By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International director for Zones 30&31, USA
October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child. Along with the United Nations, today is a day for Rotary members to support and celebrate the girls of our world by participating in Rotary International’s Empowering Girls initiative.
As the leader of a Vocational Training Team for a Rotary Foundation grant project, my team and I worked alongside teachers in Malawi to develop and deliver an after-school program in village primary schools. The program empowers children, especially girls, to stay in school.
By Sofía Brega, Rotary Positive Peace Activator and member of the Rotaract Club of Juárez Centro, Chihuahua, Mexico.
Growing up in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, I always knew I wanted to work on girl empowerment and the rights of women. I wanted to be an activist for women’s rights, and learned about Girl Up, an organization that strives to advance opportunities for girls to be leaders. It’s a club-based initiative that supports projects that focus on women’s rights and builds awareness of current challenges for women in Mexico and elsewhere.
By David Wick, President, Rotary E-Club of World Peace
As members of the Rotary E-Club of World Peace, we will be joining other members and people around the world in participating in the United Nations International Day of Peace on 21 September. It is fitting for us to do so and follow Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in focusing on “Girls Empowerment and Peace” as a strategy to achieve our common goal. It’s also fitting because several of our members have been promoters of a Peace Day from the very beginning.
By Kiran Singh Sirah, a 2011-13 Rotary Peace Fellow and president of the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee, USA
The news coming out of Afghanistan has been painful to watch. So many of these images of suffering — the cargo plane filled with refugees, and especially the image of the baby being passed over barbed wire to a soldier — reminded me of my own family’s experience as refugees. Forty-nine years ago, they were forced to flee their home in Uganda along with 50,000 others, when a murderous dictator threatened them with genocide.
By Byung Woo Kim, past president of the Rotary Club of Cheongju-Musim, South Korea
My Rotary club has been working on more than one global grant project every year. When we were planning an initiative this year, we were seeing a high rate of COVID-19 cases. At that time, the government’s guidelines required that those suspected of having COVID should be tested at their nearest screening center. But as they travel from their home to the screening center using public transportation, they come in contact with multiple people and risk infecting still others in the hospital performing the screening.
By Michael Collins, Executive Director Americas, Institute for Economics and Peace
In June, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released its 15th annual Global Peace Index, one of the leading measures of peacefulness globally. Since 2017, the IEP and Rotary have been in a strategic partnership, providing members with new tools to effectively build peace in communities around the world. It has been my pleasure to work with Rotary members as I have been involved in the process of creating a number of global peace indexes.
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.
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.
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.
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.