Preventing drownings is goal of new Rotary club

Instructors teach a swimming class funded through contributions from Rotary members.

By Eve Fraser, charter president of the Rotary Club of Global Water Safety & Drowning Prevention 

Who would have thought a soccer team getting stuck in a cave in remote Thailand would lead to the chartering of a new Rotary club for water safety and drowning prevention? Yet here we are! 

In April 2021, the United Nations declared drowning to be the number-one cause of preventable deaths around the world. Africa and Asia were identified as the most affected regions. I had observed over the years swimming teachers delivering lessons to communities in need, struggling with the sheer volume of people who needed to learn to swim and the funding to deliver those programs. I imagined a club where members with the knowledge, skills, and experience worked together to train swimming teachers and help communities deliver sustainable programs. 

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Saving babies in Ukraine

Dr. Philips in yellow vest in back of van loaded with supplies
Dr. John Philip with some of the medical supplies the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals has collected for Ukraine.

By Dr. John Philip, a member of the Rotary Club of Newbury, Berkshire, England, and Chair of the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals

I recently traveled 1,350 miles from my home in Newbury, South England, through France, Germany, and Poland to the Ukraine border. My role was mainly one of providing navigation for the relief supplies we were delivering. I was joined by two Scottish colleagues, each driving a van packed tight with 120 boxes of vital medical equipment.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some trepidation about the journey, but it was one I felt compelled to make. I felt a deep sense of personal responsibility, both to the Rotary members who’ve generously supported the International Fellowship of Healthcare Professionals’ relief work, and to all the Ukrainians whose lives this equipment could ultimately save.

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Pad A Girl project helps girls stay in school

Students in white uniforms and green ties sit behind a long desk awaiting class to begin.
Students in Umudike Central, Abia State, Nigeria wait for class to begin. Pad A Girl assures that female students do not have to miss class due to feminine hygiene issues.

By Ada Wikina, international service chair, Rotary Club of North Cobb, Georgia, USA

As a young girl growing up in Nigeria in the 1960s, I did not talk about feminine hygiene, as it was almost taboo. So much so, that women either simply didn’t broach the subject with their daughters or they gave the responsibility to others. Or, as in my case, they would let an aunt who was a nurse explain it. Things have come a long way since then. I recently worked on the “Pad A Girl” project in my home country along with two Nigerian-based Rotary clubs. How did I get there?

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Creating positive change: Rotary’s Empowering Girls initiative

Pace Universal
Pace Universal is a school for girls in Piyali Junction, outside of Kolkata, India, funded in part by Rotary clubs and The Rotary Foundation. Rotary’s Empowering Girls initiative encourages projects like this one to empower girls to be able to make choices and create positive change.
Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International Director, chair of Rotary’s Empowering Girls Task Force

What does it mean to be empowered? For girls throughout the world, empowerment is the ability to make choices and create positive change in their own lives, as well as in their families and communities.

Empowered girls become empowered women. Reaching out to the girls of our world is the heart and purpose of Rotary’s Empowering Girls Initiative. Our stories of supporting girls are interwoven with their stories of empowerment, like the story of Atupele, a girl in Malawi.

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Rotary e-club empowers girls in Kenya

Young women receive training in self defense during a project to empower girls in Kenya.
Young women receive training in self defense during a project to empower girls in Kenya.

By Roberta Porter, Rotary E-Club of District 5450

I was shocked and stunned as I sat in silence listening to the pain in my daughter’s voice. She was calling me from Kenya where she had travelled as a volunteer with an Australian volunteer organization.

She described witnessing first-hand the impact poverty was having on the health and wellbeing of families and especially the children she was working with. The main focus for her at that time was lack of education about puberty, sexual health, and sexual violence.

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