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

Why a Rotary Youth Exchange 25 years ago still matters

Chrysula Winegar

Chrysula Winegar is community manager for the United Nations Foundation’s Million Moms Challenge and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student.

By Chrysula Winegar, a former Rotary Youth Exchange student to South Africa

When I was 17 years old, Rotary International gave me the opportunity to live in South Africa for 12 months.

My parents and brothers worked seven jobs to pay my way. That year changed everything about my life’s path and shaped my world view. It has impacted every major decision I’ve made since.

Many decades ago, Rotarians began creating these Rotary Youth Exchanges to foster global understanding and respect. A young girl or boy from an average family could spend a year in foreign lands, while in the safe arms of local families who created a framework for exploration.

I observed the last hurrahs of apartheid. We lived under a state of emergency with intense military presence including soldiers on our school buses carrying automatic weapons. Continue reading