Korean members assess earthquake damage in Turkey, pledge relief

Members of the assessment team from Korea listen to District 2430 Governor Emre Öztürk (white jacket) during a visit to a tent village in the earthquake-damaged area of Turkey.

By Duck-JU Lee, Rotary Club of Cheonan Dream, Korea

After the earthquake that devastated parts of Turkey, a team of Rotary members from District 3620 (Korea) traveled to the affected area to assess the damage and support our fellow Rotarians. The journey to the region where the earthquake caused the most damage was long and arduous. It took our team a solid two days to arrive at our destination.

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Standing in solidarity with Turkey

Boxes of collected supplies waiting for shipment
Rotary Members in Turkey collect and transport emergency supplies for people impacted by the earthquake, including food and water, toys, heaters, hygienic supplies, and clothing.

By Vesna Baur, Rotary Club of Čačak, Serbia

There are times when events in the world leave you speechless. As I watched the news from Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes there, I found myself in disbelief and despair as, day after day, the number of casualties and missing grew. I have friends who live very close to the epicenter, and I have not heard from them. I hold out hope that I will.

My friendships go back decades to when we were teenagers, living in Paris, and our parents were working in France as expatriates. After our parents decided to return to our countries of origin, we stayed in contact loosely through phone and mail.

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Looking (way) back at a big adventure

Katherine Ward (middle) and her daughter (behind, left) in Turkey.

Katherine Ward (middle) and her daughter (behind, left) in Turkey.

By Katherine Ward

Thirty years ago, at the age of 18, I started a grand adventure and boarded a plane on my own toward Istanbul, Turkey. I was headed off on a yearlong Rotary Youth Exchange.

Before I left, I attended several camps that prepared us for culture shock and gave us a general sense of some of the changes we could expect. My high school wouldn’t accept any credits from Turkey, so I had accelerated my course schedule, completing all but one required course to graduate.

I spoke absolutely no Turkish but, despite my struggles with language learning at the Continue reading

Good smells from the kitchen

The team that helped put together the cookbook and some of the young test chefs.

The team that helped put together the cookbook and some of the young chefs.

By Günes Ertas, a Rotary Public Image Coordinator

Rotary members in Turkey partnered with Türkiye Görme Özürlüler Kitaplığı (TÜRGÖK), a library for the blind, to produce the first cookbook for the visually impaired in both Braille and audio CD.

A commission of food engineers, dietitians, members of TÜRGÖK, Rotary members and their spouses, and those who are visually impaired helped select 100 recipes for the book using various criteria paying special attention that the recipes were healthy and included ingredients that are easily Continue reading

My Rotary Moment: Emine’s story

140120_alpayBy Şafak Alpay, RI director-elect and a member of the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Sisli, Turkey

About ten years ago, an ambitious literacy campaign was started in our region using the Concentrated Language Encounter (CLE) method. Like all other clubs, my club Sisli participated with great enthusiasm, running a course for women in one of Istanbul’s slum neighborhoods.

On graduation day, one young woman who was among those to receive their certificates captured everyone’s attention. She had both her lower arms missing, and as her certificate was placed under her armpit, Emine timidly asked her instructor to get the sheet of paper she kept in her pocket. It was a thank-you letter written to the person who taught her to read and write.  Continue reading