Discussing maternal health in Canada

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime MInister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, addresses Rotary members in Canada during a recent Rotary Day.

By Douglas W. Vincent, Rotary Club of Woodstock-Oxford, Ontario, Canada

In January, the Rotary Club of Mississauga Meadowvale hosted a Rotary Day event exploring what we as Rotary members can do to improve the health of mothers and their children, through our club projects and working with the United Nations. Rotary has had a long-standing relationship with the UN dating all the way back to its formation, and improving maternal health and reducing child mortality are two of the UN Millennium Development Goals.

We invited a special guest, Laureen Harper, wife of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Continue reading

How we survived the Mississippi River in a kayak

Ken Robertshaw and Grace during their trip down the Mississippi River.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during their trip down the Mississippi River.

By Ken Robertshaw, Rotary Club of Halifax, Yorkshire

On 7 August, my friend Grace and I set out on an expedition to kayak the length of the Mississippi River. We completed the journey on 4 October.

Our goal was to raise funds for a charity in the United Kingdom, The Theodora Children’s Trust, that places specialist entertainers in Children’s hospitals and hospices to cheer up ill children and assist their recovery through laughter.

The journey was not without problems. We encountered severe electrical storms, woke Continue reading

Ebola puts dream to educate Liberian children on hold

Samuel Enders with students from the African Dream Academy.

Samuel Enders with students from the African Dream Academy.

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

Having grown up in poverty in Liberia, West Africa, I know firsthand both the dire need for better educational opportunities in that country and the empowerment that a quality education provides. I experienced the death of my father when I was just two months old and struggled to survive through the country’s bloody civil war that ravaged the economy, infrastructure, and people.

In 2005, I founded African Dream Academy (ADA) to help Liberia’s youth escape the iron grip of poverty. We have provided counseling to thousands of children in two week intervals several times a year, and in 2012, opened our first fully academic school where we teach 140 children in classes from nursery through fourth grade.  Continue reading

Kayaking the Mississippi River to cheer up sick children

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

Ken Robertshaw and Grace Alsancak during a stop in the kayaking challenge.

By Ken Robertshaw, a member of the Rotary Club of Halifax, West Yorkshire, England

I had the misfortune of seriously injuring my leg 35 years ago, requiring six operations, and the leg still troubles me. So I know how challenging hospital stays can be, even with the best efforts of the medical staff.

Imagine how much worse it is for a child; frightened, sick, and away from family and friends. A while ago, I learned about a small charity in the United Kingdom called the Theodora Children’s Trust that specializes in sending in trained entertainers to bring mirth and merriment to children in the hospital.  Continue reading