Why you should bring your family to the Sydney Convention

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park

By Mark Maloney, chair of the Sydney Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA

Bring your children and grandchildren with you when you come to Sydney for the 2014 Rotary International Convention, 1-4 June. Children are absolutely welcome at convention activities, and attending a convention can be both an enlightening and exciting experience for them.

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Visiting orphans in Nairobi

Cleaning utensils after feeding the children.

Cleaning utensils after feeding the children.

By Thaddeus Bah Masika, president of the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Parklands, Kenya

In November, we visited children at Mother Teresa’s Home of Mercy, run by the Missionaries of Charity. For just a one day visit, it had a profound effect on our club and members, some of whom were moved to tears.

After meeting at 8 a.m. we traveled by public transportation to Huruma, a slum on the northeast edge of Nairobi, and walked the few meters to the home. We had three main goals in mind: clean the place, feed the children, and play with the children.

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Vanakkam from southern India

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

Thomas Smith in the Bay of Bengal with Pondicherry, India, in the background.

By Thomas Smith, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs, California

People everywhere. Horns blowing. Never-ending rushhour. Color. Activity. Passion. These were a few of my first impressions of India.

I feel very fortunate to have been selected recently to take part in a vocational training team from California, USA, to southern India, supporting education and literacy initiatives. Our district is committed to helping India achieve its goal of becoming 100 percent literate by 2018. Continue reading

Embracing the true potential of Rotary

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A well donated by the Rotary Club of Buffalo Sunrise and partnering clubs to benefit Kitenga in Tanzania.

By Mara B. Huber, PhD, past president of the Rotary Club of Buffalo-Sunrise, New York, USA

I am not a joiner. On the contrary, I have gone to great lengths to avoid all groups with official names and rules. I have zero interest in badges or titles or joining committees. And the words “fellowship” and “oath” evoke a reflexive need to escape and hide.

And yet I am a Rotarian, and amazingly, a very enthusiastic and proud one. What draws me to Rotary? Continue reading

Reducing violence in St. Thomas

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

Erinma Bell during a panel discussion at the 2013 Rotary International Convention in Lisbon, Portugal.

By Erinma Bell, a graduate of Rotary’s Peace Center program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand

Revenge and retaliation killings amount to 60 percent of street violence/homicides in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

By any standard, historic or comparative, the Virgin Islands experiences extremely high levels of violence. Reducing violence was cited as the territory’s number one priority in a recent survey of citizens. Violent crime, and the fear of it, has changed the way people live.

I was asked by the Rotary clubs of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Thomas Sunrise to come Continue reading

Explore Sydney, New South Wales with free transit pass

Getting around Sydney will be a breeze with a free transit pass

Getting around Sydney will be a breeze with a free transit pass.

By Mark Maloney, chair of the Sydney Convention Committee and a member of the Rotary Club of Decatur, Alabama, USA 

One of the unique benefits for the Sydney Convention is the free transit pass offered to each convention registrant by the New South Wales Government. This pass will permit convention attendees to travel throughout most of the State of New South Wales without cost.

The pass will be honored on trains, buses, and government-operated ferries and will permit travel from Thursday, 29 Continue reading

Rotaract, Rotary go hand in hand

President Ron Burton joins participants in forming the largest human image of a hand in India.

President Ron Burton joins participants in forming the largest human image of a hand in India.

By Ramkumar Raju A., Rotaract Club of Madras Central, Tamil Nadu, India

Last April, I was asked by  RI Director P.T. Prabhakar to form a team and help gather 10,000 Rotaractors for a Presidential New Generations Conference to be held in Chennai, India, for then President-elect Ron Burton. We have more than 25,000 Rotaract members in our district but I was overwhelmed by the request. Continue reading

Rotary scholarship is helping me realize my dream

Rotary Scholar Badruz Zaman with his bicycle in Delft, Netherlands.

Rotary Scholar Badruz Zaman with his bicycle in Delft, Netherlands.

By Badruz Zaman, Rotary Scholar from Indonesia

When I was selected to receive a scholarship to do a master’s study at UNESCO-IHE in The Netherlands, a brand new chapter in my life began.

Since October, I have been studying hydroinformatics, water science, and engineering at the Delft campus. Starting a new phase of one’s life is not always easy, and so it has been with me. When I arrived at the airport in the Netherlands, it was so cold I could feel it in my bones. Cooking for myself has been an experience, and of course many things have tasted terrible since I have never cooked before. Continue reading

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

Two little drops – my best day in Rotary

Karen Teichman administers the polio vaccine to a child in Uttar Pradesh, India.

Karen Teichman administers the polio vaccine to a child in Uttar Pradesh, India.

By Karen Teichman, a past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Lewisburg Sunset, Pennsylvania, USA

One of my teammates on a National Immunization Day trip to Uttar Pradesh, India, snapped this picture while I wasn’t looking. Giving these drops was like a religious moment for me – I was holding back tears thinking about the child’s life I was helping save.  Continue reading