Opening doors to clean water

A SunSpring installed at a hospital in Jacloban, the Philippines.

A SunSpring installed at a hospital in Tacloban, Philippines.

By Jon Kaufman, a member of the Rotary Club of Peninsula Sunrise, California, USA

I was excited to read about the recent agreement for pilot projects between the Peace Corps and Rotary in Thailand and the Philippines. Our Rotary club’s project was massively involved in these two countries in 2013, without any Rotary Foundation grant funds.

We started a project, H2OpenDoors, that – as the name suggests – works in two tracts. First, the project provides the best water purification technology for the poorest villages and schools. Continue reading

Running through Thailand to raise money for polio eradication

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

Neo LothongKum trains for his charity run.

By Neo LothongKum, a member of the Rotary E-Club of the Carolinas

On 17 February, I will be starting a 999 kilometer (620 mile) run from the very top of Thailand down to the east coast of Pattaya to raise funds for polio eradication and support water projects here in Thailand.

Since coming to Thailand, I have had a desire to help people. In Phuket, I worked with the local police department to assist visitors and local Thai residents work out agreements when there were issues of insurance. I moved to Bangkok just before the 2004 tsunami, but volunteered my translation skills in helping search for missing people. Continue reading

Club project tackles water crisis with technology, soul

Jon Kaufman, left, and team members hold up three fingers, signifying water, education, and peace, during the installation of a SunSpring.

Jon Kaufman, left, and team members hold up three fingers, signifying water, education, and peace, during the installation of a SunSpring.

By Jon Kaufman, a member of the Rotary Club of Peninsula Sunrise (Redwood City/Menlo Park), California, USA

When we launched our club’s project, H2OpenDoors, we said that the world’s water crisis can be solved with a little technology and a whole lot of soul.

With our first two installations completed at two hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand in February 2013, we are now preparing for the next in Myanmar. Continue reading

Together, we can go further for peace

Saad Karim, right, at the Rotary Peace Center at Chulalongkorn University

By Saad Karim, 2012 Rotary Peace Fellow, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

There is an African proverb that says “Alone we can run faster, but together we can go further,” also sometimes stated as “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together.”

When I began the Rotary Peace Centers program at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, I and my 21 classmates began the journey on separate paths, each with different, individual ideas about peace and conflict resolution. Continue reading

Youth exchanges build peace

Sadie and youth exchange friends

Sadie Rose, middle, with Thai Youth Exchange students at the 2012 RI Convention.

Sadie Rose Zavgren, a Rotary Youth Exchange student from the United States to Thailand, attended the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, 6-9 May. The following is an excerpt of the speech she delivered during the Youth Exchange Officers Preconvention Meeting. 

When I was 12 years old, a friend of mine went on a youth exchange to Germany. She came home talking about the enriching educational year she had just lived. I decided then that one day I, too, would be an exchange student.

I chose Thailand because the country seemed unique, and who wouldn’t want to be in a country known as the Land of a Thousand Smiles. Continue reading

What was your favorite convention moment?

K.R. Raja Govindasamy

K.R. Raja Govindasamy, a former Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar, shares his favorite convention moment.

By Ryan Hyland, RI Editorial staff, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

I caught up with a few Rotarians as they were getting ready to leave the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, and asked what their favorite moments were.

Glen MacGillivray, a member of the Rotary Club of Petawawa, Ontario, Canada, said:

“The House of Friendship has been amazing. I’ve met an awful lot of people with shared interests and different interests. People who could help us with what we’re trying to do and us help them with what they want to do. We’re a small club. It was nice to be a part of something bigger. And hearing Muhammad Yunus was a great thrill. It’s a big reason why we came.” Continue reading

Go where people can hear you

Use social media

Participants in a workshop at the 2012 RI Convention. Social media is a valuable tool for sharing Rotary’s story.

By Antoinette Tuscano, RI Editorial staff, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

As the staff person who does much of the social media for Rotary InternationaI, I listened with interest to Rotary leaders at the International Institute in Bangkok as they discussed the power of the Internet and social media in sharing Rotary’s story.

I understand why some people hesitate to use social media and why it can seem intimidating. Like many of you, I didn’t grow up with a smart phone in my hand twittering my every thought. I’m old enough to remember a time before cable TV and having to actually get up off the couch to change the channel. Continue reading

Rotaractors roll up their sleeves during convention


Rotaractors take part in a service project during the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Andrea Tirone, a member of the Rotaract Club of University of Toronto, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

It’s official. I have attended five Rotaract Preconvention Meetings around the world, the most recent of which took place on 4-5 May, in Bangkok, Thailand.

This experience has been unlike any of the others because I also had the opportunity to attend the four-day Asia Pacific Regional Rotaract Conference immediately before.  Continue reading

Sights and sounds from the House of Friendship

Elvis impersonator

An Elvis impersonator performs center stage in the House of Friendship.

By Ryan Hyland, RI Editorial staff, reporting from Bangkok, Thailand

The House of Friendship is the heartbeat of the RI Convention. Having covered four conventions, I can safely say this is where you feel the pulse of the event.  

Entertainment, food, arts and crafts, camaraderie, and service all combine in the House of Friendship, which each year is designed to capture the flavor of the host city while creating an environment that welcomes and embraces all cultures.

In Bangkok, the massive hall is lush with thousands of colorful flowers and ferns. Continue reading