Kathleen Plaza’s own This Close portrait
By Kathleen Plaza, Rotary Scholar
I was born and raised in a rural barrio (neighborhood) in Mindanao, Philippines. I moved to Guam when I was about 18 years old. I became a member of the Rotaract Club of the Marianas in Guam when I was completing my undergrad degree in biology, and served as secretary in 2011-12 and as youth services director in 2012-13.
I moved to Hawaii in August 2015, and with a Rotary Scholarship funded by a global grant, began taking classes in public health, focused on disease prevention and treatment. I will finish my program in May 2017. Continue reading
Members of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, Nepal.
By Hari Chandra Satyal
I am a civil engineer by profession and have been a member of the Rotaract Club of Phulbari, in central Nepal, since 2008. I consider myself a youth volunteer and young entrepreneur.
After completing high school in my remote village, I had a big question in front of me: How do I find interest and satisfaction in life beyond my studies? Each day, I had virtually the same schedule and contact with a limited pool of friends. I was not happy with the routine and wanted to expand my horizons. Continue reading
A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.
By Hai-Ryung Sung
Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation should be a right for all people. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people still suffer and die from waterborne diseases they contract because of an inadequate supply of water, lack of sanitation, or poor hygiene. In many developing countries, women and children are forced to carry heavy bottles of water for many miles.
As a Rotary Scholar, I had the pleasure of taking part in the GlobalRun4Water recently in North Carolina, USA, raising awareness and money for water- and sanitation-related projects. My scholarship was funded by a global grant sponsored by Districts 3640 (Korea) and 7710 (North Carolina), my host district, which also organized the run. Scott Rossi, a member of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club, came up with the idea for the event, and has earned the affectionate nickname, the “Water Guy of District 7710.” Continue reading
Ally Vincent, center, with her Scottish hosts.
By Ally Vincent
Although I am just 23, I already have nine years’ experience with Rotary. I joined the Interact Club at Crystal River High School in Florida when I was 14. When I began pursuing an undergraduate degree at Saint Leo University, I felt a bit lost, and I missed the connection I had to Rotary. So I became involved in chartering a Rotaract Club on campus, eventually becoming club president in 2013-14. I saw Rotary’s good work both on a local and international scale through projects we worked on with the Rotary Club of Belize Sunrise, in Belize, and the Rotaract Club of Islamabad Green City, in Punjab, Pakistan. Continue reading
Cynthia Salim models her brand of socially responsible professional wear for women in New York City. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International
By Cynthia Salim
At the age of 21, I was a fervent student activist at Loyola Marymount University, walking picket lines to advocate for a living wage in Los Angeles, California, USA. I never would have imagined that at 28 I’d be starting a fashion label in New York City and doing social change work through a lifestyle brand. That’s the power of the Rotary experience — it widens perspectives and inspires change from every industry. Continue reading
Katherine Ward (middle) and her daughter (behind, left) in Turkey.
By Katherine Ward
Thirty years ago, at the age of 18, I started a grand adventure and boarded a plane on my own toward Istanbul, Turkey. I was headed off on a yearlong Rotary Youth Exchange.
Before I left, I attended several camps that prepared us for culture shock and gave us a general sense of some of the changes we could expect. My high school wouldn’t accept any credits from Turkey, so I had accelerated my course schedule, completing all but one required course to graduate.
I spoke absolutely no Turkish but, despite my struggles with language learning at the Continue reading
Students in Pakistan’s Neelum Valley display the backpacks they received from members of the Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar.
By Talha Mushtaq
Many nonprofits are working hard to increase social welfare programs. Being unified in their approach, some may focus on one issue, such as improving the literacy rate, while others concentrate on employment. Our Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar has made a name for itself in our community by being multifaceted.
One of over 8,000 Rotaract clubs around the world supported by Rotary, we are committed to not only supporting education but to other efforts, including the fight to
eradicate polio. These efforts have Continue reading
Participants in last year’s International Day of Peace celebration form a peace circle.
By Wendy Coulson Catalán
Upon landing in Mexico in late April, I hit the ground running. I was asked to share my amazing experience as a recent graduate of the Rotary Peace Center in Bangkok at a peace conference organized by our local Rotary club and Camino de la Paz. Soon after, I was invited to participate on the organizing committee for International Peace Day.
There is a huge imperative in the world, and in our little community in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende, to create peace among our citizens on both sides of a huge social and economic divide. Two years ago, a concerned group of community members came together to promote peace by acting as an umbrella group for all the peace initiatives in town. The group, which includes several Rotary members, calls itself Camino de la Paz — The Way, or Path, of Peace. Continue reading
Heidi Resetarits at a 5K walk/run that raised money for PolioPlus.
By Heidi Resetarits
Little moments of connectivity in life — who you talk to, who you share with — can completely change your trajectory. A few years ago at a holiday work party, I met my friend and future mentor, Ann Tull. The party was dull, but our conversation sparked a little light in me that transformed my life.
Ann introduced me to Rotary, and eventually encouraged me to apply for an Ambassadorial Scholarship. I realized that working toward higher education and a future that revolved around Service Above Self was what I was looking for. A year later and I was on my way to the United Nations University for Peace in Ciudad Colon, Costa Rica, as an Ambassadorial Scholar from Rotary District 5450. Continue reading
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