Traveling around the world experiencing Rotary

By Brian Rocha, a member of the Rotary Club of Goleta, California, and District 5240 Public Relations Chair

I’ve done a bit of traveling in my life. But recently, I got an urge to turn my travel experience into something much more rewarding. I wanted to travel not just to travel, but to make an impact and make a difference in the world.

I pitched the idea to my Rotary club and Rotary International, and they were in full support. Support in terms of moral support. I financed the trip myself. So last year, I began an eight month journey visiting several different countries around the world, capturing pictures and video throughout the experience. Continue reading

Protecting the rights of indigenous peoples

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland.

Athili Sapriina during the annual Rotary Peace Fellow seminar at the University of Queensland, Australia.

By Athili Sapriina, 2013-2014 Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia

I first became aware of Rotary Peace Fellowships during a trip to the Rotary Peace Center at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, US, in 2008. I had previously attended the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City and over the years witnessed an increased involvement of Rotary with indigenous peoples issues. I am honored to be the first Naga to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship.

The three million Nagas are indigenous peoples of the mountainous frontier between India and Burma. Since the end of British colonialism, Nagas have fiercely defended their independence resulting in the death of thousands — Indians, Burmese and Nagas

Continue reading

Providing women the Right to Go in rural India

A woman stands in front of her toilet block in Sogav, India.

A woman stands in front of her toilet block in Sogav, India.

By Atul Bhide, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Thane Hills, India

Less than 80 kilometers (49.6 miles) from the urban centers of Mumbai and Thane, India, lies the village of Sogav in Shahapur Taluka. Here, like in many villages in India, women and girls face the daily indignity of having to walk miles in the early hours to find a safe and discreet place to relieve themselves.

A simple bodily need that many of us take for granted exposes these women and children to hygiene and safety risks every day. It is a difficult situation under normal circumstances, but when these women experience any kind of sickness or health concern, their experience becomes appalling. Continue reading

The earth is a nice place to live because of Rotarians

Bharath Reddy during his Group Study Exchange.

Bharath Reddy during his Group Study Exchange in 2006-07.

By Bharath Reddy, a past district governor and member of the Rotary Club of Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

In 2006-07, I took part in a Group Study Exchange to Missouri in the United States, where I learned and trained with other professionals in my field.

During the exchange, I sharpened my leadership skills and made lifetime friends. It also helped me to build a bridge of friendship between Rotary members in India and the Midwest region of the United States, which has resulted in doing more community service projects and making everyone say, “The earth is a nice place to live because of Rotarians.” Continue reading

From poetry to polio eradication

The Rotary Club of Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India raised $7,500 for polio eradication through album sales of Gujarati Gazals.

The Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India raised $7,500 for polio eradication through album sales of Gujarati Gazals.

By Chirag Trivedi, president of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India

Since 1985, Rotary has been at the forefront of the effort to eradicate polio from the world. Here is a unique way a member of my club has been supporting this monumental effort with his own individual talent.

Himal Pandya has been a valuable member of our club since its chartering, having served as an assistant governor, past president, Continue reading

Safe drinking water for every child

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

Rotary members tour one of the schools that received water coolers and purification systems.

By Nosherwan Khalil Khan, a member of the Rotary Club of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan

Earlier this month, Rotary members from Pakistan and India joined together to provide clean drinking water to two government-run schools in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Continue reading

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