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

How to make literacy fun

A Surabaya ludruk

A scene from the Rotaract Club of Darmo Raya’s ludruk, a type of theater native to Surabaya.

By Alma Dhiafira, president of the Rotaract Club of Darmo Raya, Surabaya, Indonesia

During my year as president of my Rotaract club, we decided to put on a ludruk. It is a type of theater from East Java that includes music, jokes, and drama performed in the Surabaya dialect.

We’ve done a ludruk once before, working with our partner Rotary Club of Surabaja-Darmo. But I was particularly excited this time because we would be spreading the message that literacy is fun. Continue reading

To The Gambia and back: Our Dutch adventure

The Dutch Rotarians took 11 cars to The Gambia

The Dutch Rotarians took 11 cars to The Gambia, which were auctioned off to support women’s education.

By Tineke Ruijter, Rotary Club of Zwijndrecht, The Netherlands

Our adventure started on 21 October 2017. Rally teams of six Dutch Rotary clubs, accompanied by five independent supporting teams, departed from Zwijndrecht in the Netherlands for a challenging 7,500 km (4,600 mile) journey to The Gambia, where we arrived on 11 November. The trip passed through Belgium, France, Spain, Morocco, Mauritania, and Senegal, through dessert areas and sometimes accompanied by local guides for security reasons.

The 11 cars that took us to The Gambia were sponsored and auctioned at final destination. The result: $50,000 to be donated to a Dutch Rotary initiative called  “School Plan Gambia,” which enables young women to attend school up to and including university. Continue reading

Literacy center dedicated to Pakistan Rotarian

Children at their school in Jhang, Pakistan, before the project provided new chairs, blackboard, and books.

By Michelle Tanner, past president Rotary Club of Matamata, New Zealand

A random Facebook message with an invitation to present at a Rotary polio conference in Lahore in 2014 was the start of an amazing journey that took me from rural New Zealand to Pakistan and culminated in a project to improve the education of children of garbage pickers in Jhang, Pakistan. Continue reading

My return to Minneapolis after 7 years

Rotary Scholar Anna Ueda with Rotarians in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

By Anna Ueda, 2010-11 Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar

On Thanksgiving week in November 2017, I visited Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, where I was accredited as a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar seven years ago. This short trip brought me so many precious moments in reconnecting with amazing people that I had met through Rotary, that I had to share them. Continue reading

New shoes delight children in Uganda

Children try on shoes as part of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South’s service project.

By Immy Julie Musoke Nakyeyune, president of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda

A mist was rising over the meadow when I arrived early in the morning at Nyakishumba with members of my Rotaract club, brimming with excitement for the day ahead. Located in the hilly Kabale District of western Uganda, Nyakishumba is colder than most of the surrounding region. So we were bundled in our heavy coats this September day as we hurried to set up the medical camp in time; coordinating with the health care workers, arranging the necessary medicines, and establishing diagnostic stations and areas for HIV testing.

It has been almost three years since we first visited the community to do our needs assessment, discovering their unique concerns and needs. The first phase of our project in 2016 had focused on supporting education at the primary school. Now, we were addressing disease prevention, maternal and child health, education, and economic and community development. We were all excited at the opportunity Rotaract was providing us to work with members of other clubs to help this community. Continue reading

5 reasons to support The Rotary Foundation on Giving Tuesday

By Rotary staff

When you make a donation to The Rotary Foundation, you are helping Rotary members make a difference in the lives of millions of people around the world, by promoting peace, preventing disease, supporting education, bolstering economic development, and providing clean water and sanitation.

Here are just a few ways your generosity is changing lives. Continue reading

First outbound Rotary Youth Exchange from Nepal

Seema Tamang, third from left, with other Rotary Youth Exchange students

By Seema Tamang, Rotary Youth Exchange student from Kathmandu, Nepal

During the 2016-17 school year, I was thrilled to be the first outbound exchange student from Nepal. Being blind, I have to admit I was a bit scared at first, as home life in the US was much different than in Nepal. I was used to sleeping in the same room with my sisters and with other girls in the dormitory at school. With my host family, I had my own room. But it did not take long to adapt, and enjoy an amazing experience during which I grew in many ways. Continue reading

Why Rotary scholarships are sustainable investments

Sarah Ehlinger Affotey, a former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, at a project site in Ghana.

By Sarah Ehlinger Affotey

After receiving an Ambassadorial Scholarship from Rotary in 2011, I put a lot of pressure on myself to “do it right,” or in other words, give Rotary a solid return on its investment. With each passing month in Ghana, what I had first deemed as peripheral – the friendships, conversations, and breakdown of stereotypes – were actually advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace. How ingenious that this scholarship allowed me to advance Rotary’s mission subconsciously?

Continue reading

How simple schools are helping children in Ghana

Children in Abansere wanting a school to call their own.

By Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, Virginia, USA, and a 2013 Rotary Champion of Change

Have you ever wished as a Rotarian that you could do something to help educate a child? Have you ever dreamed that a child could start their education at a younger age? We see children in communities all over Ghana in West Africa and realize that they should be in school.   Continue reading