How we added younger members with an evening group

Stratford-Upon-Avon club members prepare for the Shakespeare Duck Race.

By Jonathan Craig, secretary of the Rotary Club of Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England

Our club meets at lunch and has a membership that is mostly retired. We do have a few younger members who have their own businesses or retired early, but gone are the days when employers encouraged their local bank managers to take two hour lunches. We began to be seen as a club that wasn’t a good fit for young working people. So it became a strategic goal for our club (and also for RIBI) to attract younger members and also more women. Continue reading

Rotary alum turns trash into treasure

Binish Desai’s company makes bricks from industrial waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

By Binish Desai, a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and a former Rotary Youth Exchange student 

I started my journey in Rotary as a Youth Exchange Student in 2009-10, hosted by the Rotary Club of Waukegan, Illinois, USA. I’m now a member of the Rotary Club of Bulsar, India, and Rotary helps me live out my dream, a dream I have had since age 11 – giving back to my community in service.

In 2005, I created my first brick using industrial paper waste and chewing gum. Similar bricks of recycled materials would go on to make thousands of stand-alone toilets for rural communities by 2015. Continue reading

The opportunity that changed my life

Jireh Mabamba, second from left, with members of Rotaract in Minnesota.

By Jireh Mabamba

Sometimes, all you need is a chance – that one opportunity of a lifetime. Rotary gave me that chance.

I grew up in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where human life has little value. Children are taken from their families and forced into the army, women are raped daily, and men are killed in front of their loved ones. Massacre is the norm. The only way to survive this brutal environment is to flee the country, and when I was nine, that’s what my family and I did. Continue reading

Our new vision statement: why should you care?

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Stephanie Urchick

By Stephanie A. Urchick, chair of Rotary’s Strategic Planning Committee

We are now more than a year into the process of revisiting Rotary’s strategic plan, a process that will allow us to examine our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to move the organization in a direction that will allow Rotary to thrive in the years ahead. Our new vision statement is the first lap in that three-year journey.

You may have seen the vision statement and wondered what its relevance is to you. Continue reading

Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.

By Yannis Comino

Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management. Continue reading

Rotaract runs in the family

Spelling out Rotaract with visiting Rotaractors in Sri Lanka.

By Jumana Amiruddeen, Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Whenever I meet my mother’s close friends, whom we affectionately call aunties and uncles, their stories always begin with “during our time in Rotaract … ”

I didn’t fully understand and appreciate what Rotaract was all about until I found myself attending my first meeting of the Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, at age 23 to support the club president, my cousin Hussain Akbarally (my mother’s sister’s son), with an annual fundraiser. As the meeting progressed, I learned about the club’s long, proud heritage, and my family’s intertwined role in it.

Continue reading

Training the next generation of Rotary leaders

Training leader Mary Helman carries a flag across stage during the 2018 International Assembly.

By Marty Helman, past governor of District 7780 and a member of the Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA

I was fortunate enough to serve as a training leader at this year’s International Assembly, an annual training exercise for incoming Rotary leaders. It is a rarified atmosphere. All of us training leaders were well aware of both the privilege and responsibility wrapped up in the invitation to train the next generation of Rotary leaders.  Continue reading

In Rotaract, we see, feel, and act

Members of the Rotaract club perform community service.

By Fatima Khurram, Rotaract Club of Faisalabad Janubi, Pakistan

Not long ago, a mother of one of our members saw on the news a documentary about a widow struggling to provide for herself and her three adult children living with disabilities. Her house was broken and she had no income to support them.

When word reached us, we called the news channel to ask for contact information so we could visit her. The very next day, a group from my club visited. Continue reading

Incoming district governors prepared to Be the Inspiration

By Hank Sartin, Rotary editorial staff

District governors-elect got their first look at the 2018-19 presidential theme Be the Inspiration Sunday at the International Assembly, an annual training event for incoming district leaders. RI President-elect Barry Rassin urged the audience to build a stronger organization by inspiring a younger generation and by getting the word out to the community at large about the work Rotary does. “I will ask you to inspire with your words and with your deeds: doing what we need to do today, to build a Rotary that will be stronger tomorrow; stronger when we leave it, than it was when we came.”

We caught up with incoming district governors after the theme was announced to get their thoughts on being the inspiration. Continue reading

5 reasons why Pakistan needs Rotaract

By Fatima Khurram, newsletter editor for District 3272

1. Polio

Administering polio vaccine at the train station

Pakistan is one of only three countries that have never stopped the transmission of the wild polio virus, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria. Two years ago, polio was widespread in my country. Today, through Rotary’s efforts we are down to a very few cases. In fact, worldwide, Rotary has helped drop the incidence of polio by 99 percent since it began the effort to eradicate this disease. We need Rotary to bring us to the goal we are all hoping for, an end to polio in Pakistan, and everywhere. Every year, polio vaccines are donated to each province of Pakistan and immunization workers carry out the honorable effort of administering the vaccine, sometimes at personal risk, to children. Continue reading