Small grant leads to big changes for Tanzanian girls

Kisa mentors with Chris

Kisa mentors on a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro with Curt Harris in 2018.

By Curt Harris, past governor, Rotary District 5450

Although I joined Rotary in 1997, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as a Rotary-sponsored fundraiser three years later that I really felt I had become a Rotarian.

This was my first opportunity to visit a developing country and see first-hand what poverty looks like. It is quite an eye-opener. I also got to observe some of the great things that Rotary was doing in the area. On that trip, our team of 11 climbers raised nearly $300,000 to support the Selian Hospital in northern Tanzania. Three years later, I returned with a smaller team, raising $125,000 to help build Selian Hospital’s new sister facility near downtown Arusha. Continue reading

Prevent gender based violence

Elsa Marie D’Silva, 2016 Rotary Peace Fellow.

By Elsa Marie D’Silva, Rotary Peace Fellow alumna, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

During the lockdown enforced due to COVID-19, I have been reaching out to all my friends to see how they are doing. The other day I happened to call one of my girl friends who I know has been in an abusive relationship to find out if she was fine. She answered my call and we exchanged pleasantries. In the midst of the conversation she suddenly went quiet and then started to talk in riddles. I immediately sensed that all was not right and asked her if her partner was around. She could not even answer with a “yes” or “no” and so I quickly reassured her that I understood her situation and we could communicate further on WhatsApp. Continue reading

How women lead differently

By Kathleen Rose, vice president of the Rotary Club of Gilroy, California, USA

I attended the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg, Germany, in June, to widen my own leadership experience as I prepare to serve as club president next year. I was asked to present a breakout session entitled Women’s Leadership Skills: Strengthening Our Rotary Legacy. What an experience! Although I have been a scholar of leadership for many years, have written on the subject often, and have had the opportunity to speak nationally, it was a thrill to present to an international audience of Rotary leaders who are clearly motivated change agents.

If ever there were a time to focus on the work of leadership, the development of leadership skills, and the debate around qualified leadership, it is now. Continue reading

Empowering women in Colombian prisons

Exercise class.

Charlie Ruth Castro leads an exercise class for inmates.

Charlie Ruth Castro

By Charlie Ruth Castro, Rotary E-Club of Sogamoso Global, Colombia

I had to go to prison to understand how education for innovation is the path for empowering millions of Latin American and Caribbean women economically. I’ve never committed a crime; I belong to that group of people who believe education is the most sophisticated tool we have to opening any door.

In 2016, I founded MujeresConDerechos.org with the idea of reminding society that all girls and all women are powerful. For this reason, I have dedicated myself to gathering the most influential leaders through summits, marches, and a television program. The attention and support I have received has been converted into generating innovative programs for girls and women most in need. Continue reading

New award celebrates success of women in Rotary

Tory Paxson, right, with Dr. Sylvia Whitlock.

By Tory Paxson, Rotary Club of Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA

On Tuesday, 13 June, we sat down in a cool auditorium in the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, for the first annual Women in Rotary Event. The four of us sitting together were all women, all members of my Rotary club, and all at our very first Rotary International Convention. We were unaware of the impact this event was about to have on us. But then, the lights began to dim. Continue reading