Gratitude over grief

ARES provides education materials for rural schools in Kenya

Two male teachers look at the screen of a laptop open in front of them
Two teachers in Kenya look at educational content on one of the laptops set up by the ARES project.

By Sean Hogan, past governor of District 5050 (British Columbia, Canada; Washington, USA) and member of the Rotary Club of Pacific Northwest Passport

I lost my wife, Carol, to cancer last June. It was unexpected and quick – two weeks from diagnosis to when she passed, the day before her 61st birthday. We had 42 wonderful years together and three children who grew into amazing adults.

Rotary has been a big part of our lives since I joined at age 27. It’s given us friends and opportunities that we would never have had otherwise, including when I (we) served as District Governor in 2012-13 (Peace Through Service). One of those opportunities was to be part of Rotary service projects in Kenya starting in 2009. Each of our children joined us on separate trips, and it was life changing for all of us.

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North Carolina Rotarians welcome Ukrainian refugee families

The two women sit on a sofa with their children in their laps, and two dogs nearby
Natallia Melnik and Sviatlana Baranava and their children in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA.

By Dan Parks, Rotary Club of Wilmington East, North Carolina, USA

At the end of December, two Ukrainian families arrived in North Carolina, USA, after a whirlwind departure from Kyiv on Christmas day. They traveled through Warsaw and Chicago enroute to North Carolina. It’s been a busy three weeks as I’ve helped get the mothers signed up for Medicaid and their children enrolled in school or settled into daycare.

In late September, I was contacted by a representative from Welcome.US, a nonpartisan national initiative in the United States that was created to inspire, mobilize, and empower Americans from all corners of the country to support those seeking refuge here. The program started in September 2021 to assist those fleeing Afghanistan, but it has since expanded to embrace refugees from the war in Ukraine. Welcome.US is collaborating with Rotary to find hosts for refugee families.

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4 ways to be a disruptor for peace

Four peace fellows sit on steps outside the center
Rotary Peace Fellows at the Rotary Peace Center at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda.

By Rebecca Crall, Areas of Focus Manager, Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention

In a conversation recently with a group of professional peacebuilders, one of my colleagues (and a new Rotary member) surprised me when he referred to Rotary as a “disruptor for peace.” A disruptor for peace? That was something new and unexpected.

Disruption signals great change – change that’s happening fast. It often feels like it’s taking place at a dizzying pace, and it’s associated with chaos and displacement. It’s not something we often imagine wanting more of. But my colleague’s comment got me thinking of disrupting for good: using our platform as Rotary members to disrupt violence and create peace. Can we apply this idea to build a future where peace is our norm?

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New passport club points to bright future

By Bob Hyde, Rotary Club of Miami Brickell and Miami Brickell Passport,  Florida, USA

Marcy Ullom

About two years ago, Marcy Ullom and her husband sold their longtime home in Miami and relocated to Brevard County, Florida. That took Marcy away from her Rotary Club of Miami Brickell, but also well above District 6990’s northern boundary. She attended a few club meetings near her new home, but “nothing clicked” and she “missed her peeps.” She considered what to do.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at its height, many clubs had switched to meeting virtually – including Miami Brickell. Marcy began thinking about the benefits of virtual meetings, and an idea sprang up. With a few more Brickell Rotarians, she began an informal, weekly Zoom gathering. The nucleus of a new Rotary Club had come into being.

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Creating peace clubs in Nigerian schools

A women draws a cloud on a pink sheet of paper while several other people around a table watch
Participants of a workshop in Nigeria designed to prevent violent extremism among youth.

By Eyerusalem Azmeraw, Project Officer, UNESCO IICBA, and Pietro Uzochukwu Macleo, Chair of the Rotary Nigeria National Peacebuilding and Conflict Prevention Committee and Peace Chair for the Great Britain and Ireland – Nigeria Rotary Intercountry Committee

In February 2022, we joined together with other colleagues to organize a workshop in Nigeria on preventing violent extremism among young people. Conflict and violence have long been prevalent in the country, with youth recognized as having a role in preventing extremism. Our aim was to address violent extremism and its underlying causes among youth by strengthening the ability of teachers to deal with these issues.

Through a train-the-trainers model, we empowered learners to critically examine their beliefs, values, and knowledge in order to develop critical thinking. We relied on transformative pedagogy, a holistic educational approach that engages learners as whole persons in collaborative and participatory activities for peacebuilding. The approach creates a sense of interdependence and interconnectedness among people who are learning to live together.

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