Operation Life Jacket saves lives

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

By Sergio Santi, International Commodore of the Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians

In September of 2012, we heard from Bill Kosar, a new member of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians from Kenya, that fishermen or ferry passengers were drowning in local waters every week because of a lack of life jackets. We knew we had to do something to help. Continue reading

Rotaract members in East Africa unite in service

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By Sarah Maingi, Rotaract representative from Kenya

On a warm Saturday morning in April, about 100 Rotaractors from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi gathered at a community in Buterere in Bujumbura, Burundi, to provide households with clean drinking water.

Some of the Rotaractors, myself included, had traveled over 1,000 kilometers by road, and all sacrificed their Easter holidays to serve. Continue reading

Rotaractors deliver free health care in Uganda

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

By Chelsea Ducharme, Rotaract Club of Kasese, Uganda

On 22 February, we packed up our trucks with supplies and traveled 45 minutes to Kyempara, a parish in Kasese District, southwestern Uganda, near the Congolese border.

Kyempara has only one government health center, with one head nurse serving a population of more than 6,000 people. With limited resources, the center is unable to keep up with all the community’s health needs. Our small but mighty Rotaract Club heard their call for help and took action to support our neighbors. Continue reading

Rotary heroes in Nelson Mandela Bay

Samuel is able to hold a coffee mug thanks to a prosthetic hand he received from Rotary members. Photo by Tamika Doubell

Samuel shows off the prosthetic hand he received from Rotary members. Photo by Tamika Doubell

By Tamika Doubell, model, actress, and an ambassador for Brooklyn Fashion Week

Thanks to my family’s involvement with Rotary, I’m never short of a community project to get involved with. My mother is the assistant governor for District 9370 (South Africa) and I’m proud to be associated with Rotary through projects of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay.

Recently Rotary initiated three days of free healthcare to communities across South Africa through the Rotary Family Health Days, sponsored by Rotarians For Family Health and Aids Prevention. I covered social media, public relations, and marketing for the event in the Eastern Province. I shot several photos that I submitted to Rotary’s photo contest on Instagram. One in particular spoke to my heart — a photo of a man named Samuel from New Brighton township here in Nelson Mandela Bay. Continue reading

One moment, two drops of vaccine, change a life

Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team

Ken Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Burlington, Kansas, USA, during the immunization trip. Photo courtesy 2012 NID Team

By Al Bonney, 2014-15 Governor of District 6290 (part of Ontario, Canada; part of Michigan, USA), and a member of the Rotary Club of Traverse City, Michigan

The sun was just peaking pink and yellow over the roof tops of the soon-to-be-busy street when our team of 15 Rotary members sleepily descended from the bus on the first day of the three-day National Immunization Day trip. Continue reading

Training doctors in the Congo

Observation rou8nds at the Adolf Sice Hospital in The Congo.

Observation rounds at the Adolf Sice Hospital, Pointe Noire, Congo.

By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India

In December, I was asked by Rotary and Mercy Ships to lead a team of four doctors to the Republic of Congo to train doctors and staff on disease prevention methods at The Adolf Sice and Tie Tie Base hospitals.

Just a few days before the trip, two doctors on our team had to drop out for personal and unavoidable circumstances. I called my friend  Sanghamitra,  who is based in Albany, New York, and to my surprise and relief, found her as eager as I to pursue this mission. Thanks are due to our assistant governor, Girish Mittal, for his support in making this last minute switch possible. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Transforming lives in Ghana

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes Jr.

Women weave baskets at a center in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Photo courtesy of Walter Hughes

By Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA

What is it like taking a large team to Africa?  It has probably been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.

In mid February, I began leading Rotary members from all over the East Coast of the United States through Ghana. I’ve tried to give the team a warm Ghanaian welcome like I’ve received on my earlier trips. Continue reading

Rotary Miles at work fighting polio in Chad

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By Ann Lee Hussey, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Portland Sunrise, Maine, USA “Are you willing to lead a National Immunization Day team to Chad?” the email read. My immediate response was YES! Having worked in … Continue reading

Eager for the polio vaccine in Ethiopia

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

A mother seeks the polio vaccine for her child during immunization activities in southern Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of John Adams

By John Adams, a member of the Rotary Club of Somerset-Pulaski County, Kentucky, USA

At first, I thought the pull on my volunteer’s vest was one of the 50 or so village children who were following us, touching me to see if I was indeed real, because I was so different from them. But this was more than a child’s curious touch; it was a pull that caused me to lose my balance.

I turned in the direction of the pull to find it was not a playful child; but a determined mother, holding an infant. I will never forget her expression. I had no idea what she said in her dialect of Amharic or the local tribal language, but I knew exactly what she wanted. Continue reading