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.

Wildfires can’t stop this Rotary cycling event

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By Geraldine Nicol, Governor of District 9350 (Angola, Namibia, and South Africa)

Despite raging wildfires on its outskirts, which at times came within yards of the city, the City of Cape Town, South Africa, proudly carried on with its planned cycle race earlier this year. The Cape Town Cycle Tour is organized and managed by Rotary clubs in District 9350 in partnership with local riding clubs of the Pedal Power Association. About 37,000 cyclists from around the world registered for what is the world’s largest timed cycle race in its 38th year.

The cycle race had been in major jeopardy, as the mountains of the beautiful Cape Peninsula had suffered from devastating fires in the 10 days preceding the race. Although the wildfires forced the race to be reduced from 103 kilometers to 47 kilometers, and the route to be altered to keep roads open for fire engines, everyone got into the spirit of the event. Continue reading

Building community and developing leaders at a unique changeover event

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants take part in an outdoor challenge course designed to teach leadership and problem-solving. Photo courtesy District 7780

Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants take part in an outdoor challenge course designed to teach leadership and problem-solving. Photo courtesy District 7780

By Sheila Rollins, governor of District 7780, parts of Maine and New Hampshire, USA

Changeover ceremonies, in which Rotary leaders transition to their new positions, are often formal events. I knew I wanted our district’s ceremony to be different. I wanted an event that would positively reflect the ideals of Rotary, that would be family-oriented and cost-conscious, and that would not take place in a hotel ballroom. I considered combining the district changeover with a service project, but I decided to create something even more unique: I planned the changeover to coincide with our annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA). Continue reading

New action group unites leaders to protect endangered species

Jane Goodall joins the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species’ “Say No!” campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES

Jane Goodall joins the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species’ “Say No!” campaign to promote animal conservation. Photo courtesy of RAGES

By Philip Merritt, vice chair of the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species and a member of the Rotary Club of Mabalacat Clark, Pampanga, Philippines

About three years ago, Rotary member John Glassford sent a message to the Rotarians on the Internet (ROTI) Fellowship’s discussion list asking if anyone had any ideas on how we could help stop the poaching of elephants. I responded: “Why don’t we start a Rotarian Action Group (RAG)?”, and from that point forward, it was a long journey to finally get the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species (RAGES) recognized by the RI Board in January. Continue reading

Happy New Rotary Year!

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

It’s another new Rotary year, and with it come more decisions, responsibilities, and — more important — some inspiration.

A new Rotary year is a great time to make a fresh start. So how do you get off to a good start? That’s a question many Rotary members ask themselves when 1 July rolls around. Some dive straight in and make a big SPLASH! Others ease into it a little more gently. Continue reading

Stories that are changing the world

140919_sirahBy Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA.

I recently had a chance to reconnect with my fellow Rotary Peace Fellows at a Rotary Peace Symposium in São Paulo. I was in the company of many talented friends and colleagues, including representatives from organizations like the World Bank and the United Nations, as well as global peace consultants and specialists in health, government, peace, security, and education. It was an incredible group of some 80 interdisciplinary peace advocates and Rotary members from all over the world. Continue reading

Rotary Day winning video

By Rotary Voices staff

From the time he took office, RI President Gary C.K. Huang invited Rotary clubs and districts to hold a special Rotary Day during 2014-15 to introduce community members to Rotary. He also encouraged them to submit short videos of these events for a chance to receive special recognition. Congratulations to District 2430 (Turkey), whose video — included here — was the winning entry. Twelve other videos were chosen as finalists.

See the other finalists

Perhaps a fifth test: Is it fun?

David Postic, left, and other members of the Rotaract and Interact Committee had fun posing for this photo in December at Rotary’s headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Rotary International/Alyce Henson

David Postic, left, and other members of the Rotaract and Interact Committee had fun posing for this photo in December at Rotary’s headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA. Rotary International/Alyce Henson

By David Postic, a member of the Rotaract and Interact Committee and a past president of the Rotaract Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA

We all know and love The Four-Way Test. In many ways, it’s an improvement on the age-old golden rule that you should treat others the way you wish to be treated. It’s a guide for living, a tool for decision making, a moral code. While Rotary has been served well by these four questions, they may not be enough in an era in which Rotary is trying to appeal to more people and have a broader impact.

There is another crucial question that we as Rotary members must always ask ourselves, and it is this: Is it fun? Continue reading

India eye surgeons share skills with peers in Ethiopia

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

By Suhas B. Naik-Satam, past president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West, Maharashtra, India

In March, during our silver jubilee year, my Rotary club sponsored a vocational training team of ophthalmologists to Ethiopia to improve the abilities and skills of eye surgeons at various medical centers there.

Under the direction of club president S.R. Balasubramanian and led by Dr. Haresh Asnani, a past president of our club, the team of three super specialists included a vitreoretinal surgeon, a pediatric ophthalmologist/squint specialist, and an oculoplastic surgeon/ocular oncologist. Our club partnered with Beyond Eye Care, an organization that manages the India Eye Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Continue reading