Food bags fill void left by pandemic

distributing food bags
Members of the Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, check names off a list as they distribute food bags on the island of St. Helene.

By Roger Bjoroy-Karlsen, Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

I am on a small boat fully loaded with food bags headed for the people of St. Helene, a small island about two miles long and one mile wide, separated by a canal from the island of Roatan. Roatan is the largest of the Bay Islands located off the northern coast of Honduras.

As the waves are striking our boat, my thoughts wander to the approximate 1,000 people in 218 households who are in need of the food we’re delivering. Many of whom have no income because they lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. St. Helene has no roads and no infrastructure. Its people are descendants of African slaves brought by the British to Jamaica and the Cayman Islands who then migrated to Roatan after gaining their freedom in the 1830’s.

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Club turns masks to bricks

Dhaka Orchid clean earth project
The Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid has been collecting and cleaning used masks and gloves to mix with cement and create new products from the waste.

By Abdullah Al Fahad, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a new environmental challenge. Every month, more than 120 billion disposable masks and gloves are being thrown out, with some of them polluting our land and water.

Our Rotaract club, like many, is concerned about the environment. Emboldened by Rotary’s newest cause, protecting the environment, we decided to do something about this problem. We began a recycling effort which we called our Clean Earth project to collect masks that were littering our streets, parking lots, and other common areas and find a way to reuse them.

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Volcanic ash in West Indies puts animals in need

Feed animals on Saint Vincent
Rotary members organized a large-scale collection to feed, shelter, and provide medicine for animals affected by the volcanic ash that destroyed pastureland on the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

By Elizabeth Guybert, Rotary Club of Grande Terre Pointe Des Châteaux, Guadeloupe, French West Indies

In April, the successive eruptions of the Soufrière volcano devastated part of the island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, leading to an urgent evacuation of the population from the affected areas.

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Philippines Rotary clubs ‘adopt’ vaccination site

patients being screened for vaccinations
A Rotary member and physician helps screen patients for their vaccinations at the University of Baguio City Gym

By Carlito “Tolitz” Villanueva, Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capitol, Philippines

We heal as one. Our communities were brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that vaccine is becoming available in the Philippines, we are slowly regaining our strength, confidence, and mobility to carry on our daily tasks.

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What would you do? Partnership dilemma

By Rotary magazine staff

Your club president is on the board of a local organization. The organization wants to partner with your club, but it doesn’t have many resources that would enhance your club. In fact, you believe your club would end up providing resources and network connections without getting anything in return. Your club president is insistent on creating the partnership, and wants you as service chair to find a way to make it work. What would you do?

Every month, Rotary magazine showcases answers to an ethical question that members might face in their Rotary clubs. Above is the ethical challenge we will tackle in the October issue of the magazine. Share your suggestions below and send them to magazine@rotary.org

Venezuelan refugees find help, meals

Food distribution to refugees at Alberque Douglas center
Volunteers from Albergue Douglas distribution center provide food for people in Pamplona, Colombia in the winter of 2021.

By Cristal Montañéz Baylor, International Coordinator for Hope for Venezuelan Refugees and a member of the Rotary E-club of Houston, Texas, USA

It is immensely gratifying to witness children, in the midst of crisis, smiling again over a shared meal. Your heart is touched as you sense their parents’ tension ease and see expressions of hope radiate across their faces.

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights establishes access to food as a fundamental human right. And access to food continues to be a focal point of the Venezuelan humanitarian crisis.

We are in the fifth phase of the Hope for Venezuelan Refugees project, which is providing hot “soup meals” to Venezuelan refugees, migrants, and walkers (also known as “caminantes”) on the Cúcuta-Pamplona humanitarian route.

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How we grew our club by saying no to domestic violence

Rotary Baton relay
Rotary clubs in New South Wales delivered a message against domestic violence during the baton relay event marking 100 years of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.

By David Harmon, president, Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond, New South Wales, Australia

If we want to reverse the decline in membership that many clubs have been experiencing the last 10 years, we need to have a cause that engages our members and communities. With this in mind, our Rotary club created a focus group three years ago that searched for an issue that would make a real difference in our community. After carefully consideration we decided to adopt a project to address domestic violence and family abuse. Since our involvement in this project, we have grown from 31 members to 76 members.

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Stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Rotary Club of Dhaka facemask distributions
Rotaract and Rotary clubs in Dhaka distributed 25,000 masks in April.

By Abdullah Al Fahad, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, the infection rate from COVID-19 had been increasing daily earlier this year. The death rate was also frighteningly high. It’s a threat to our country’s health and economy. Our population density is simply too high. The best way to decrease the spread of COVID-19 is by using facemasks. Therefore, we felt we needed to work hard as a Rotaract club to remind people of the importance of wearing face masks.

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Keeping children safe from polio

Child received polio drops.
The author immunizes a child against polio in India.

By S.R. Yogananda, past governor of District 3190 and 2011-14 regional Rotary Foundation coordinator

I had just come back from an assignment overseas in 1987 when I rejoined the Rotary Club of Bangalore East after an absence. I enjoyed the fellowship before meetings when I could connect with all my friends in one time and place. At one such meeting, one of our club leaders talked about Rotary’s top priority to eradicate polio and mentioned an upcoming immunization drive that Sunday.

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Why DEI is the right thing for Rotary

Katey Halliday

Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the first installment of a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.

Katey Halliday is a past president and founding member of the Adelaide City Rotaract Club, and a member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide Light. She initiated her district’s first-ever participation in the local Pride March celebrations and is a member of her Rotaract club’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working group. Professionally, she is a diversity and inclusion project officer and training facilitator for South Australia Police (read her full bio). We asked Halliday the following questions about DEI and Rotary.

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