Empowering girls in Mexico

Sofia Brega founder of Activators de Paz Cuidad Juarez
Sofia Brega founded Activators de Paz Ciudad Juárez, a group that trains other agents of change and develops Positive Peace content for schools.

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.

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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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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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Saving lives in the Pacific

Senerita Pouvi, 9, receives a measles vaccination in December 2019 as part of a UNICEF-supported National Vaccination Campaign in response to a measles outbreak in the Pacific region. Photo Courtesy UNICEF.

By James Allen, Project Director and member of Rotary Club of Sydney, Australia

I am part of a team of Rotarians that came together nearly four years ago to initiate a project to recognize and celebrate the Centenary in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. It started as a group from the original four clubs in this part of the world – Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, and Wellington. Since then, many other clubs and districts have participated and are providing support. We called the project Give Every Child A Future because importantly, it will reduce child mortality and ease the burden of cervical cancer, thus giving every child a better future.

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New Rotary club takes aim at human trafficking

By Usha Reddi, president, Rotary Club of Community Action Against Human Trafficking

As a teacher, I have heard about children in my school as young as six years old being sexually exploited for money, and I felt powerless to do anything about it. This was happening within families as a business and to support drug habits. Children would be removed from a household for a couple of days but would be placed back again with the same family.

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Becoming a champion for Syrian youth

Champion School students fix a soccer goal and clean up a practice field.

Muyi Yang

Muyi Yang, Rotary Peace Fellow, Uppsala University, 2019-21

If you told me ten years ago that I would be running a non-profit school in a post-conflict country, I would have laughed out loud. At the time, I was working as a business representative for a commodity trading company, visiting clients and inspecting their coal mines.

Visiting one client, colleagues and I found several unbelievably young workers at several mines. Some of them looked even under 10 years old. The client admitted to us that the workers were indeed below the legal age to be working in the mines, but they were keeping it secret because, “what else can we do?” Continue reading

Why I Raise for Rotary: Doing Good with the World Fund

Trustee Brenda Cressey

By Brenda Cressey, Trustee and Rotary Member of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA

Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to take part in a multi-project mission with more than 100 Rotarians, spouses, Rotaractors and even a few new Rotarians from Rotary District 5280. We flew to Panama to visit project sites, perform cataract surgeries, and deliver wheelchairs.

There were several “Rotary moments” on that trip, but the truly unforgettable moment for me was when a grandfather, having no legs, was presented with the gift of mobility in the form of a bright red wheelchair. Continue reading

Bring sunshine to a stormy day

Taking part in a service project in Manila.

By Maria Elena “Marilen” Tronqued-Lagniton, past president of the Rotary Club of Cubao Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines

I shall pass this way but once. Any good that I can do or kindness I can show let me do it now.

But what if today was the last day of your life? Would you be fulfilled with how you have invested your time? Would you have any regrets? Time is the currency we begin each day with. It is our most valuable and most limited asset. Continue reading

My escapades during the pandemic lockdown

Rotary member Su Boertje, right, delivers supplies to The Baby House in Westville, South Africa.

By Su Boertje, membership and PR chair, Rotary Club of Westville, South Africa

In April, I learned that the Baby House in Westville, South Africa, a safe house for abandoned babies, desperately needed basic supplies. Due to the country-wide lockdown, donations had all but dried up, and the two house mothers and 10 babies (aged 1 week to 23 months) needed help.

”Not all super heroes wear capes,” I thought to myself, “some wear Rotary badges!” So I contacted our club treasurer to see if I could spend some of my PR budget to assist and they agreed. Continue reading

Small grant leads to big changes for Tanzanian girls

Kisa mentors with Chris

Kisa mentors on a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with Curt Harris in 2018.

By Curt Harris, past governor, Rotary District 5450

Although I joined Rotary in 1997, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rotary-sponsored fundraiser three years later that I really felt I had become a Rotarian.

This was my first opportunity to visit a developing country and see first-hand what poverty looks like. It is quite an eye-opener. I also got to observe some of the great things that Rotary was doing in the area. On that trip, our team of 11 climbers raised nearly $300,000 to support the Selian Hospital in northern Tanzania. Three years later, I returned with a smaller team, raising $125,000 to help build Selian Hospital’s new sister facility near downtown Arusha. Continue reading