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

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

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

Texas Rotarians light the way to a better future

By Steve Welch, president of the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin, Texas, USA

In the squatter’s village of San Mateo, Belize, my Rotary club is providing solar lights for more than 100 school children who previously attempted to study by candle light. We are working in partnership with the Grid Earth Project, which was founded by members of our club, a charity dedicated to providing solar powered lighting to replace other dangerous light sources used in remote areas of the world. Continue reading

Fighting AIDS through the power of Rotarians

Marion Bunch

By Marion Bunch, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (formerly RFFA)

World AIDS Day 1 December holds special meaning to me. I lost my second born child, Jerry, to AIDS early in the American epidemic (1994). At that time, the disease was so stigmatizing, I felt quite lonely not being able to discuss Jerry’s illness with anyone outside my family. I never thought I’d do anything about it until one day, three years after his death, I felt a tap on the shoulder and a voice in my ear said “mom, get up and get going, you haven’t done anything, and it’s been three years.” Continue reading

RI President: Receiving a goat in Kenya

RI President Sakuji Tanaka receives a goat as a gift during his visit in Kenya.

By Sakuji Tanaka, in English and Japanese

While I was in Africa recently, I traveled through eight countries and nine cities, meeting people and projects along the way. What I saw amazed me.

For example, I met Rotarians who had an impressive ability to identify the needs of orphaned children. They were using grants from The Rotary Foundation to help support a dairy farm in Kenya. Continue reading

Sunshine rally puts a smile on children’s faces in Kenya

Sunshine rally, Nairobi, Kenya

Children enjoy the Sunshine Rally held every year by Rotary clubs in Nairobi, Thika, and Machakos, Kenya.

By Beatrice N. Thairu, a member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi-East, Kenya

Buses full of eager students rolled into the Jamhuri showground in Nairobi, Kenya, 25 February.

Every year, Rotary clubs in Nairobi, Thika, and Machakos collaborate to put together a special rally for children with physical and mental disabilities. This year, a record 3,500 children took part in the event, hosted by the Rotary Club of Nairobi East and Nairobi Parklands.

It is a joy to see the excitement on the faces of the children, who, according to their teachers, hardly sleep the night before. The rally is a big event on their calendars. Continue reading

Real change and a Rotary challenge

Former Scholar and Youth Exchange student Hunter Tanous at a Rotary club in Zahle, Lebanon.

Former Ambassadorial Scholar and Youth Exchange student Hunter Tanous recently visited a Rotary club in Zahle, Lebanon.

By Hunter Tanous, alumni of the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and Youth Exchange programs

It’s 6:30 a.m. on a work week in Nairobi, Kenya. East Africa is facing possibly the worst drought in 60 years, and I work for the leading social enterprise [Backpack Farm] working with small farmers in the region. I put those together in the same sentence because they are sadly contradictory statements.
Why is it that East Africa, a largely agriculture-based society with the land and labor to feed nearly all of Africa, still falls into famine year after year after year? Even as I speak about the drought in East Africa, little ol’ Zimbabwe is quietly falling into starvation. Zimbabwe, a country that used to be the bread basket of the South, is now facing famine. Why is all this happening?
The list of reasons goes on and on — water, HIV/AIDS, corruption, politics, war. But another reason is a lack of long-term investment and commitment to small-scale growth.