam, Ghana, 4-11 May.

We heard them from the 87 patients who received cataract, pterygium, or glaucoma surgery, and from the patients’ family members, hospital personnel and administrators, and village elders. Continue reading

Health days event invests in the future of children

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik, senior media relations specialist for Europe and Africa in RI’s Zurich office, spent a week with a film crew in Johannesburg, South Africa, documenting the three-day family health day event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

“I believe God sent us the Rotarians”, says single mother Innocentia.

We are chatting in her family’s backyard, Innocentia is sitting on a wooden stool, and her baby is sleeping on her back, wrapped in a towel, while Grandmother Gloria is doing the laundry in a metal bucket. Continue reading

Providing free health care to thousands in Africa

Marion Bunch

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

For three days this month, 9-11 May, Rotarians from 225 clubs in Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa will be helping provide free health care service to thousands of families. I am excited about the campaign, which will be the third annual event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), Rotary’s mobilizing and implementing partner in disease prevention.

The program was initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, but has always included other health care services. Continue reading