Lighting up villages in Honduras

Tennessee Rotarian Charlie Brown with new friends at a school in Honduras.

Tennessee Rotarian Charlie Brewer with new friends at a school in Honduras.

By Jim Johnston, past governor of District 6760 and a member of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA

While RI President-elect Gary C.K. Huang has urged Rotary members to Light Up Rotary, the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg has been leading an effort to light up villages in Honduras in a more literal sense.

In February, our team of 14 volunteers traveled to the country to wire 70 homes Continue reading

Transforming lives in Ghana

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes Jr.

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes

By Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.

In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. Continue reading

Running through Thailand to raise money for polio eradication

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

By Neo LothongKum, a member of the Rotary E-Club of the Carolinas

On 17 February, I will be starting a 999 kilometer (620 mile) run from the very top of Thailand down to the east coast of Pattaya to raise funds for polio eradication and support water projects here in Thailand.

Since coming to Thailand, I have had a desire to help people. In Phuket, I worked with the local police department to assist visitors and local Thai residents work out agreements when there were issues of insurance. I moved to Bangkok just before the 2004 tsunami, but volunteered my translation skills in helping search for missing people. Continue reading

Bridging the gulf to protect our valuable water resources

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Agustinus, second from left, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

Emmanuel Umolu, with scarf, and his host counselor Tanny Augustinus, second from left, a member of the Rotary Club of Delft-Koningsveld, at a welcoming event for the second class of Rotary Scholars at UNESCO-IHE.

By Emmanuel Chinedu Umolu, Rotary Scholar from Nigeria

Three months have gone by since I began my master’s program in Hydraulic Engineering – Land and Water Development at UNESCO-IHE as a Rotary Scholar. The pace of learning has been quite intense. Indeed, most students realized within the first few weeks that the rector was right when he warned us during opening week that the suffix IHE does not mean  “International Holiday in Europe.” 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

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

Club project tackles water crisis with technology, soul

Jon Kaufman, left, and team members hold up three fingers, signifying water, education, and peace, during the installation of a SunSpring.

Jon Kaufman, left, and team members hold up three fingers, signifying water, education, and peace, during the installation of a SunSpring.

By Jon Kaufman, a member of the Rotary Club of Peninsula Sunrise (Redwood City/Menlo Park), California, USA

When we launched our club’s project, H2OpenDoors, we said that the world’s water crisis can be solved with a little technology and a whole lot of soul.

With our first two installations completed at two hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand in February 2013, we are now preparing for the next in Myanmar. Continue reading

Daily litter walk improves your health, and your community

Robin Roberts picks up trash during his daily litter walk.

Robin Roberts picks up trash during his daily litter walk.

By Robin Roberts, a member of the Rotary Club of Mobile West, Mobile, Alabama

Would you like an a easy way to change the world?  What if there was a project you could start today, in your own neighborhood regardless of where you live?  Implementing it requires no fundraising and no committee approval. You can take part starting today. It improves your mind, body and spirit and improves your environment too.

Here’s the idea: Every day take a daily litter walk. You will be happier, you will be leaner, and your community will be cleaner. Continue reading

Rotary at its best, raising up leaders to solve the world’s water problems

By Henk Jaap Kloosterman, a member of the Rotary Club of Voorburg-Vliet, The Netherlands, and district UNESCO-IHE coordinator

We made this video recently about the strategic partnership between Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education.

UNESCO-IHE is the only international water management graduate school in the world. Rotary is sponsoring up to eight students a year for any of three master of science programs at the institute in Delft, the Netherlands. Continue reading

Taking on Guinea worm in South Sudan

Walter Hughes Jr. watches a water pump in action in South Sudan.

Walter Hughes Jr. watches a water pump in action in South Sudan.

By Walter Hughes Jr., a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA. Hughes is one of 12 Rotarians being honored 5 April at the White House as a Champion of Change.

I am honored to be a White House Champion of Change. I’m accepting on behalf of Rotarians and friends from a team of more than 80 Rotary clubs in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Ghana, and South Sudan. We are celebrating the end of Guinea worm disease in Ghana in West Africa. It all started with a dream. I’m the lucky guy who gets to witness lives transformed around the world. Continue reading