What the latest IEP report says about world peace

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.

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Food bags fill void left by pandemic

distributing food bags
Members of the Rotary Club of Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras, check names off a list as they distribute food bags on the island of St. Helene.

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.

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Club turns masks to bricks

Dhaka Orchid clean earth project
The Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid has been collecting and cleaning used masks and gloves to mix with cement and create new products from the waste.

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.

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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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Venezuelan refugees find help, meals

Food distribution to refugees at Alberque Douglas center
Volunteers from Albergue Douglas distribution center provide food for people in Pamplona, Colombia in the winter of 2021.

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.

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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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‘Hop on the bus’ gets children to school in Liberia

The Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone is partnering with YesLiberia to provide a bus for children to attend one of several YMCA-sponsored schools, where they receive tuition assistance from YesLiberia.

By Meg Ramey and Duke Adams, Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone, Pennsylvania, USA

Since I was first introduced to Rotary in 2016, I have experienced a month-long vocational study trip to Taiwan, became a Rotarian, and met my wife, Dr. Meg Ramey, all through Rotary. Along the way I’ve served a few pancakes, planted some shrubbery for a Martin Luther King memorial, picked up pounds of trash, made some great friends, and had the honor to experience the hospitality of Rotarians locally and abroad. Rotary is awesome! Now, I am embarking on my latest Rotary adventure as the 2021-22 president of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone.

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Australian Rotarians speak out against family abuse

By Dorothy Gilmour, Rotary Club of Melbourne, Australia

As a grief therapist, I have assisted individuals impacted by suicide. My work as a therapist and as a lecturer in the areas of trauma, loss, and grief counseling included explaining to people how we cannot “save” a suicidal person ourselves, but need to refer them to trained professionals.

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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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