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

What I love about Rotaract

Rotaractors from all over the world gather at Interota 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan.

By Elyse Lin, a member of the Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

I can never forget the most life-changing dinner I ever attended. It was June 2013, and members of the Rotary Club of Taipei Tin Harbour invited me to a special reunion. The  Rotarians, who sponsored the student service club I belonged to on campus, wanted to start a new Rotaract club with all the college students they helped. My experience since I joined that new club almost five years ago has far exceeded my expectations.  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

Rotary’s amazing capacity to bring people together

Exchange students from District 6990 get together.

By Gabriel de Jesus Abade, former Rotary Youth Exchange Student

When I was 16, like most teenagers, I was focused on my own life. I hadn’t really thought about joining a service club or dedicating myself to helping others. But that changed when a high school friend began talking to me about Rotary, and its local and global actions. I was captivated and wanted to learn more. 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

Whirlwind tour of alumni in Japan

Bill Rintz, second from left, in the radio studio with alumni in District 2650.

By Bill Rintz, Rotary alumni relations specialist

A visit to Japan last month took me on a week-long, whirlwind tour. My visits to multiple Rotary districts gave me the chance to meet members of the Rotary family, including classically-trained musicians, development workers, school teachers, architects, university professors, business leaders, and young professionals. Despite their varied backgrounds, those I met have something in common: they proudly call themselves Rotary alumni. 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 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

How we started a new Rotaract club

Members of the Sewanee Rotaract Club visit Pelham Elementary School to promote physical exercise and serve as role models.

By Samuel R. Kern, Rotaract Club of Sewanee, Tennessee, USA

I was walking out of my accounting class this summer when I received a message from the dean of students asking if I would be willing to start a Rotaract club at the university for the fall semester. I knew nothing about Rotaract and very little about Rotary but Dean Gentry assured me he would be our club adviser and provide support, so I accepted. Sewanee does not have a plethora of clubs with the national or international recognition that Rotaract has, and I felt confident that students would be interested. Continue reading

Youth Exchange alumni give back through Rotex

Members of the District 1800 Rotex at the 2017 Rotary Convention in Atlanta.

By Sophie Richter, 2012-13 Rotary Youth Exchange Student

As a Rotary Youth Exchange Student, I spent a year in Thailand. This experience changed my life and my view of the world. When I returned to Germany, I wanted to give something back to Rotary because of how incredibly thankful I was for the opportunity I had been given. Joining our district’s Rotex club was my way of doing that. Continue reading