Overcoming Ebola, poverty to educate children in Liberia

Students at African Dream Academy in Liberia.

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

On the 1st of July, the African Dream Academy successfully concluded our 2016-17 academic year, our sixth year educating the children of Liberia. Despite lingering effects of the Ebola outbreak (2014-15) in our country and many other poverty-related obstacles, we were able to educate 945 children this year, and provide free health care to 17,000 children under the age of six. Continue reading

How my first trip to Africa changed my life

Rotary members and Rotaractors took part in World Polio Day activities as part of the West Africa Project Fair.

Rotary members and Rotaractors took part in World Polio Day activities as part of the West Africa Project Fair.

By Shapreka Clarke, president of the Rotaract Club of Eleuthera, The Bahamas

After an 18-hour flight from The Bahamas, I finally arrived in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on 19 October to participate in the 11th West Africa Project Fair. As I stepped off the plane onto African soil for the first time, I did not know the adventure that was ahead of me, the lasting friendships I would make or how my life would forever be changed. That first moment getting off the plane, I remember being very excited and a little nervous. Continue reading

African youth construct kitchen gardens for genocide survivors

Rotaractors take part in clean up

Rotaractors and guests clean up and create kitchen gardens in the village of Kinyinya, Rwanda.

By Peter King Oloo, a member of the Rotaract Club of Kie, Rwanda

Nearly 140 Rotaractors and guests from across the East African countries of Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda gathered in Rwanda on 26 March to participate in the monthly cleaning exercise in Rwanda called Umuganda.

The Rotaractors, through their award-winning annual project called REACT (Rotaract East Africa Impact), had organized a project to construct kitchen gardens and raise funds for medical insurance. Both these activities were geared toward helping the community of the 1994 Rwanda genocide survivors who were resettled in Kinyinya village in Kigali. Continue reading

A milestone for polio eradication

150724_mcgovernEditor’s Note: This post, first published in July, has been revised to reflect the new milestone reached in our fight to eradicate polio, and to celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month. Rotary members have many opportunities to make a difference, including being part of history as we seek a polio-free world. Rotary members have led the way in fundraising, advocacy, and lining up volunteer support for polio eradication.

By Michael McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee

Africa has now marked a full year with no new cases of polio caused by the wild poliovirus anywhere on the continent.

This is the longest the continent has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way; it was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa – three-quarters of all cases in the world. Continue reading

Fighting malnutrition with special peanut butter formula

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially developed peanut butter formula.

A child in Sierra Leone eats some of the specially formulated peanut butter.

By Rotary Voices staff

Severe acute malnutrition kills millions of children around the world every year. Those who don’t die often suffer from stunted growth and other health problems. More children between the ages of one and three die of inadequate food intake every year than from HIV/AIDS.

In Sierra Leone, Rotary members are partnering with more than 20 clubs in the United States and Canada to prevent some of these deaths by supplying jars of specially developed peanut butter, known as “Ready to Use Therapeutic Food,” to treat children suffering from malnutrition. The project, funded by a global grant from the Rotary Foundation, began in January of 2013 and is continuing through September. Continue reading

Four countries meet to tackle malaria

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

Members of Rotaract clear blocked ditches and conduct other improvements in the Nyalenda settlement of Kenya.

By Kenneth Masamaro, Rotaract Club of Kisumu, Kenya

On 3 April, we hosted a malaria prevention program in Kisumu, Kenya, as part of the third year of Rotaract East Africa Impact (REACT). The project is a multi-district initiative that brings together Rotaract clubs from throughout Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

More than 100 members from 19 different Rotaract clubs across these countries travelled to the lakeside city to make a difference in the informal settlement of Nyalenda. A story is told of a young boy who was four years old and had many dreams ahead of him. One evening, the boy developed fevers and refused to eat. Though his mother had a premonition about it, she decided to brush it aside. The preceding week, her other two children, a boy and girl, developed fevers and had reduced appetites but their symptoms had resolved on their own. Continue reading

Providing access to healthcare in Africa

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Sue Paget on the go for Rotary Family Health Days.

Based in Johannesburg, Sue Paget is one of the driving forces behind the Rotary Family Health Days in South Africa. She has been married to Trevor for 34 years and has three children. This is the last in a series of blog posts leading up to International Women’s Day 8 March.

“Africa is a harsh reality – we see, hear, and live with suffering on a daily basis, most especially in our disadvantaged communities. And yet the people still shine through.

This is why being involved with Rotary Family Health Days has been so rewarding. It has been incredibly gratifying to know that collectively we have been able to help over 120,000 people in two years access free health services and screenings. Continue reading

Operation Life Jacket saves lives

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire.

Donated life jackets in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

By Sergio Santi, International Commodore of the Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians

In September of 2012, we heard from Bill Kosar, a new member of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians from Kenya, that fishermen or ferry passengers were drowning in local waters every week because of a lack of life jackets. We knew we had to do something to help. Continue reading

Rotaract members in East Africa unite in service

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By Sarah Maingi, Rotaract representative from Kenya

On a warm Saturday morning in April, about 100 Rotaractors from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi gathered at a community in Buterere in Bujumbura, Burundi, to provide households with clean drinking water.

Some of the Rotaractors, myself included, had traveled over 1,000 kilometers by road, and all sacrificed their Easter holidays to serve. Continue reading

Rotaractors deliver free health care in Uganda

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

A member of Rotaract weighs a baby before vaccinating the child against polio.

By Chelsea Ducharme, Rotaract Club of Kasese, Uganda

On 22 February, we packed up our trucks with supplies and traveled 45 minutes to Kyempara, a parish in Kasese District, southwestern Uganda, near the Congolese border.

Kyempara has only one government health center, with one head nurse serving a population of more than 6,000 people. With limited resources, the center is unable to keep up with all the community’s health needs. Our small but mighty Rotaract Club heard their call for help and took action to support our neighbors. Continue reading