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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5 ways to help on World Refugee Day

Train station in Pardubic, Czech Republic.
People displaced by the war in Ukraine arrive at a train station in Pardubice, Czech Republic. April 2022.

World Refugee Day, 20 June, is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe. Members of Rotary and Rotaract clubs have been taking action through a variety of international projects to help raise awareness of the plight of refugees, advocate for humane policies related to refugees, and provide for immediate needs of refugees. Quentin Wodon, Chair of the Rotary Action Group for Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Migration, has written a blog on 5 ways to support newcomers and migrants on the Rotary Service in Action blog. Also read about some of the efforts of Rotary and Rotaract members to support refugees through the years:

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Decades of improving life in Uganda and Kenya

Woman at tippy tap
A woman in Uganda uses a new tippy tap to wash her hands in front of a latrine built by Rotary members.

By Chris Roesel, a member of the Rotary E-Club of WASH, District 9980

Chris Roesel
Chris Roesel

I am a Rotary member and the son of a Rotarian, and grew up in rural Georgia, USA, before the Civil Rights Movement. I saw structural and economic problems that I wanted to help but didn’t know how. Later, I attended the Air Force Academy, but that didn’t show me how to empower the people in impoverished communities, either. After I graduated from the academy, I joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Guatemala. What I saw and experienced there shocked me.

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