Jack Bechaud with children in Cusco, Peru.
By Jack Bechaud, Rotary Club of Lake in the Hills, Illinois, USA
If you would have told me a few years ago that I’d be lugging 15 bags of cement in the high mountains of Cusco, Peru, to help local villagers, I would not have believed you.
It sounds a little cliché, but Rotary has helped me come so far, in so many ways. It’s helped me grow as a person in ways I never thought possible. It’s brought joy back to my life. Continue reading
Villagers increased their income by learning more efficient ways to raise guinea pigs and other livestock. Photo courtesy of Willem van Immerzeel
By Willem van Immerzeel, a member of the Rotary Club of Inka Cusco, Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru, where I live, is a touristy place. Most visitors get only a glimpse of the poverty that exists in rural areas in my country. But poverty is a very real side of Peruvian society, deeply impacting the lives of the millions engulfed in it. Widespread poverty has a destabilizing effect on society and goes a long way in explaining the extreme violence that dominated life in Peru for decades.
Since I was young, I considered it my duty to contribute to end poverty. In the early 1980s, I worked as a volunteer in Guinea Bissau, Africa, and later in Cusco. I soon discovered that projects can provide relief for some, but eradicating poverty for many requires much more. Continue reading
Ron Denham, chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, addresses Rotary’s commitment to water at an independently organized TED event.
By Ron Denham, a member of the Rotary Club of Toronto Eglinton, Ontario, Canada, and chair of the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group.
A change is taking place in the way Rotarians approach water and sanitation programs.
We realize that the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals is something that no organization can achieve on its own; not even Rotary with its 33,000 clubs and over 1.2 million members. To be successful we need leverage, the leverage that comes from collaboration with others who share our goals. Continue reading
Justin Bodin with some of the bracelets he made. Photo courtesy of Holmen Area Rotary Club.
By Steve Johnston, a member of the Holmen Area Rotary Club
When it comes to giving, Justin Bodin excels.
Justin, 24, became a member of the Holmen Area Rotary Club, Holmen, Wisconsin, USA, three years ago and quickly found a way to help children in a community in Peru enjoy a better Christmas. And it all started with something as simple as making a friendship bracelet.
Justin was born with a congenital heart disorder and was a special needs student through school. At 14, a friend of the family taught him how to tie friendship bracelets. Continue reading
By Derek Locke, member of the Rotary Club of Dearborn Heights, Michigan, USA, and a ShelterBox Response Team volunteer.
Derek Locke, left, and Iquitos Rotary Club President Hugo Chacaltana, right, with a family in Peru who received emergency shelter. Photo courtesy of ShelterBox
I am currently on deployment in Iquitos, Peru, with ShelterBox, where area communities are suffering from the worst flood in 26 years. When I first arrived, the level of the Amazon River was still almost 1.5 meters above the normal flood level.
I’ve been struck by the natural beauty of the rain forests and the Amazon River and its tributaries, while also mindful of the tremendous force of these rivers when they are swollen by snow melt and heavy rainfall. Continue reading