Decades of improving life in Uganda and Kenya

Woman at tippy tap
A woman in Uganda uses a new tippy tap to wash her hands in front of a latrine built by Rotary members.

By Chris Roesel, a member of the Rotary E-Club of WASH, District 9980

Chris Roesel
Chris Roesel

I am a Rotary member and the son of a Rotarian, and grew up in rural Georgia, USA, before the Civil Rights Movement. I saw structural and economic problems that I did not know how to fix. Later, I attended the Air Force Academy, but that didn’t show me how to improve the life of people in impoverished communities, either. If anything, it demonstrated what happens when we do not. After I graduated from the academy, I joined the Peace Corps and volunteered in Guatemala. What I saw and experienced there shocked me.

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Lessons in generosity from rural Africa

Members of the Rotary Club of Yumbe, Uganda, participate in a community clean-up project in Achiba village.
Members of the Rotary Club of Yumbe, Uganda, participate in a community clean-up project in Achiba village.

By Helene Dudley, past president of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, Florida, USA

My eyes filled with tears as I attended  a Zoom meeting of the Yumbe, Uganda provisional Rotary Club discussing a service project they were planning to help a nearby village. I reached out in chat to another participant of the meeting who admitted she too was tearing up. The club is not yet officially recognized by Rotary International and the women are well below the poverty line but they are already doing service projects.

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Working toward a malaria-free Zambia is personal

By Eric Liswaniso, member of the Rotary Club of Ndola and the Rotaract Club of Lusaka, Zambia

One of the most frustrating things about malaria is the preventable suffering it imposes on families. The death of a child or a parent, the loss of work, or economic stability can be devastating.

I lost my parents quite early, and life became very difficult for me and my siblings. Fortunately, with help from family members, I was able to complete my education and support my younger siblings through their schooling. But my experience awakened me to the misfortune of many others, for whom losing a parent leads to a lifetime of suffering. I’m now a husband and the father of a two-year-old daughter, so fighting malaria — which particularly affects children under five and pregnant women — is personal.

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‘Hop on the bus’ gets children to school in Liberia

The Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone is partnering with YesLiberia to provide a bus for children to attend one of several YMCA-sponsored schools, where they receive tuition assistance from YesLiberia.

By Meg Ramey and Duke Adams, Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone, Pennsylvania, USA

Since I was first introduced to Rotary in 2016, I have experienced a month-long vocational study trip to Taiwan, became a Rotarian, and met my wife, Dr. Meg Ramey, all through Rotary. Along the way I’ve served a few pancakes, planted some shrubbery for a Martin Luther King memorial, picked up pounds of trash, made some great friends, and had the honor to experience the hospitality of Rotarians locally and abroad. Rotary is awesome! Now, I am embarking on my latest Rotary adventure as the 2021-22 president of the Rotary Club of Harrisburg Keystone.

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Going upstream to reverse the effects of river pollution

Joe Otin

By Joe Otin, past district governor of Rotary District 9212 (Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan)

It’s no wonder that rivers have a special place in art, music, and legend. The founders of mighty cities secured foundations mostly where the life blood of mother nature offered a continuous supply of refreshment. Primitive societies worshiped rivers for the same reason –  they brought a pure supply of the mountain’s offering and booked unwanted waste on a free ride out of town.

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Bridge to success in The Gambia

The project team from left Lamin Manneh, Beth W. Kealy, Maggie Peterson, and Randy Hutchins.

By Maggie Peterson, Rotary Club of Edmonds, Washington, USA

Four members of our club left Seattle on 1 February and flew some 30 plus hours to The Gambia, arriving on the evening of 2 February. The purpose of the trip was to identify a site in the remote area of the Central River Valley for a “pure” science lab. This crucial component for Secondary Schools does not currently exist, effectively cutting off access to college or even high school graduation, as this science lab work is required for both. Continue reading

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