Finding meaning in life during a Rotary Youth Exchange

"Louis" Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

“Louis” Liu (right) is welcomed by members of the West Oak High School Interact Club.

By I-Ting “Louis” Liu

In 2013-14, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange from Taiwan to the United States. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a new perspective, think differently, and to gain a better understanding of myself. I made many new friends.

I grew up in a single parent home with my mother, who had lost most of her left arm earlier in life. She was beautiful and strong and took care of me herself. We had no income and survived on the money the government gave us each month. I brought home part of my school lunch to use as breakfast or dinner the next day. This gave me compassion for children who don’t have enough to live on. Continue reading

Funding the fight against polio

A child who has tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

A child who tested positive for polio in Pakistan.

By Jewat Sunder, Rotary Club of Khipro Sunders, Pakistan

I recently traveled to the Sanghar District of Pakistan to meet the parents of a child who had tested positive for polio. Rotary members were taking part in immunizing children against polio during a one-day drive.

Seeing the child reminded me all the more why we must eradicate this disease. The parents cooperated with me in distributing vaccination information, and I handed out End Polio Now caps, pencils, and balls. Continue reading

World’s Largest Human National Flag

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By Rotary Voices staff

Rotary members in Chennai, India, organized the creation of the world’s largest human national flag on 7 December on the grounds of the YMCA during a Rotary Day event. Rotary members joined 50,000 other people, and formed the blue wheel in the center of the human flag, while RI President Gary C.K. Huang, his wife, Corinna, and other Rotary leaders watched from a podium. After breaking the Guinness World Record, local Rotarians flipped over placards to show the Rotary logo and unfurled a large banner that read “Keep India Polio Free.”

Skip a cup of coffee, help educate a child in Nepal

Gail Barlow (third from right) visits with students during a recent trip to a school her Rotary club supports in Nepal.

Galia Barlow (third from right) visits a school in Nepal during a recent trip. Her Rotary club provides scholarships for 30 students to attend the school.

By Galia Barlow

My husband, Robert, and I decided to take one of those lifetime voyages through India and Nepal while we can still travel and learn.

Being a member of the Rotary Club of Branchburg, New Jersey, I was asked by the past governor of our district, Tulsi Maharjan, to visit the school in Nepal our club is supporting. We provide $500 scholarships for 30 students from poor, working families, which pays for books, tuition and other school supplies. Continue reading

Australian Rotary Youth Exchange student warms to Brazil

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

Courtney (left) meets the Rotary Youth Exchange safari in 2013. Photo courtesy of District 9800

By Courtney, a Rotary Youth Exchange student sponsored by Rotary District 9550 (Australia)

Thanks to my Rotary Youth Exchange in Brazil, I now have friends from all corners of the globe. I have made some of the best friends I’ve ever had here, and it has been an amazing experience.

A little more than two years ago, I was sitting along the highway in a small town in the Queensland Outback watching traffic go by, when two members of a Rotary Youth Exchange safari tour walked by and struck up a conversation. Little did I know that simple conversation, and later meeting the entire busload of teens on the safari, would eventually lead to my own Rotary Youth Exchange, with financial support from the Rotary District that covers Queensland and from members and clubs throughout southeast Australia. Continue reading

An update on fighting Ebola in Liberia

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

Volunteers organized by the African Dream Academy deliver containers of chlorinated water. Photo courtesy African Dream Academy

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

The rate of infection from Ebola in Liberia is slowly decreasing. It is a great joy to sit in my office, which is right next to the main road, and not hear every hour the sirens of pickup trucks transporting bodies to be cremated. It is a sound Liberians have come to know as the sound of sorrow.

Our campaign to prevent the spread of Ebola and save lives is now in its third phase. I am grateful to the board of the African Dream Academy, members of the Yonkers-East Yonkers Rotary Club, friends, and partners who Continue reading

Help Rotary make a positive difference on #GivingTuesday

Thank You #GivingTuesday from Rotary International on Vimeo.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people — children, families, and entire communities — benefit from projects funded by The Rotary Foundation. See how your generosity is making a positive difference in communities around the world. Then consider making a gift to The Rotary Foundation as part of #GivingTuesday.

#GivingTuesday was founded two years ago by 92ndStreet Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. The concept has been steadily growing since, with more than 10,000 charities and businesses taking part this year.

Volunteering isn’t supposed to be fun, is it?

Nisha Kotcha, right, with English television and radio personality Jonathon Ross.

Nisha Kotecha, right, with English television and radio personality Jonathan Ross.

By Nisha Kotecha, president of the Rotaract Club of Hampstead, Hendon and Golders Green, England

Earlier this month, I volunteered with some of my fellow Rotaract members at the Hampstead Christmas festival in the Hampstead area of London, England. We had no idea what we were going to be asked to do. It was cold, dark, rainy, and my feet were soaked within minutes of getting there.

We had organized an event for past members of our club a few days before, and I heard from some of them who had volunteered for the Live Continue reading

Climbing Mount Olympus to eradicate polio

The climbers raise a banner on Mount Olympus, Greece.

The climbers raise banners on Mount Olympus, Greece.

By Kostas Karvounis

In September, I joined two fellow Rotary members in Greece, Vassilis Papagiannis and Spyros Gravellas, in climbing Mount Olympus to raise money and awareness for polio eradication.

Almost three-decades ago, Rotary promised to eradicate polio, and we intend to keep our promise. Even though Greece has been polio-free for more than two decades, I still remember close family friends who were disabled by polio. I have four children, and I know that until polio is eradicated from the world, it remains a threat to children everywhere. So offering our children a polio-free world is the least we can do. Continue reading

No better place to be nurtured than the family of Rotary

Dedication of a new library in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Dedication of a new library in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

By Ahmed Yusuf Omer, immediate past president of the Rotaract Club of Habesha, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

There is an Ethiopian saying, “50 lemons are heavy for one man but are a treat for 50 men.”

Dissatisfied with the opportunities I saw around me to give back to my community and repay the debt I felt I owed for the blessings I had received, I joined the Rotaract Club of Habesha in Addis Ababa, Continue reading