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

New England Rotarians bring Christmas to Lac Megantic

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

Rotarians deliver Christmas gifts in Lac Megantic. Photo courtesy of Marty Helman

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

Lac Megantic in southern Quebec made headlines for all the wrong reasons last July when a train filled with crude oil derailed in the town’s central business district. The resulting fire destroyed the town’s economic base, killed 47, and 24 local children lost one or both parents. In the wake of the disaster, Rotarians in District 7780 across the border in southern Maine and coastal New  Hampshire geared up to help.   Continue reading

My Christmas wish list

131224_huffEditor’s note: The following was adapted by Meg Huff, a member of the Rotary Club of Bloomfield, New York, USA, from a poem appearing in the Dear Abby advice column.

If you were to ask me, with the holidays drawing near,
“What would you like for Christmas; what should I get for you this year?”
If I say that I want nothing, you might get me something anyway,
So here’s a list of what I’d like, please believe me when I say: Continue reading

Rotary’s power transcends words

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 Leonor Fraser, a member of the Rotary Club of Soldotna, Alaska, USA

“Even the world’s mightiest rivers have humble beginnings.”

Earlier this year, I was part of a team of Rotary members from my district who visited a school in San Jeronimo, Masaya, Nicaragua, to play with the children and deliver shoes. But what we discovered very quickly is the children needed much more than shoes.

Their school is located near a diesel-fuel plant that emits pollutants into the air. Continue reading

Lessons I learned in teamwork

130912_enricoBy Enrico Giuseppe Ferro, past president of the Yale University Rotaract Club, New Haven, USA, winner of the 2013 “Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the USA, Canada and Caribbean Districts” 

In 2009, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange to Canandaigua, New York, USA, which taught me many things about teamwork.

I worked side by side with Rotarians and other exchange students to develop strategies to enhance our service efforts. We held themed-cuisine nights where we cooked and sold food native to our home countries to raise money for projects and shared ideas on how to promote each other’s good works. I realized how through Rotary I could work with people from many different perspectives to tackle urgent problems in our communities.

Continue reading

Microcredit program helps small businesses in Northern Illinois

Judy Zabielski (left)  and Laura Mueller, co-owners of Acacia Organics, in Barrington, Illinois, USA, benefitted from a microloan provided by the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club.

Judy Zabielski (left) and Laura Mueller, co-owners of Acacia Organics, in Barrington, Illinois, USA, benefitted from a microloan provided by the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club.

By Narayan Murarka, chair of the microcredit committee for the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club, Barrington, Illinois, USA

For several years, microcredit projects have been helping eliminate poverty by providing small loans to poor women in developing countries. But the need isn’t always overseas. Sometimes, it’s a lot closer to home.

My club launched a program in 2010 that focuses on small businesses in our area which are facing a short-term credit challenge. Continue reading

Leading the way for a clean, healthy world on Earth Day

Members of the Rotary Club of Duluth Superior Eco clean up debris along the St. Louis River.

Members of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club clean up debris along the St. Louis River.

By Mary Kay Bates, a member of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club, and Karen Anderson, club president

We will be spending Earth Day, 22 April, as we have the past several, with members of the Duluth Superior Eco Rotary Club cleaning up debris along our “adopted” river, the St. Louis, which separates Duluth, Minnesota, from Superior, Wisconsin. Continue reading

Stories of sustainability from Mt. Kilimanjaro

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

Children wash their hands from a spigot in Mwika, Tanzania. Photo courtesy of Walt Schafer

By Walt Schafer, a member of the Rotary Club of Chico, California, USA

After a 45 minute drive up a winding dirt road on the shoulder of Mt. Kilimanjaro, we arrived at a new waste-high trench and could smell the soil of the fresh dig.

About 75 young farmers had made remarkable progress digging the trench for a new four-inch water pipe in just two hours. The water pipe will transport clean water trickling down from a tiny stream higher up the slope to Mwika, Tanzania. Continue reading

Lessons in sustainability from the jungles of Ecuador

Children in Guayaquil, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

Children in Los Bancos, Ecuador, receive computer training in their new learning center.

By Rob Wood, past president of the Rotary Club of South San Francisco, San Francisco, USA

A few years ago, I learned valuable lessons in sustainability trying to help the people of Los Bancos, a community of about 100 villagers living in extreme poverty in the jungle near Guayaquil, Ecuador.

As president of my club in 2007, I was expected to come up with an international service project and had heard about a new club in Guayaquil looking for an international partner. When I asked them what the villagers needed, they answered “They need everything!” Continue reading

Invite a young person on a service project and change a life

The above video shows images from Danae Cooney’s service project trips to Fiji and to Cambodia with Habitat for Humanity.

By Danae Cooney, a Rotary scholar and former Interactor from Hamilton, New Zealand

Sometimes all it takes is one; one person willing to open a door, offer an opportunity and lead another.

In August 2011, I was 16 years old. I was given the opportunity to participate in a Rotary service project in Fiji. I traveled with a team of Rotarians, including my stepfather, to a small, remote village in Fiji called Saqani, where we refurbished a rotting, unusable preschool. Continue reading