Reading program bridges continents

Elementary school students in Durham, North Carolina, take part in a teleconference with students in India.

Elementary school students in Durham, North Carolina, take part in a video conference with students in India.

By Mark Lazenby, a member of the Rotary Club of Durham, North Carolina, USA

Sixth-grade students from Y.E. Smith Elementary School traded big smiles and stories about school work and home life with counterparts in India during a big-screen video conference at the headquarters of Duke Corporate Education in downtown Durham. Continue reading

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

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

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

Twenty years of fighting polio in India

Shri K. Sankarnarayanan, governor of Maharastra, India, administers the polio vaccine to a child being held by former Trustee Ashok Mahajan.

Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, governor of Maharashtra, India, administers the polio vaccine to a child being held by former Trustee Ashok Mahajan. Looking on is the governor’s wife (left) and Rajashree Birla, who has contributed more than US$7 million for polio eradication.

By former Foundation Trustee Ashok Mahajan

Since 1993, I have been deeply involved in the polio eradication program, Rotary’s top priority, both as a member of Rotary and in various leadership positions. I have many strong memories of the challenges, triumphs and setbacks we’ve faced along the way as we pursued ending this crippling disease in my country.

One thing I will always remember is the extensive efforts we made to build goodwill and acceptance of polio immunization in the Muslim community and among religious leaders. Continue reading

The chance to build a better world through Rotary

130906_celia_giayBy Celia Elena Cruz de Giay, RI director

In December 1995, my husband, Luis, and I visited Bombay (now Mumbai), India, during his year as president-elect of Rotary International. We were there to participate in a national polio immunization day and were very impressed by the social mobilization that went into it. It was the largest immunization day to that point.

When the day arrived, more than 10,000 volunteers were distributed throughout the country, easily identifiable in their yellow jackets and caps imprinted with the Rotary wheel. Continue reading

RI President Tanaka’s Rotary Moments in February, March, and April

RI President Sakuji Tanaka (second from left) takes part in a Holi festival 27 March, organized by Rotarians in District 3010 (Union Territory, India) during a visit to the district. Holi is a festival of colors celebrated by Hindus mainly in India and Nepal.

RI President Sakuji Tanaka (second from left) takes part in a Holi festival 27 March, organized by Rotarians in District 3010 (Union Territory, India) during a visit to the district. Holi is a festival of colors celebrated by Hindus mainly in India and Nepal.

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

While I was preparing for a Major Donor dinner in Tampa Bay, Florida, on my birthday, which is 4 February, I thought about the past year. As people often do on their birthdays, I was reflecting about how quickly time passes and about my purpose in life of being useful to others — especially during my year as RI president when I feel I must do my best for Rotarians. I was remembering all the places I’ve traveled as a Rotarian and the interesting people I’ve met along the way. Continue reading

Passing the torch for polio eradication

Rotarians in India join in passing one of the two polio eradication torches.

Rotarians in India join in passing one of the two torches for polio eradication.

By Nilanjan Dutta, past president of the Rotary Club of Ramgarh, Jharkhand, India

From July to December of last year, Rotarians in District 3250 (Bihar and Jharkhand, India) set two torches in motion, one to the northern clubs in our district and the other to the southern clubs, under the direction of our district governor, Rakesh Prasad. The polio eradication awareness torches were accompanied wherever they went by a week of celebrations and rallies raising awareness for polio eradication. Continue reading

Eye camps help schoolchildren in Mumbai

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

Students line up for eye screening during one of the health camps.Photo courtesy Rotaract Club of the Caduceus

By Pankaj Jethwani, president of the Rotaract Club of the Caduceus, Mumbai, India. The club’s project, Vision Six by Six, was selected as the 2013 Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards international winner.

In June of last year, I was interacting with a group of kids at a school health camp in Dharavi. There, among uninterested and bored kids, I met Payal. She was bright, talkative, and a lot of fun! But I was surprised with her teacher’s feedback: Payal hated studying.

A quick vision test revealed she had myopia in both eyes. Continue reading