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
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
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
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
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
Students sit at new desks that were provided through a grant organized by the Rotary Clubs of Bikaner, Rajasthan, India, and Kennebunk Portside, Maine, USA
By Rotary Voices staff
There’s still time to make your year-end gift to The Rotary Foundation. Here are a few ways that your support is helping to change lives all over the world: Continue reading
Jose with his high school diploma.
By Martha Peak Helman
Rotary members often say that the work we do will change the lives of people we will never have the chance to meet. But nothing could be further from the truth in Jose’s case.
My Rotarian husband and I first met Jose when he was a gawky teen enrolled at Safe Passage, a program that makes it possible for children who live on the Guatemala City garbage dump to go to school and improve their lives. Through Rotary Foundation grants and Rotary involvement, Safe Passage has grown in the past decade into an organization that supports more than 500 children each year, in preschool through high school and beyond. Continue reading
2014-15 Rotary Youth Exchange students.
By Gabriela Vessani
I spent a year in Canada as a Rotary Youth Exchange student, and I can’t believe how fast the year went by. On my flight back to Brazil a few months ago, I reflected on the experience, and had so many thoughts.
I remembered arriving with anxiety, and yes, even a little fear. The experience is never entirely what you expect and you can never totally prepare for it. I think that few students go in with a full understanding of how intense and Continue reading
RI Director Julia Phelps, back left, visits a classroom in the Philippines taught by one of the teachers who benefited from the 2013 vocational training team.
By Julia Phelps
In May 2013, four science teachers from the Philippines were preparing to return home after a visit to the United States as part of a vocational training team (VTT). They’d spent 30 days observing classrooms, visiting science museums, meeting with policymakers, and making presentations to Rotary clubs in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Continue reading
Andrea Shirey speaks to her Rotary Club about hosting an exchange student.
By Andrea Shirey
On a summer day at my weekly Rotary Club meeting, a simple yes changed everything. A series of events and conversations over several weeks had led a fellow Rotarian to ask me if our family would host an exchange student. Somehow, the word yes fell from my lips as my brain lagged behind just long enough to realize I was committed. Soon, the questions formed:
What if the student is weird? What if my kids don’t get along with her? What if she won’t eat anything I cook and she dislikes America because of me? The doubts were endless, the fears considerable. Continue reading