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

The benefits of a Rotary Peace Fellowship

Rotary Peace Fellow Julia Smith in South Africa.

Rotary Peace Fellow Julia Smith in Nairobi, Kenya.

By Julia Smith, Rotary Peace Fellow 

In 2008-09, I was lucky enough to be awarded a Rotary Peace Fellowship to complete my master’s degree at the University of Bradford. Five years later, I continue to build on that remarkable learning experience.

The University of Bradford is famous for its conflict resolution expertise and I took full advantage of this by taking courses on African Approaches to Conflict Resolution and Applied Conflict Resolution. Continue reading

Seeking a world record for longest clothesline

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

The shirts strung out on cable between pontoon boats.

By Elsa Venter, past president of the Rotary Club of Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

More than 6,700 shirts fluttered in the breeze on the Vaal River, suspended from three-miles of cable that zigzagged back and forth between floating pontoons. It was an amazing sight, and one we hoped would earn a world record for longest clothesline stretched across a river. Continue reading

The power of Rotary on display in Africa

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

For three days in May, Rotarians from 365 clubs fanned out across Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa to help medical professionals and government workers provide free health services to 250,000 disadvantaged people.

Rotary Family Health Days, the third event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), was an incredible success! The program, initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, has always included other health care services. This year, we conducted polio and measles immunizations, dental and eye clinics, family counseling and screening for HIV, diabetes and hypertension, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Continue reading

Health days event invests in the future of children

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik and the film crew in South Africa.

Stéphanie Tobler Mucznik, senior media relations specialist for Europe and Africa in RI’s Zurich office, spent a week with a film crew in Johannesburg, South Africa, documenting the three-day family health day event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention.

“I believe God sent us the Rotarians”, says single mother Innocentia.

We are chatting in her family’s backyard, Innocentia is sitting on a wooden stool, and her baby is sleeping on her back, wrapped in a towel, while Grandmother Gloria is doing the laundry in a metal bucket. Continue reading

Providing free health care to thousands in Africa

Marion Bunch

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

For three days this month, 9-11 May, Rotarians from 225 clubs in Uganda, Nigeria, and South Africa will be helping provide free health care service to thousands of families. I am excited about the campaign, which will be the third annual event organized by Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention (RFHA), Rotary’s mobilizing and implementing partner in disease prevention.

The program was initially developed to address the critical issue of HIV/AIDS in Africa, but has always included other health care services. Continue reading

Searching for peace on International Women’s Day

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Francesca Del Mese

By Francesca Del Mese , a 2002-2004 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland

I recently travelled to Pretoria, South Africa on behalf of UN Women as part of the newly formed group of investigators for sexual and gender based crimes as war crimes. When I was in South Africa, I was struck by a comment I heard from a prominent South African Minister. She made parallels between apartheid and sexual and gender based crimes, saying that apartheid had been defeated and so could violence against women. When I heard the comparison, I instantly dismissed the idea; the two are completely non-comparable. Continue reading

Creating the Next Generation of Peacemakers

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Peace Fellows at the 2009 Rotary World Peace Symposium. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska

Rotary and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are working to create a more peaceful world.

Recently, The Desmond Tutu Foundation devoted a blog post to Rotary’s work in peace and conflict resolution, noting “The Rotary Foundation has been a pioneer in creating an effective curriculum of peace. Continue reading

My Rotary moment

Nick and Silvia Phillips

By Nick Phillips, Rotary Coordinator for Zone 20A South and a member of the Rotary Club of Eshowe, South Africa. 

RI President Sakuji Tanaka, in his August message, encourages Rotarians to share those special experiences that stand out as their “Rotary Moment.” Sharing these personal stories can go much farther, sometimes, than facts and figures in attracting prospective members. Continue reading

My meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Ramesh Ferris and Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Ramesh Ferris, left, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Photo courtesy of Ramesh Ferris

By Ramesh Ferris, polio survivor and member of the Rotary Club of Whitehorse-Rendezvous, Yukon, Canada

I had the honor recently of meeting with Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his home in Cape Town, South Africa, where I had a chance to talk to him about polio eradication.

The archbishop has been a wonderful supporter of Rotary’s efforts to rid the world of this paralyzing, horrific disease, as a participant in the “This Close” public awareness campaign. He was also a speaker at the World Peace Symposium in Birmingham during the 2009 RI Convention. Continue reading