The beginning of my Rotary story: polio drops in India

Administering polio drops during an immunization trip to India.

Editor’s note: This is the first of a series of posts from polio eradication volunteers, Rotary staff, and survivors in honor of World Polio Day 24 October.

By Nancy Barbee, past governor of District 7730 (North Carolina, USA)

Picture a small town country girl from North Carolina on her way to India for the first time with her 12-year-old son. A personal mission to visit friends in the remote state of Bihar was the beginning of my Rotary story that has lasted for more than a decade. Continue reading

Being the oxygen that fuels the flame (of service)

Vasanth Kuppuswamy motivates students in Tamil Nadu, India.

By Bill Smyth, Rotary Club of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, USA

It’s not every day that an eighth-grade student’s essay rivets a teacher’s attention. But this one themed “The Oxygen That Fueled the Flame” got mine.

The essay, written by a student at Buist Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, USA, described his experience two summers earlier teaching English in Tamil Nadu, India, motivated by a desire to make a difference in kid’s lives. The story would have been powerful enough if the student had been of high school age, but this was the story of a 12-year-old boy. Continue reading

Empowering women in India through education

Women in the second chance literacy program.

Women in the second chance literacy program.

By Manish Shroff, past president of the Rotary Club of Ankleshwar, India

Our Rotary club is surrounded by rural and tribal villages in the Bharuch District of Gujarat State, India. The literacy rate in these villages is low and dropout rates of students in primary schools are high, most particularly among girls. We wanted to do something about that. Continue reading

Why I have come to love India

Cynde Covington administers drops of the polio vaccine

Cynde Covington administers drops of the polio vaccine during a previous visit in India.

By Cynde Covington, Rotary Club of Southpoint, Jacksonville, Florida, USA, and Zone 34 team leader

This is our fourth National Immunization Day (NID) trip to India and our third leading the NID Team from Rotary International Zone 34. I have fallen in love with this magnificent, beautiful country and the people who live there. Continue reading

Sing, Dance, and Keep India Polio-Free!

Selfies at a Khera Khurd polio rally

So much warmth, hospitality, and joy at the polio rally in Khera Khurd, a village on the outskirts of Delhi. And so many fun selfies! #endpolio

ingridBy Ingrid Schwab, Rotary staff

Amit says it feels like our team has been in India for a week, but really it’s been about two days. It definitely feels like a lifetime. This is the first Rotary staff Sub-National Immunization Day (SNID) trip to India, and our schedule is full of activities to experience and understand the fight to end polio. On this day, our colleagues at Rotary’s National PolioPlus office, Amit, Lokesh, and Deepak, arranged for us to take part in a polio awareness rally in Khera Khurd, a village on the outskirts of Delhi. Continue reading

Workshops teach students to be good citizens

Students at the workshop

Students respond to a question during the two-day workshop.

By Rajesh Kumar Modi, Rotary Club of Mumbai Borivali East, India

Children are the future of any country. We as members of Rotary have an opportunity to mold them in such a way that they can emerge as efficient and valuable resources for our country. All it takes is changing the way we approach our club activities. Not every project has to be a huge project. Sometimes, size isn’t the only indicator of success. Continue reading

A Rotary Passage to India

By David Goodstone, Rotary senior writer

As a writer, I’m always looking for metaphors and similes, especially in unfamiliar places, searching for the right phrase to tell a story.

On my first Rotary trip to India with Rotary Polio Ambassador Minda Dentler, the story I was seeking to tell was the work of Rotary members and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. My task was easy. For in India’s sights, objects, and even signs, rich metaphors are abundant.

Take this sign on the back of a ubiquitous Tata truck: “Obey the Traffic Rules.”

160108_trucks

Tata truck in India

Continue reading

Free toys brighten children’s lives

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Children receive their toys in Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

By Rotary Voices staff

A girl clutched the new purse she had just received during the annual toy giveaway in the community of Badami Bagh, Lahore, Pakistan.

Another child examined the coloring books and colored pencils with interest, while a crowd of other children and their parents surrounded a table in the market square, waiting their turn to select a free toy. Continue reading

A good day at Katkar Wadi

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

Some of the children at the school we visited. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Dombivli East

By Dr. Swati Gadgil, Rotary Club of Dombivli East, Maharashtra, India

Our Rotary club’s women’s welfare society recently went to a tribal settlement in Katkar Wadi, where we visited 60 households and a 35-student school for kindergarten through grade four, handing out notebooks, writing materials, clothing, and utensils. Many of the women in the settlement have never been to school, and it is a rare occasion when they even travel out of their community. Our youth wing conducted games for the children, also engaging our members in the fun.

We were also able to plant trees in the community and distribute snacks and treats. The team left with the determination to adopt the settlement and make a significant difference for years to come.

India eye surgeons share skills with peers in Ethiopia

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

Members of the vocational training team of eye specialists from India perform an eye surgery in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy Rotary District 3140

By Suhas B. Naik-Satam, past president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Chembur West, Maharashtra, India

In March, during our silver jubilee year, my Rotary club sponsored a vocational training team of ophthalmologists to Ethiopia to improve the abilities and skills of eye surgeons at various medical centers there.

Under the direction of club president S.R. Balasubramanian and led by Dr. Haresh Asnani, a past president of our club, the team of three super specialists included a vitreoretinal surgeon, a pediatric ophthalmologist/squint specialist, and an oculoplastic surgeon/ocular oncologist. Our club partnered with Beyond Eye Care, an organization that manages the India Eye Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. Continue reading