By Tamara Gojkovic, past president and treasurer of the Rotaract Club of Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Before I joined Rotary, I had only heard of it by name. I didn’t know anything more. Then one of the assistants at my university asked if I’d want to join their club. He noticed how active I was at university and with several nongovernmental organizations, and he thought Rotaract would be a great fit for me. I’m really grateful he did, because that created a whole new part of my life. That was almost four years ago now.
By David Higgs, president, Rotary Club of Henderson, Texas, USA
When I was asked to serve as president of our local Rotary club, I knew I needed to focus on recruiting new members during my term. Our club was down to about 20 members and far too often we would have less than a dozen at our weekly meeting. So, I took some of the ideas I learned at Presidents Elect Training Seminars and molded an approach to enlisting new members.
By Dominica Pradere, past president, Rotary Club of Montego Bay, Jamaica
When Jamaica’s borders closed in March 2020 from the COVID-19 pandemic, I was packed and ready for a trip to Trinidad and Tobago, where I planned to connect with other Rotary members, as I normally do when I travel. Naturally I was sad and disappointed at having to cancel my plans. Lockdowns and curfews, as well as government restrictions limiting the movements of citizens, further isolated many retirees like myself as we tried to “stay safe.”
My club began meeting online immediately. I became aware that many clubs around the world were doing likewise, and my life was transformed when I received a spreadsheet created by the Rotary Club of Mount Lawley, Western Australia, Australia, showing details of clubs that had started to meet virtually.
During a discussion of candidates for an upcoming club election, a member objects to one candidate on the grounds that she’s a mother of young children and wouldn’t have the time to commit to Rotary. What would you do?
By Samson Tesfaye Woldetensaie, 2020-21 assistant governor for District 9212, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
In my club, Rotary Club of Addis Ababa Central-Mella, we are currently working on a water project to develop and build wells in 24 rural communities in southern Ethiopia. The evidence and data that we gathered have helped us identify the community’s needs and helped us determine the best way to address them.
This project aims to improve the quality of life of the residents who lack access to clean water and the daily routines once clean water is near and accessible. These communities often have to walk long distances to reach a water source that is often dirty and carries water-borne diseases.
By S Marathe (full name withheld upon author’s request)
As a young Rotary member who has lived with a vision impairment, I have come to understand the importance of allies. An ally is anyone that actively aspires to be inclusive and is intentional through their thoughts, actions, and words to consciously promote a respectful and inclusive culture.
Many organizations are actively attempting to address the low employee representation across minority groups of gender, culture, and disability and are adopting a range of strategies. But many times, it’s the day-to-day actions that make the most difference. For International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December, I wanted to share some of the characteristics that make a great ally. Continue reading →
A decade ago, Jackie Huie and members of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, launched a program that has helped hundreds of local high school students learn more about their dream careers by connecting them with professionals in those fields. The program is still running strong. And Huie talks about the value of the program, and what she loves about Rotary in this podcast. Learn more about the program at https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-pairs-students-top-mentors
Editor’s Note: Jeremy Opperman is a member of Rotary’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion taskforce and a regular contributor to this blog on issues related to disability inclusion.
By Jeremy Opperman, Rotary Club of Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa
Like countless others I imagine, I watched the compelling events to celebrate the birthday of Archbishop Emeritus and Nobel Peace laureate Desmond Tutu, or as he is also fondly known, “The Arch.”
What struck me almost immediately was how the messages from the internationally respected leaders departed from the usual gushy sentimental birthday tributes so loved by celebrities. After short heartfelt tributes to their dearest Arch, South African Professor Thuli Madonsela; Graça Machel, widow of two heads of state (Nelson Mandela and Mozambique’s Samora Machel); and Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and past UN Special Advisor on the Environment, all leapt straight in with some serious no holds barred truth telling.
What can you do when a global pandemic shuts down international and regional travel, the ability to visit your favorite restaurants, or even the ability to attend your regular Rotary club meeting?
Two members of our club came up with an ingenious answer that has engaged our members and captured the attention of new members. Matt Wideman, immediate past president, and Jamie Culver, president-elect, felt that profiling long-time members with a video interview would be the perfect solution to keep members connected during the COVID-19 pandemic.