What we can accomplish when we embrace diversity

A mother adjusts the strap on her son's new prosthesis.
A mother adjusts the strap on her son’s new prosthesis.

By K V Mohan Kumar, charter president of the Rotary Club of Bangalore, Prime, India, and an ambassador of the Ellen Meadows Prosthetic Hand Foundation

As members of Rotary, we can show our support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) not only by our words, but by our actions. The way we design projects and include people of all backgrounds as volunteers and recipients speaks louder than words.

In 2021, three members of our district came together to plan a medical project that fitted individuals who had lost hands with free below-the-elbow prosthetics at a camp in Dharwad, India, in October. All three of these members were from different occupations and backgrounds; one a microbiologist, one a business entrepreneur, and one an IT project manager. Together in Rotary, they blended their unique skills to lead a project benefitting people from all backgrounds.

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Mobile screening limits spread of COVID-19

Byung Woo Kim stands by the mobile screening center. The bus travels to those who suspect they have COVID-19 to perform tests, minimizing their exposure to others.

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.

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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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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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Vaccination education for all our neighborhoods

Members of the Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA, spend Saturdays distributing information about vaccinations on door hangers in Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA

From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.

Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.

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Sharing a powerful moment as a vaccination volunteer

By Vicki Brentin, a member of the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline, Houston, Texas, USA

Anticipation. Excitement. Nervousness. Uncertainty. Hopefulness. Relief. Gratitude. I had all of these not-so-surprising emotions as I passed through the various stations at the mega vaccine site in Houston to receive my COVID-19 vaccination.

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A day in the life of a vaccination volunteer

By Jill Johnson, member communications team lead, Corporate Communications, Rotary International

My cheeks hurt from smiling, which was weird because I wore a mask all day. It’s not as if anyone saw my smile, but I couldn’t help it. It was a great day.

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Pandemic has silver lining for Canadian Rotary clubs

Paul Elsley, in red coat, packs food boxes to deliver to families in the Kingston area.

By Paul Elsley, Rotary Club of Kingston, Ontario, Canada

A little over a year ago, my club could not have foreseen that we would add 18 new members during 2020 and do so in the midst of a global pandemic. There are silver linings in just about everything.

At the beginning of that year, we were planning to celebrate a century of Rotary in Kingston with other Rotary clubs in the city when COVID-19 struck in March. We watched as service organizations and agencies began to shut down or go into emergency mode and knew a celebration was out of the question. But it also became clear that there was a huge service gap and that Kingston was in great need.

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My best day as a vaccination volunteer

Steven Sanbo registers people at a vaccination center in Yavapi County, Arizona.

By Steven Sanbo, past governor of District 6690 and Zone 30 assistant Rotary coordinator

What I recall most are the hundreds of faces. Faces of hope. Faces of relief, gratitude, fear, joy, excitement, desperation, anxiety and yes, faces with tears all hidden behind masks during my volunteer shift at a mass vaccination center in Arizona, USA, on 26 February.

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Motorcycle ride raises awareness of depression

Dieter Schneider on his motorcycle ride through Southeast Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus, Iran, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, Australia and the Americas.

By Dieter Schneider, member of the Rotary Motorcyclist Fellowship (IFMR) and the Rotary Club Würzburg

A year after my son took his own life after suffering from severe depression, I set off on a motorcycle to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip through East Africa was both a time to process trauma and fulfill a desire for adventure. My encounters with interesting people and my experiences on this fascinating continent healed my inner turmoil. When I arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, I made a life-changing decision.

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