Helping the homeless, one tiny house at a time

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Editor’s note: World Homeless Day, 10 October, is an opportunity to educate people about homelessness and raise awareness in your community.  

By John Matthews, Rotary International Vice President 2018-19 and member of the Rotary Club of Mercer Island, Washington, USA. Photos by Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Spending the night under the stars sounds romantic. But for hundreds of thousands of Americans, it’s the exact opposite. It’s not a choice; it’s an unpleasant reality that can quickly become detrimental to one’s life. And it happens more often than most people with a roof over their heads might think – 553,742 people were homeless on a single night in 2017. Alarmed by the growing homeless population in our city, my club and I felt compelled to take action. Continue reading

How does it look when I walk?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

As a polio survivor (age three, left with partial paralysis of one leg which did not grow as much as the other leg), all of my life I have had moments when I turned to see a child trying to imitate my walk. It was always disconcerting, and of late, just a little surprising, as when you realize toilet paper is stuck to your shoe and trailing along behind.  When I matured, I could smile at the pantomime, and think, “Do I really walk like that??!”  Continue reading

To The Gambia and back: Our Dutch adventure

The Dutch Rotarians took 11 cars to The Gambia

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

Who is that poster girl?

Francine Falk-Allen

By Francine Falk-Allen

One of the first misconceptions that confronted me as a handicapped child was that people – children, adults, everyone – would often say, “I saw your picture on the March of Dimes poster!!”  The March of Dimes was a campaign initiated to pay for polio vaccinations and patient care. Most of the patients were young children, who were the most prone to severe aspects of the disease. People were asked to send in “even a dime” and there were coin collection placards put out in stores, churches, gas stations, anywhere that people might be able to spare a dime. (A dime in 1950 would be worth about ninety cents in 2018.) Continue reading

A tribute to a tireless polio eradication volunteer


Video from the memorial service for Jack Blane

By David Waring, Past President, Breakfast Rotary Club of Barrington, Illinois, and Past Governor of Rotary District 6440

When polio is finally eradicated from the planet and we look back on Rotary’s role in making that happen, one of the first persons history is certain to smile upon will be Jack Blane. Sadly, Jack did not live to see the day that we all look forward to, but his remarkable contribution and tireless efforts live on as we bring this worthy battle to its conclusion.  Continue reading

Effective stewardship makes Rotary service possible

Steven Snyder

By Steven A. Snyder, Rotary Club of Auburn, California, USA, and Chair of the Rotary International Finance Committee

As my year of service on the Rotary International Finance Committee winds down, I find myself reflecting on how a critical part of Rotary service is effective financial planning. Simply put, effective stewardship of the contributions of our members is what helps Rotary execute its vision for a better world. Continue reading

Two brothers take aim at eliminating hepatitis

In front of the hydroelectric power plant in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. About 11,000 cubic meters of water pass over the dam a second.

By Fred Mesquita, Rotary Club of São Paulo-Jardim das Bandeiras, São Paulo, Brazil

Two brothers, a car, one important social cause, a lot of courage, and many adventures along the way. That’s how our Expedition “Me Leva Junto” (Take me with you) began in October 2015, now more commonly known as the “Hepatitis Zero Expedition.”

My brother José Eduardo and I completed the first stage of our expedition, the Americas, in December, traveling through 20 countries and visiting 274 cities on the American continent. All our efforts are volunteer; there is no sponsorship from any company or organization. Continue reading

5 reasons to support The Rotary Foundation on Giving Tuesday

By Rotary staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, supporting education, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. 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

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