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

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

Saving Little Hearts

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

RI Director Shekhar Mehta shares his Rotary moment during the International Assembly. Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

By RI Director Shekhar Mehta

More often than not, each of my days starts with meeting one or more children who need to get heart surgeries done.

Their mothers and fathers wait for nine months for their bundle of joy to arrive but soon after the child is born they realize that the child has got a hole in the heart. And this creates holes in their hearts and their pockets. Their yearly income is not more than US$600 and the expense for a heart surgery is $3,000. It would take them five years to spend all that they earned to try and save the child, but who knows if the child will survive or not. Continue reading

Polio surgery project extends service beyond borders

Nigerian Health Minister C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu takes part in a polio-corrective surgery during the medical mission.

Nigerian Health Minister C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu takes part in a polio-corrective surgery during the medical mission.

By Rajiv Pradhan, past governor of District 3132 and primary project contact for the medical mission to Nigeria

The medical mission to Nigeria was a life-changing experience for the Indian doctors who took part and for the children who underwent polio-corrective surgeries.

The orthopedic surgeons, all with experience in these types of surgeries, came from all corners of India. Many more surgeons and anesthesiologists wanted to join than we had room for on the team. Continue reading

My new life fighting malaria

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed mosquito nets.

A happy recipient of one of the specially designed bed nets.

By Steve Baker, a member of the Rotary Club of Key Biscayne, Florida, USA.

When my wife and I lived in Caracas, Venezuela, from 2001 to 2006, I spent many months traveling on the Rio Alto Ventuari in Amazonas State, staying in indigenous villages. The Ye’kuana people I met still lived traditional lives, the women tending their small slash and burn gardens, the men hunting and fishing. I saw firsthand how they were affected by western- introduced diseases their shamans could not deal with. In particular, malaria sickened and sometimes killed them. Continue reading

Medical mission delivers hope to Nigerian polio victims

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This gallery contains 8 photos.

A group of Rotarian physicians from India — most of them orthopedic surgeons — assisted by nonmedical volunteers, performed corrective surgeries on young polio patients ages 1 to 18 at two hospitals in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The project was partly … Continue reading

Fighting AIDS through the power of Rotarians

Marion Bunch

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

World AIDS Day 1 December holds special meaning to me. I lost my second born child, Jerry, to AIDS early in the American epidemic (1994). At that time, the disease was so stigmatizing, I felt quite lonely not being able to discuss Jerry’s illness with anyone outside my family. I never thought I’d do anything about it until one day, three years after his death, I felt a tap on the shoulder and a voice in my ear said “mom, get up and get going, you haven’t done anything, and it’s been three years.” Continue reading

Packaged grant helps train nurses in Uganda

Dr. Francis Tusubira with children at a health camp in Namalemba.

By Dr. Francis “Tusu” Tusubira, Rotary Foundation Chair for District 9200 and a member of the Rotary Club of Kampala-North, Uganda

Rotary to me is about going into the trenches with communities and working with them. I like my feet and hands community muddy.

So I had serious reservations at first about packaged grants. It sounded like The Rotary Foundation would do all the work and it would be handed to Rotarians as a done deal. Then I received an email from the Foundation that Aga Khan University had been identified as a potential strategic partner to train nurses within their university system in Eastern Africa. They were asking if District 9200 would be interested. Continue reading

Health clinics reach thousands in Lagos, Nigeria

A child receives a checkup during one of the health camps. Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate

By Suman Ramesh, president of the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palm Grove Estate, Lagos State, Nigeria

My club organizes six health camps a year. During these camps, patients line up beginning very early in the morning for free consultations. Young women bring their children, and receive iron supplements, vitamin tablets, anti-malaria medication, and sometimes de-worming medicines. We see them smiling as they return home after their health checks, carrying their supplements and medicines.

Quite a number of elderly patients also attend the camps, gaining access to blood pressure checks, random blood sugar checks, and general health advice they would not otherwise be able to afford. Continue reading

Helping save kids’ lives in northern Rwanda

Alexandra Vinograd treats a patient at the hill-top hospital in northern Rwanda. Photo courtesy of Alexandra Vinograd

By Dr. Alexandra Vinograd, a former Rotary Scholar and Youth Exchange Student

I just returned home from two years living and working as a physician in rural Rwanda.

Like the other times I have returned home from abroad, I welcome the familiarity of things. I love understanding the subtleties of language and knowing how to greet someone without seeming awkward. I like the hot showers and my spring mattress and the coffee shop on the corner.  Continue reading