7 features of a highly effective service project

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

Rotary members in Virginia, USA, deliver mobility equipment for a local hospital.

By Richard Cunningham, Rotary Club of James River, Richmond, Virginia, USA

We cannot expect to grow membership without engaging our members in service. RI President John Germ has stated this unequivocally and our club is taking that to heart.

Selecting the right project, therefore, is critical to the health of your club. Here’s a few basic principles we’ve found to be true about service projects: Continue reading

How Rotary is providing opportunities for a brighter future

School children in Kampala, Uganda.

School children in Kampala, Uganda.

By Carolyn Johnson, Vice-Chair of the Literacy Rotarian Action Group and member of the Rotary Club of Yarmouth, Maine, USA

Recently, I visited a small government school outside Kampala, Uganda. The school is located on the edge of a growing community, but most of these students live in a small nearby fishing village.

Many of the children were barefoot and dressed in what they could assemble of the school uniform. The school is basic: a concrete floor, block walls and a tin roof- but clean and neat, with all the children wearing broad smiles and clearly happy to be in school with caring and supportive teachers. The first time I visited this school, it was a very different sight.  Continue reading

Children draw the most interesting things

Children and their drawings

Children display their drawings about the environment.

By Shiv Agrawal, past president of the Rotary Club of Bokora Midtown Couples, Jharkhand, India

Protecting our environment is probably one of the most important issue of our day. My club wanted to tap the creativity of children, and see what they were thinking about the environment. So we organized a drawing competition to let children unleash their imagination and build an awareness of the issue. Continue reading

Workshops teach students to be good citizens

Students at the workshop

Students respond to a question during the two-day workshop.

By Rajesh Kumar Modi, Rotary Club of Mumbai Borivali East, India

Children are the future of any country. We as members of Rotary have an opportunity to mold them in such a way that they can emerge as efficient and valuable resources for our country. All it takes is changing the way we approach our club activities. Not every project has to be a huge project. Sometimes, size isn’t the only indicator of success. Continue reading

What do you get when you give to The Rotary Foundation?

Ann Syrett, middle, with Past District Governor Ron Lucas and David Riley, president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle under Lyme

Ann Syrett, middle, with Past District Governor Ron Lucas, who served as her counselor during her scholarship year, and David Riley, president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle-under-Lyme

By Ann Syrett, former Ambassadorial Scholar and member of the Rotary Club Sunrise of Road Town, British Virgin Islands

In April, I paid an emotional visit to the Rotary Club of Newcastle-under-Lyme that had hosted my Ambassadorial Scholarship more than 40 years ago while I attended Keele University in North Staffordshire, England.

As I shared my experiences with them, I reflected upon how much the experience had changed my life. I grew up in Astoria, Oregon, and the cultural differences between small town USA and Keele University were immense. Continue reading

Building a better tomorrow for youth of Kenya

Class beside new bathrooms

The author with Kenyan students and their teacher in front of the new bathrooms provided by Rotary.

By Sarah Rolfing

No matter how many times I visit the slum in Nairobi or the poverty-stricken schools in the outskirts of the city, I’m not prepared for the feeling of despair that follows. Basic human rights, such as educational opportunity and access to healthcare, are constantly upended by poverty in many regions of Kenya. Children are often the most vulnerable, and the impact on education and the advancement of society is significant.

Lack of resources should not compromise the right to education, particularly in a society that has considerable disparities in wealth. Since 2013, the Rotary Club of Sumner, Washington, USA, has partnered with low-income schools in Southern Kenya to provide bathroom facilities for students with special needs. Lack of basic sanitation at schools across the region is common, negatively impacting health, hygiene, and attendance. Poor health makes education an afterthought, and Rotary’s investment in creating healthy environments for students in Kenya is impacting thousands on a daily basis. Continue reading

Scholarship program is Rotary alum’s way of giving back

Keyla with diploma

Keyla receives her diploma through the program.

By Richard Hartwig, Rotary Club of Kingsville, Texas, USA

One day in 1964, during my junior year at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois, USA, I was approached by Professor Frank Klingberg, who asked if I would like to be nominated for a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship (the predecessor of today’s global grant scholarships.) Two years later, I was off to Argentina, arriving just after a military coup, which was excellent training for a budding political scientist.

I owe much of my career as a political science professor to Rotary. The last few years, I have had a chance to give back as international services director for our Rotary Club.  One of our two international projects is a scholarship program for poor students in Mexico. Continue reading

Winning big with chess and Rotary

A mother plays a game of chess with her son.

Mother and son enjoy a game of chess as part of the Rotary Club of Point Fortin project.

By Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal, a member of the Rotary Club of Point Fortin, Trinidad, West Indies

I have always had an interest in chess. So I was thrilled when Raymond Aaron, project coordinator of the “Chess in Schools” project and a past president of my Rotary club, invited me to be on the project committee. Our project is introducing primary and secondary school children to the game of chess.

When I joined Rotary in January, it was a life changing experience for me. I come from a background in academia, which can be quite isolating, no matter how hard you try for it not to be. So joining my Rotary club helped me get reconnected to my community.   Continue reading

A South African’s Youth Exchange to Denmark

Ronan Morgan and South African flag

Rotary Youth Exchange student Ronan Morgan holds up the South African flag.

By Ronan Morgan

I had just arrived in Denmark after a 13-hour flight from South Africa, tired, but not exhausted. I was excited and ready to face a year of surprises and challenges as a Rotary Youth Exchange student from District 9400. It was not until I moved into my new home where I would spend the first five months of my exchange that it fully hit me – I was not in Johannesburg anymore, or anywhere familiar. Continue reading

Need a great education project for your club?

Students and teachers

Students and teachers from one of the participating schools.

By Quentin Wodon

Last month, I had the pleasure of serving as an essay judge for a great program that strengthened the writing, research, and presentation skills of hundreds of high school seniors in the Washington D.C. area. The College and Career Senior Challenge, organized by the nonprofit One World Education, is a great example of a nonprofit working collaboratively with a public school district to achieve wonderful results for students. My club is thinking of putting together a global grant to expand this project, and would love the support of additional clubs, so let me explain how our effort works. Continue reading