Trees that spread peace

By Hiroko Seki, Rotary Club of Tokyo Yoneyama Yuai

The Ginkgo tree sapling at the Carter Center.

On 12 June, during the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, we planted a Ginkgo nursery tree at The Carter Center, founded by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The tree is a descendant of one that survived the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

When I saw this young tree for the first time, I was blown away by its vigor and beauty. The sapling was cultivated from its mother tree by Green Legacy Hiroshima Initiative led by UNITAR Hiroshima, and cared for by Steaven Continue reading

Why education changes the world

Isma Seetal, middle left of banner, as a team assistant during District 5320’s Rotary Youth Leadership Awards event.

By Isma Seetal, Rotary Global Grant Scholar

“Education is the best way to change one’s standard of living.”

My mother would repeat this phrase over and over. I was lucky to have been brought up by a hard-working, single, mother, who empowered my brother and me to climb the socio-economic ladder by giving us the best education she possibly could. Other children from broken families like mine did not have the same fortune. My unwavering drive to give back and improve my community led me to join the Rotaract club of Port-Louis, Mauritius in July 2012.  Continue reading

We are all same, same…but different

Rotary Peace Fellows at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

By Dessa Bergen-Cico, a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

One thing I have learned through my experiences traveling and working around the world is that people are more alike than they are different. Moreover we embody our expressions of joy in similar ways.

Anyone who has ever visited Thailand has likely heard the phrase same, same when trying to make a purchase from a vendor or negotiate the menu in a restaurant. Same, same is an English phrase used by Thai people, it means that two or more items are similar, or cost the same amount.  Continue reading

Solar lamp project delivers light in Belize

Residents of a remote village in the Toledo district of Belize use their solar lamps.

By Audrey Cochran, a member of the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin, Texas, USA

Tonight Amelia Ramirez sits with her younger siblings at their kitchen table. A stack of books sit on the table and Amelia smiles as she reads. She no longer fears being burned by a kerosene lamp. The fumes that had irritated her eyes and made her cough are gone. She no longer begs her mother to stop before her school work is done because of the heat, the bugs, and the fumes caused by the kerosene lamp she was previously forced to use. Amelia’s family received a solar lamp from Rotary District 5870. Continue reading

Unique field experience cements Peace Fellow’s desire to pursue human rights

Laurie Smolenski, right, with her Rotary Peace Fellow class at the University of Queensland.

By Laurie Smolenski, 2015-17 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

I’ve just completed 18 months as a Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. A highlight was spending three months in Mexico City for my applied field experience. This is a cornerstone of the University’s Peace Fellow program, through which Fellows take on a project or internship outside of Australia. I interned with the Mexico City office of the MacArthur Foundation, which supports peace and justice initiatives globally. Continue reading

Overcoming Ebola, poverty to educate children in Liberia

Students at African Dream Academy in Liberia.

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

On the 1st of July, the African Dream Academy successfully concluded our 2016-17 academic year, our sixth year educating the children of Liberia. Despite lingering effects of the Ebola outbreak (2014-15) in our country and many other poverty-related obstacles, we were able to educate 945 children this year, and provide free health care to 17,000 children under the age of six. Continue reading

Mobile blood bank saves lives in Saint Lucia

Malcolm Charles

By Malcolm Charles, past president of the Rotary Club of St. Lucia, Saint Lucia

One day while visiting with my mom over lunch, I heard over her portable transistor radio a call for people with Type O positive blood to come to the local hospital to give blood in preparation for a patient surgery later that day.

I asked my mom if she knew my blood type, because I didn’t. But she didn’t know, either. So I drove to the nearest health clinic in her area to Continue reading

The most important thing in the world

Jessica Compton enjoys the view on Mount Sunday, located in the middle of the South Island in Kakatere Conservation Park.

By Jessica Compton, Rotary Global Grant Scholar to New Zealand

As a child, I dreamed of teaching. But it took until my junior year of college to return to that dream. My undergraduate coursework had prepared me for the content, if not the pedagogical strategies, to effectively engage and teach adolescents English – reading, listening and viewing; writing, speaking, and presenting. Continue reading

Improving the lives of Ghana children through handwashing

By Neyeram Kukula, Rotary Club of Accra-West, Ghana

On 18 May, I joined fellow Rotary members, the project manager for the Rotary-USAID partnership in Ghana, and an engineer from Global Communities, the implementing partner, in visiting sites in the Shai Osu Doku district two hours northeast of the capital of Accra. We visited three schools where the partnership is working to improve water and sanitation facilities and change personal hygiene habits. Continue reading

Helping refugees in Europe

Dr. Pia Skarabis-Querfeld treating a patient at a refugee shelter.

By Brady Way, 2017-18 president of the Rotary Club of Moorehead City-Lookout, North Carolina, USA

In the winter of 2014, Europe was beginning to experience a massive refugee influx as a result of the turmoil in the Middle East and Africa. Berlin would receive 100,000 of the 1.2 million refugees which came to Germany.

Rotarian Dr. Pia Skarabis-Querfeld went to a refugee shelter with a much needed donation of clothing. She was immediately struck with the urgent need for medical care and medical supplies. The refugees had traveled long distances for several months, in harsh conditions, fleeing many atrocities at home. They had many obvious acute and chronic problems, especially the children. Continue reading