Rotary and UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education scholarship recipients at the April graduation ceremony. From left: Gonzalo Duro (Argentina), Godfrey Baguma (Uganda), Bernice Asamoah (Ghana), Kaycee Okoli (Nigeria), and Temesgen Adamu (Ethiopia).
By Bernice Asamoah
When I first arrived in the Netherlands, I marveled at how clean everything was and how neatly water was channeled through town. It was very different from my homeland of Ghana, and I was struck by the diversity of Delft’s population.
I had arrived in the Netherlands on a scholarship from The Rotary Foundation to study sanitary engineering at the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. The opportunity came unexpectedly, but has turned out to be a career defining moment. I am so grateful to the Rotary Clubs of Kumasi East and Accra who supported my efforts to meet all the requirements for the scholarship. Continue reading
Primary school children in the Volta region of Ghana use a new spigot to wash their hands.
By Ako Odotei, a member of the Rotary Club of Tema, Ghana, Africa. This is the first in a series of planned posts from Rotary members involved in the Rotary-USAID International H2O Collaboration that supports lasting, positive change to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) initiatives.
When the Rotary-USAID International H20 Collaboration asked Rotary clubs in Ghana to participate in the second phase of the partnership, there was a lot of excitement as well as some trepidation. US$4 million (the amount the collaboration has committed to each country for 2015-18) is a lot of money! Continue reading
By Amy Krug, president of the Rotary Club of Flint, Michigan, USA
We have been heartened by the outpouring of support from Rotary members in response to the water crisis in our city of Flint, Michigan. In April of 2014, a switch in the source of water from Lake Huron to the Flint River without an appropriate corrosive control plan resulted in erosion of pipe scale, lead solder, and lead copper joints which allowed the release of this lead into our water supply. Continue reading
A team of walkers carry a ladder rigged up with water jugs to simulate the burden that women and children in some parts of the world must bear to fetch water.
By Hai-Ryung Sung
Access to clean drinking water and proper sanitation should be a right for all people. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many people still suffer and die from waterborne diseases they contract because of an inadequate supply of water, lack of sanitation, or poor hygiene. In many developing countries, women and children are forced to carry heavy bottles of water for many miles.
As a Rotary Scholar, I had the pleasure of taking part in the GlobalRun4Water recently in North Carolina, USA, raising awareness and money for water- and sanitation-related projects. My scholarship was funded by a global grant sponsored by Districts 3640 (Korea) and 7710 (North Carolina), my host district, which also organized the run. Scott Rossi, a member of the Cary-Kildaire Rotary Club, came up with the idea for the event, and has earned the affectionate nickname, the “Water Guy of District 7710.” Continue reading
Students at a school recently equipped with toilets. Water projects in schools lower dropout rates and prevent the spread of disease.
By Sandy Forster
The young girl shyly held my hand as she took me on a tour of her school — similar, yet strikingly different, from the schools I knew at home, half a world away. The students were eager to have a visitor and excited to show me their work. Since supplies were limited, I could see many students sharing paper, short nubby pencils, and schoolbooks.
I noticed that in the upper primary school grades, four through eight, the classrooms had fewer students, especially girls. The headmaster explained that many children, girls especially, drop out of school to help their mothers bring water from creeks or rivers or when the girls reach the age when their menstrual cycles begin because they don’t have access to bathrooms. He said this particular school didn’t have a water source, nor toilets or even latrines for the students to use. Continue reading
Rotary members, students, and teachers in front of the water purification system in San Miguel.
By Jon Kaufman
From 2 to 8 July, I led my club’s second H2OpenDoors expedition to central Mexico. The three-year-old Rotary project provides SunSpring water purification systems for poor villages and schools and allows the villages to sell the surplus water from the systems.
The project touches on several of Rotary’s areas of focus: providing clean water, building peace (by combating poverty), and educating youth.
We bring along a dozen or so students, as well as a few teachers, so they can see how a simple idea can become a project and benefit thousands of people. We hope the students return to their schools empowered to make a difference. Continue reading
Students use the sound proof therapy room at the Kamalini school for children with hearing and speech impairments.
Prafull Karnik, past president of the Rotary Club of Thane East, Maharashtra, India
Our unique partnership with the Rotary Club of Mission Viejo in California, USA, began more than a decade ago when I was president and I was looking for a centennial project for our club. With other members of the club, I visited Nakhwa School in Thane, established in 1964 to provide education for children from low-income families, and was convinced this would be a great opportunity for us to serve. Continue reading
Michiko Mitarai shows Kenyan villagers a Japanese method for drawing water from a well.
By Michiko Mitarai, Rotary Club of Tokyo Hiroo
Rotary has changed my life in many ways. Through Rotary, I have discovered the world is a bigger place and I have been able to visit parts of it that I would never have been able to if I hadn’t joined.
As a member of the Rotary club of Tokyo Hiroo, I traveled to rural communities in Kenya with members of four different Rotary clubs. We visited 14 wells that our club supported. In Funyula, near the border of Uganda, we even stayed at the house of a member of the Rotary Club of Nairobi East, who was once a member of our club while he served as the Kenyan Ambassador to Japan. Continue reading
Rotary Youth Exchange Students help Rotary members in Minnesota pack school materials for a nonprofit in Guatemala.
By Rotary Voices staff
Rotary clubs in Minnesota, USA, have banded together to send boxes of textbooks to and purchase school supplies for an organization in Guatemala that is helping students from poor families receive an education.
In 2014, the step-daughter of James Benshoof, a member of the Rotary Club of Crystal, New Hope, Robbinsdale, decided to donate dozens of textbooks to Common Hope, a nonprofit based in St. Paul that works to provide educational opportunities, health care, and housing assistance to families outside Antigua Continue reading
A woman in Chaguiton, Honduras, pulls the string to turn on her new ceiling light. Photo courtesy Neal Beard
By Neal Beard, past president of the Rotary Club of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, USA
Rotary members from District 6760 returned from Central America on 5 Feburary, after completing a 59-home electrification project in Chaguiton, Honduras. This was the tenth leg of a journey that began in 2006 for my club.
Over the course of the last ten years, the most exciting and rewarding moments of our lives took place not in the office, or on the shop floor, or while sitting in front of a computer screen, but in the remote mountain villages of southern Honduras.
Those moments have been filled with pure emotion. Like the time when a mother and her children looked on as we built a water storage tank and laundry table that would eliminate their Continue reading