Trying a different type of district conference

1411_wodonBy Quentin Wodon, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill

For the past four years, I have conducted evaluations of the district conference we hold in District 7620 using surveys administered through the web. This year our conference was different, and some of the things we learned I thought could be valuable to share with Rotary members everywhere.

This year our conference was shorter and cheaper to attend. On the first day, attendees had several opportunities to participate in community service projects with local NGOs. We achieved substantially higher attendance (425 registrations) than previous conferences. Continue reading

Skin donation in short supply in India

Club members get ready for the walkathon in Sanjay Gandhi National Park.

Club members get ready for a walkathon in Sanjay Gandhi National Park to raise awareness for the need for skin donations.

By Rajesh Kumar Modi, Rotary Club of Mumbai Borivali East, Maharashtra, India

In Mumbai, our deputy fire chief recently died after suffering major burns rescuing people from a residential building fire. Two other officers also died in the fire. The media covered the tragedy, and how a shortage of natural skin in our skin banks complicates the efforts to save brave individuals like these.   Continue reading

Medical camp delivers the gift of sight

A member of the medical team inspect a patient for cataracts.

A member of the medical team inspect a patient for cataracts.

By Himal Pandya, past president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India

Every year, our club has arranged multiple medical camps in and around the town of Uttarkashi. We began the effort two years ago when heavy flooding struck the state of Uttarakhand, and our charter president risked landslides and other perils to help deliver 1,200 cooking stoves and other supplies to flood victims. We struck up a close association with Rotary members in Uttarkashi about 1,000 miles from our city.

It is a great and most satisfactory experience performing humanitarian service miles from home. This year, seven committed medical Continue reading

A beautiful partnership of service through Rotary

Students use the sound proof therapy room at the school for the deaf and mute.

Students use the sound proof therapy room at the Kamalini school for children with hearing and speech impairments.

Prafull Karnik, past president of the Rotary Club of Thane East, Maharashtra, India

Our unique partnership with the Rotary Club of Mission Viejo in California, USA, began more than a decade ago when I was president and I was looking for a centennial project for our club. With other members of the club, I visited Nakhwa School in Thane, established in 1964 to provide education for children from low-income families, and was convinced this would be a great opportunity for us to serve. Continue reading

Rotary exchange inspires children’s books about animals

Rachel Shaw with Rotary members at the launch of her book in Manila.

Rachel Shaw (middle, first row) with Rotary members at a book launch in Manila.

By Rachel Shaw, honorary member of the Rotary Club of West Bay, Laguna, Philippines.

Six years ago, I visited the Philippines as part of a Group Study Exchange team from Rotary District 1270 (Lincolnshire, England).The opportunity to visit one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots as a professional wildlife conservationist became for me the start of a new writing and illustrating adventure.

Glimpsing just a little of the amazing diversity of animals sparked my imagination. Continue reading

Rotary club meets on a train

Members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen meet on the passenger train between Pune and Mumbai.

Members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen meet on the passenger train between Pune and Mumbai.

By Deepak Shikarpur, past district governor

On the Deccan Queen Express, an Indian passenger train that connects Mumbai with Pune, members of the Rotary Club of Pune Deccan Queen conduct their weekly meeting. It may very well be the only Rotary club in the world that meets on a train.

The Deccan Queen is one of the most popular trains in the sector and a daily means of transportation for thousands commuting between the two cities. The idea was first proposed in 2012, but since the route crosses through two Rotary districts, it took a while to reach agreement the club would be considered to meet in District 3131 (which includes Pune).

Every Thursday, members get together in a special car for pass holders. There are 25 members at the moment, and prominent citizens traveling on the train are invited as speakers. We have conducted community service projects including health checkup camps for train porters and railway staff, and made infrastructure improvements to the station in Pune. We are planning to begin monthly fellowship meetings in the city so members can bring their family and they, too, can experience the joy of Rotary.

Find a Rotary club near you

Pakistan picnic benefits blind children

Children gather in the park for a Rotary-sponsored picnic in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Children gather in the park for a Rotary-sponsored picnic in Islamabad, Pakistan.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, president of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

My club recently arranged a picnic for children who have visual impairments or learning delays at the Lake View Park in Islamabad. We were able to partner with True Site, an organization dedicated to the welfare of blind children, through our Rotary member Shehzad Javed, who is secretary general of the organization.

The children enjoyed rides in the park, a visit to a bird aviary, and a healthy lunch provided by the Rotary club. It was a great picnic, enjoyed by the children to the fullest. What better example to the community of the power of Rotary!

Tips for smarter fundraising

150209_burrellBy Evan Burrell, a member of the Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia, and a regular contributor to this blog

I’m not a huge donor with the capability of making or breaking your club’s fundraising campaign. At least not yet. And I am fully aware Rotary isn’t just a fundraising organization. But we do need funds to carry on our service projects and do good in the world.

So here are a few of my ideas for how to put fun back in your fundraiser, and increase your reach and effectiveness. 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

Experiencing more flavors of Rotary

150505_huddlestonBy Mark Huddleston, a member of the Rotary Club of Edwardstown, South Australia, Australia, and District 9520 Membership Chair

My son can be a particularly picky eater. One of his favorite meals is ham and pineapple pizza. We occasionally make pizza at home, and I wouldn’t ever bother putting anything on his pizza but ham and pineapple, because he would just pick it off. If we order a pizza when we’re out, that’s exactly what he does.

So, what’s this got to do with Rotary? Many members approach Rotary like my son approaches his pizza. Continue reading