Deeply wounded world needs Rotary Peace Centers

Maire-Paule Attema, right, and her husband, left, with host Rotarians in Brisbane, Australia.

By Marie-Paule Attema, a Rotary Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

After months of anticipation, I finally arrived in Brisbane, Australia, where I will be for the next 18 months while I pursue the Masters of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland Rotary Peace Center.

I quickly felt at home after being picked up by our “Australian parents,” who have been extremely helpful in our transition.  I have enjoyed the pros and cons of Australian living as I have quickly adapted to 30 Continue reading

Serving with Rotary brings joy to my life

Jack Bechaud with children in Cusco, Peru.

By Jack Bechaud, Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, USA

If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be lugging 15 bags of cement in the high mountains of Cusco, Peru, to help local villagers, I would not have believed you.

It sounds a little cliché, but Rotary has helped me come so far, in so many ways. It’s helped me grow as a person in ways I never thought possible. It’s brought joy back to my life. Continue reading

Rotary training team helps the girls of Malawi

The Rotary club’s project trained teachers for an after school program designed to empower girls, like those above, to stay in school.

By Elizabeth Usovicz

Last April, I led a Vocational Training Team (VTT) to Malawi. The global grant project of the Rotary clubs of Limbe (Malawi) and Kansas City-Plaza (Missouri, USA) installed solar lighting in schools and trained primary school teachers in an after-school program designed to empower children, especially girls, to stay in school. Continue reading

Why host a Rotary Peace Fellow?

Masao Mizuno meets with a Rotary Peace Fellow.

By Masao Mizuno, Rotary Club of Ageo West, Japan

Hosting a Peace Fellow substantially changed my life in Rotary. Since joining Rotary, I have been running a company that imports industrial tools, mostly from Israel and Europe, so I am familiar with talking to people from other countries. Continue reading

Changing the world is possible, through Rotary

Bethany Lerch, right, takes notes while speaking to a female attendee during a national mine awareness conference in Kabul.

By Bethany Lerch, former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, 2010-2011

I knew little about Rotary eight years ago when my former high school counselor encouraged me to apply for an Ambassadorial Scholarship. He was retired, but still active in Rotary, and knew a master’s was my next step. At the time, I had just graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and knew I needed to go to graduate school. But where and how? Continue reading

Prestigious award to Rotary Peace Fellow in Uppsala

Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle (far right, first row) and other prize winners with Vice-chancellor Eva Åkesson

By Magnus Elfwendahl, Rotary Club of Uppsala Carolina, Sweden

In January, I had the honor of watching as Rotary Peace Fellow Lindsey Doyle from the United States received Uppsala University’s foremost award to teachers and students supporting human rights. Doyle was awarded the Martin H:son Holmdahl prize at Uppsala’s doctoral conferment ceremony. Continue reading

Visiting water-deprived communities in western Ghana

Talking to villagers in western Ghana.

By Nana Konduah Dickye, Rotary Club of Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

On 12 November, I led a three-member team to visit seven communities my Rotary club is responsible for as part of the multi-year Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration in Ghana. The aim of the collaboration is to provide water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure and advocacy to deprived communities.

The total journey to these seven communities – Akwaso, Samfifire, Amoada, Kyeikrom, Nkakaa, Bonuama and Anyabream – began at Takoradi and covered a distance of 800 kilometers. It is one thing to hear about communities without basic water supply and sanitation needs. Actually having been to these communities and experiencing the kind of hardships they go through is quite another. Continue reading

From Rotary Scholar to Peace Corps

Jasmine Segall, right, and her best friend in Monterrey, who entertains children as a clown.

By Jasmine Segall, former Rotary global grant scholar

I have heard a variety of interesting stories about why the rural Costa Rican town I live in as a Peace Corps volunteer is called Monterrey. My favorite is the literal translation: “King of the Grass,” explained by a wizened elderly gentleman as the place his family settled to farm cattle because of its nutritious vegetation. On a good day, I can get a clear view of the Arenal Volcano and see the lush farmland that stretches endlessly below. The view is breathtaking. It truly is a green kingdom. Continue reading

Being the oxygen that fuels the flame (of service)

Vasanth Kuppuswamy motivates students in Tamil Nadu, India.

By Bill Smyth, Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, USA

It’s not every day that an eighth-grade student’s essay rivets a teacher’s attention. But this one themed “The Oxygen That Fueled the Flame” got mine.

The essay, written by a student at Buist Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, described his experience two summers earlier teaching English in Tamil Nadu, India, motivated by a desire to make a difference in kid’s lives. The story would have been powerful enough if the student had been of high school age, but this was the story of a 12-year-old boy. Continue reading

Good news for Ghana sanitation efforts

Rotary and USAID are creating Tippy Tap devices to encourage good hygiene in remote areas. The devices use a simple foot paddle to tip a water container so people can safely wash their hands.

Rotary and USAID are creating Tippy Tap devices to encourage good hygiene in remote areas. The devices use a simple foot paddle to tip a water container so people can safely wash their hands.

By Mohamed Keita, RI staff, Administrative Coordinator, Areas of Focus, Programs and Grants

In January, a new government came into office in Ghana and set a different tone in addressing access to water and public sanitation in the country. President Nana Akufo-Addo announced the creation of a Ministry for Sanitation and Water Resources. It is the first time an administration has dedicated the centrepiece of an executive cabinet agency to public sanitation.

Ghanaian Rotarians who are involved in the rollout of the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration, a $4 million initiative to support lasting, positive change to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives in Ghana, have welcomed the move. Continue reading