Gosha-e-Ilm: A Ray of Hope

Faisalabad Rotaract club members lead an evening class for child laborers.

By Ebadat-ur-Rehman Babar, 2019-20 secretary, Rotaract Club of Faisalabad, Pakistan

Our idea started back in 2018, when I and two other members of my Rotaract club began looking for an innovative, sustainable project. We wanted to submit an entry for the Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards and we came up with an idea of starting a school for child laborers who do not have enough resources for their education. Continue reading

Leadership library transforms community

The inside of the new Leadership Library in Mare Tabac, looking through the reading room.

By Frederic Nullathemby, 2018-19 president of the Rotary Club of Rose-Belle, Mauritius

If you want to be a leader, you have to read. If you want to develop leaders, you have to provide a place for young people to read. When we took on our project to develop the Leadership Library, we very much had the words of Margaret Fuller, a 19th century American journalist and women’s rights advocate, at heart: “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Continue reading

Paying it forward through Rotaract

Georgi Kardzhaliyski at the Coney Island half marathon.

By Georgi Kardzhaliyski, a member of the Rotaract Club of Boston, Massachusetts, USA

My love affair with Rotary started when I was a junior in high school and was selected by the Bulgarian-American Fulbright Commission for their United States Achievers Program. One of the participants told me about Interact during the break of an SAT prep course and sparked my interest in getting involved. Feeling inspired, I went on to start my high school’s first ever Interact club, which I ran successfully with my co-president and about 10 members for a year until I graduated. Continue reading

Bridge to success in The Gambia

The project team from left Lamin Manneh, Beth W. Kealy, Maggie Peterson, and Randy Hutchins.

By Maggie Peterson, Rotary Club of Edmonds, Washington, USA

Four members of our club left Seattle on 1 February and flew some 30 plus hours to The Gambia, arriving on the evening of 2 February. The purpose of the trip was to identify a site in the remote area of the Central River Valley for a “pure” science lab. This crucial component for Secondary Schools does not currently exist, effectively cutting off access to college or even high school graduation, as this science lab work is required for both. Continue reading

Rotary-supported story contest gives Tacoma youth a voice

The first-ever Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest invited youth to write about the ocean and what it means to them.

By Rosemary Ponnekanti

At first, Hope was reluctant. She was on the verge of flunking school through poor attendance. But when Kathleen Figetakis, literacy chair at Tacoma Sunrise Rotary, Washington, USA, asked the Tacoma senior for one little favor – to put up posters in her school for the Tacoma Ocean Fest Youth Story Contest – Hope agreed. Six months later, she had not only won second prize in the contest, but she also graduated from high school – and helped the inaugural contest to be a wave of success. Continue reading

Empowering women in Colombian prisons

Exercise class.

Charlie Ruth Castro leads an exercise class for inmates.

Charlie Ruth Castro

By Charlie Ruth Castro, Rotary E-Club of Sogamoso Global, Colombia

I had to go to prison to understand how education for innovation is the path for empowering millions of Latin American and Caribbean women economically. I’ve never committed a crime; I belong to that group of people who believe education is the most sophisticated tool we have to opening any door.

In 2016, I founded MujeresConDerechos.org with the idea of reminding society that all girls and all women are powerful. For this reason, I have dedicated myself to gathering the most influential leaders through summits, marches, and a television program. The attention and support I have received has been converted into generating innovative programs for girls and women most in need. Continue reading

What Fairwold is saying about Interact

Fairwold Interact members and advisors.

By Steve Bass, Fairwold Interact Club advisor

Fairwold Academy serves children that need emotional support from throughout the area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. The opportunities we are able to provide these students are amazing. Our members have designed and sold tree certificates to raise money to purchase and plant thousands of trees in our local nature preserves. Our original recycling project, Plastic Planet Savers, won a sustainability award at Temple University’s EarthFest celebration a few years ago. And  the club has earned the Presidential Citation from Rotary International each of the past three years. 

But better than all of that is what they say about how Interact is shaping their lives. Here is just a sampling: Continue reading

What a Rotary club can do with even a little bit of money

Burton at well

Joi Burton takes a drink from a new well during a trip to Kenya. A grant project between District 5790 and Homa Bay, Kenya, provided the well.

By Joi Burton, International Service Chair for District 6170 and member of the Rotary Club of North Garland County, Arkansas, USA

I have always had a dream of going to Africa. Soon after I joined Rotary in 1991, I noticed an article in The Rotarian that a Rotary club from Eugene, Oregon, was going to Kenya to work on some projects. They were inviting people to go with them, and when I contacted them they accepted my offer. We visited several Rotary projects and a Rotary Club in Nairobi. That was the beginning of a long and productive relationship between my club at the time, Arlington South, Texas, and the people of Kenya that demonstrated the impact even a small club can have through the magic that is Rotary. Continue reading

Driving a junk car across Europe for charity

Niemann's and junk car

Konrad Niemann, left, and his son by the junk car they used in the Carbage Run. The car was auctioned off, and combined with funds raised by the run, to benefit the Salberghaus, a home for children.

By Konrad Niemann, President of the Rotary Club of München-Münchner Freiheit, Germany

In February, my son and I were driving in Germany when we began passing a bunch of strange-looking cars on the highway. We discovered they were part of a road rally called the Carbage Run, that is essentially a five-day road trip across Europe in a junk car. For the past 10 years, participants have paid about €350 (about $400) to take part in the event, originating in the Netherlands, with cars that must be more than 18 years old and worth less than €500 ($560). Looking at all these junk cars, my son and I thought “what a funny idea for a father-son activity.” Continue reading

Rotary Youth Exchange: key to global citizenship

Marie and classmates

Marie Tornquist and her Brazilian classmates during her Rotary Youth Exchange

By Marie Tornquist, former Rotary Youth Exchange student from Minnesota, USA, to Brazil

On the first day of my Rotary Youth Exchange orientation in a Minneapolis suburb, I remember being confused about the nationality of my country officer. She kept referring to herself as Brazilian, saying things like, “In Brazil we eat a lot of rice and beans,” and, “We (Brazilians) are very open people.” She also referred to her Brazilian host families as “my brother, Eduardo,” “my nieces and nephews,” etc. I wondered if she had somehow been placed with a host family that was a distant relative. After a while I realized that ever since her exchange, she has continued to identify with the Brazilian culture while at the same time living in the U.S. and maintaining her identity as an American. Continue reading