Free toys brighten children’s lives

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

By Rotary Voices staff

A girl clutched the new purse she had just received during the annual toy giveaway in the community of Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Another child examined the coloring books and colored pencils with interest, while a crowd of other children and their parents surrounded a table in the market square, waiting their turn to select a free toy. Continue reading

A good day at Katkar Wadi

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India

Our Rotary club’s women’s welfare society recently went to a tribal settlement in Katkar Wadi, where we visited 60 households and a 35-student school for kindergarten through grade four, handing out notebooks, writing materials, clothing, and utensils. Many of the women in the settlement have never been to school, and it is a rare occasion when they even travel out of their community. Our youth wing conducted games for the children, also engaging our members in the fun.

We were also able to plant trees in the community and distribute snacks and treats. The team left with the determination to adopt the settlement and make a significant difference for years to come.

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

Making a difference in Uganda

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

Members of the vocational training team in Uganda.

By Lisa Miller, a member of the Rotary Club of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, USA

Sixteen mothers die in childbirth in Uganda every day. How can we make a difference?

Ryan Smith, then a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine, posed that question to his father several years ago. The question, and his father’s membership in Rotary, combined to bring together staff from two medical schools — Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, USA, and Makerere University School of Health Sciences in Kampala, Uganda, to exchange ideas, share technology, and discuss ways to reduce mortality and morbidity during and after childbirth and improve access to essential medical services.

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

A day at the orphanage

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo at the Red Cross Orphanage

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo at the Red Cross Orphanage. Photo courtesy of Yomi Lawson

Members of the Rotary Club of Onigbongbo, Lagos State, Nigeria, decided to celebrate 110 years of Rotary by donating supplies to a Red Cross orphanage that provides a home for 200 abandoned or vulnerable children. The club delivered 10 packs of diapers, 150 liters of diesel fuel, two cartons of infant formula, ten crates of eggs, two cartons of biscuits, five cartons of noodles, three cartons of fruit drink, and detergent. Members stayed to play with the children after dropping off the goods.

Providing access to healthcare in Africa

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Based in Johannesburg, Sue Paget is one of the driving forces behind the Rotary Family Health Days in South Africa. She has been married to Trevor for 34 years and has three children. This is the last in a series of blog posts leading up to International Women’s Day 8 March.

“Africa is a harsh reality – we see, hear, and live with suffering on a daily basis, most especially in our disadvantaged communities. And yet the people still shine through.

This is why being involved with Rotary Family Health Days has been so rewarding. It has been incredibly gratifying to know that collectively we have been able to help over 120,000 people in two years access free health services and screenings. Continue reading

One amazing day, made possible by Rotary

Teodora Lucero attends to the newborn at the evacuation center in Laguna.

Teodora Lucero attends to the newborn at the evacuation center in Laguna as the mother rests.

By Teodora Lucero, Rotary Club of Sta. Rosa Centro, Laguna, Philippines. This is the second in a series of blog posts about women making a difference in Rotary leading up to International Women’s Day 8 March.

When I was serving as president of the Rotary Club of Sta Rosa Centro, a big storm damaged and ravaged my community, sending a couple of thousand people to five school buildings which were turned into evacuation centers.The next day, members of several Rotary clubs including my own began distributing relief supplies. Suddenly, I heard a shout. “Help! My wife is about to give birth!”  Continue reading

Women in Rotary make it happen

Editor’s Note: In celebration of International Women’s Day, which is 8 March, we are running a week-long series of blog posts from women who are making a difference in their communities and around the world through Rotary.

Celia Cruz de Giay

Celia Cruz de Giay

By Celia Cruz de Giay, 2014-15 Rotary vice president

If anyone had told me that I would be writing a blog post today as vice president of Rotary International extolling the impact of women, I would have thought that person was dreaming. But when I think about it a little longer, I can see how the idea of service modeled for me since my childhood through my Rotarian father, and then through my Rotarian husband, Luis, led to this day, and I recognize that Rotary was always part of my life. That is why I am a Rotarian committed to serve. Continue reading

Ten years of changing lives in Honduras

A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light. Photo courtesy Neal Beard

A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light. Photo courtesy Neal Beard

By Neal Beard, past president of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA

Rotary members from District 6760 returned from Central America on 5 Feburary, after completing a 59-home electrification project in Chaguiton, Honduras. This was the tenth leg of a journey that began in 2006 for my club.

Over the course of the last ten years, the most exciting and rewarding moments of our lives took place not in the office, or on the shop floor, or while sitting in front of a computer screen, but in the remote mountain villages of southern Honduras.

Those moments have been filled with pure emotion. Like the time when a mother and her children looked on as we built a water storage tank and laundry table that would eliminate their Continue reading