Firefighters from Argentina and Florida, USA, share techniques during an exchange sponsored by Rotarians in both countries.
By Celia Giay, past RI vice president and a member of the Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The idea for our firefighter exchange was born when my club received a visit from local volunteer firefighters. Club members listened attentively as our guests explained their dream of continuing to learn better ways to protect their community, and on that very night we set a goal to organize an international exchange to make that possible. Continue reading
Marie Tornquist and her Brazilian classmates during her Rotary Youth Exchange
By Marie Tornquist, former Rotary Youth Exchange student from Minnesota, USA, to Brazil
On the first day of my Rotary Youth Exchange orientation in a Minneapolis suburb, I remember being confused about the nationality of my country officer. She kept referring to herself as Brazilian, saying things like, “In Brazil we eat a lot of rice and beans,” and, “We (Brazilians) are very open people.” She also referred to her Brazilian host families as “my brother, Eduardo,” “my nieces and nephews,” etc. I wondered if she had somehow been placed with a host family that was a distant relative. After a while I realized that ever since her exchange, she has continued to identify with the Brazilian culture while at the same time living in the U.S. and maintaining her identity as an American. Continue reading
Salman Ali Rajput
By Salman Ali Rajput, past president of the Rotaract Club of Nawabshah Central, Pakistan, and District 3271 secretary
I have always been involved in extracurricular activities practically since I was old enough to walk. But it wasn’t until I joined Rotaract in 2015 that I discovered the many ways a young person can learn and grow while serving the local community. My life has been transformed by Rotaract. Before I joined, I felt like a common man. Today, I have been groomed into a proud global citizen. Here are five ways Rotaract can change your life. Continue reading
A scene from the Rotaract Club of Darmo Raya’s ludruk, a type of theater native to Surabaya.
By Alma Dhiafira, president of the Rotaract Club of Darmo Raya, Surabaya, Indonesia
During my year as president of my Rotaract club, we decided to put on a ludruk. It is a type of theater from East Java that includes music, jokes, and drama performed in the Surabaya dialect.
We’ve done a ludruk once before, working with our partner Rotary Club of Surabaja-Darmo. But I was particularly excited this time because we would be spreading the message that literacy is fun. Continue reading
A Navajo family enjoys their newly installed solar light.
By A.J. Holzer
As I landed in the Durango airport, cramped into a small airplane, my entire Rotary career flashed before my eyes. I had joined Interact at the beginning of high school as a way to help my community and connect with others. And for most of my high school years, I was able to do just that, growing as a leader and learning from my peers. The experience was uniquely personal – all I knew of Rotary was my club and the work we did in the community. But in the summer of my sophomore year, my knowledge of Rotary was about to explode to an entirely new level. Continue reading
Laurie Smolenski, right, joins Rotary members, Rotary staff, and Rotary partners in planning the 2019 Positive Peace Workshop in Mexico.
By Laurie Smolenski
When I learned about the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), a think tank dedicated to using empirical research to better understand the drivers of peace, as a Rotary Peace Fellow in 2016, I was fascinated. The idea that peace – which often lives in a lofty realm of aspiration and emotions – could be articulated in concrete metrics, underpinned by data, and visualized through heat maps and charts was new and profoundly impactful to me. Continue reading
By Dinesh Gajeelee, Rotary Club of Haute Rive, Mauritius
One of the ongoing challenges in Rotary is maintaining a healthy level of membership. My club of Haute Rive is no exception. We started the club in 2014 with 20 members, and despite the fact that we have gained new members since then, we’ve also lost a few. So much so that membership fell to just 18 as of 1 July 2017. Fortunately, our leadership team was proactive and began forming a plan to address the situation. Continue reading
The Dutch Rotarians took 11 cars to The Gambia, which were auctioned off to support women’s education.
By Tineke Ruijter, Rotary Club of Zwijndrecht, The Netherlands
Our adventure started on 21 October 2017. Rally teams of six Dutch Rotary clubs, accompanied by five independent supporting teams, departed from Zwijndrecht in the Netherlands for a challenging 7,500 km (4,600 mile) journey to The Gambia, where we arrived on 11 November. The trip passed through Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal, through dessert areas and sometimes accompanied by local guides for security reasons.
The 11 cars that took us to The Gambia were sponsored and auctioned at final destination. The result: $50,000 to be donated to a Dutch Rotary initiative called “School Plan Gambia,” which enables young women to attend school up to and including university. Continue reading
Joyce Lau’s Rotary experience helped her land a position with a major financial firm in Hong Kong. Four Rotarians serve on the board of directors.
By Joyce Lau, past president of the Rotary Club of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong
On my first day at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, a college senior invited me to the Rotaract Club of Chung Chi College. This small step introduced me to the wonderful world of Rotaract, where I strengthened my leadership and organizational skills while taking part in some amazing activities, including bringing smiles to the faces of people with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, hosting a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards training camp, and helping charter a new community-based Rotaract club.
Having benefited so much from Rotaract, it was natural for me to join Rotary when I had the chance. But never would I have thought that Rotary would take my career to the next level. Continue reading
John Smerdon and Daniel Vankov prepare sausage sizzle for the homeless in Brisbane.
By Daniel Vankov, Immediate Past President, Rotary Club of Brisbane, Australia
Rotary’s secret is cooperation. Alone we are useless. Together we are powerful. And together in a million we are unstoppable.
I had the honor of serving as president of the Rotary Club of Brisbane in 2017-18. It was a task that was not only challenging, but highly rewarding. My desire had been to make a difference, which also happened to be the theme 2017-18 Rotary President Ian Riseley put forward for the year. Continue reading