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

Rotary coordinators come together to help feed hungry children

Video

Rotary Coordinators and Rotary Public Image Coordinators put service into action on 5 March during a training event at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, USA.

The coordinators formed teams to bag 16,000 packages containing rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables, and 21 vitamins and minerals for Kids Against Hunger, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to reduce the number of undernourished or starving children in the world. The Fox Valley chapter of Kids Against Hunger is sponsored by four Rotary clubs in Rock County, Wisconsin.

See photos from this project

Preparing for the future

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

Incoming Rotary leaders receive training in the new grant model in January.

By Rotary Foundation Trustee Ashok M. Mahajan

Buddha said “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” This, in my opinion, is a call for service.

But for Rotarians to undertake projects that change lives, seeing the future is important. We work for a future where people everywhere can live in peace and harmony, enjoy a decent standard of living, and know that their children are safe and have a bright future. Continue reading

Rotary on the world stage at World Economic Forum

John Hewko

John Hewko

By RI General Secretary John Hewko

I recently had the privilege of representing Rotary International at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Every year, the economic forum brings together in Davos several thousand of the world’s leading figures from the private sector, government, and academia. The forum also invites a select group of 40 non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Following the concerted efforts of senior Rotary leaders, Rotary has been fortunate to be chosen as one of those NGO invitees. Continue reading

Rotary opens doors, provides access to leaders

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during last year's International Fellowship Dinner and Dance.

Past RI President Frank Devlyn and his wife dance during the Fellowship Dinner and Dance at last year’s International Assembly.

By Past RI President Frank Devlyn

Like many Rotarians, I’ve often reflected on the moments that made me feel proud to be a Rotarian. Usually a highly successful project will come to mind, one that enabled us to help one or even thousands of people live better lives, all because of one special project. I’ve also experienced inspired moments while participating in Rotary projects.

However, I have something to confess: I joined Rotary to take advantage of the networking opportunities it offered me because I felt they would benefit my businesses. Continue reading

Service transforms lives

Paula Caldeiram

Paula Caldeiram

By Paula Caldeiram, a member of the Rotaract Club of St. Paul Espro, Sao Paulo, Brazil

This is my “Rotary Moment.” I became an Interactor in 2008, and after a year of activities found myself transitioning to Rotaract as a member of the St. Paul Espro club. One of our service projects is a campaign to help provide warm clothing for the homeless.

I was taking part in this project this August when something special touched my heart. Continue reading