Unexpected lessons from my disaster relief experience

Yannis Comino with ShelterBox aid supplies.

By Yannis Comino

Over my summer break at the University of Newcastle in New South Wales, I decided to trade in the warmer weather of Australia for an English winter. Why, you might ask, would I do such a thing? Well, the only way I can explain it is — I was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. During my New Generations Service Exchange at the headquarters of ShelterBox International in Truro, Cornwall, I gained priceless insight and first-hand experience in disaster relief management. Continue reading

What I love about Rotaract

Rotaractors from all over the world gather at Interota 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan.

By Elyse Lin, a member of the Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

I can never forget the most life-changing dinner I ever attended. It was June 2013, and members of the Rotary Club of Taipei Tin Harbour invited me to a special reunion. The  Rotarians, who sponsored the student service club I belonged to on campus, wanted to start a new Rotaract club with all the college students they helped. My experience since I joined that new club almost five years ago has far exceeded my expectations.  Continue reading

Rotaract runs in the family

Spelling out Rotaract with visiting Rotaractors in Sri Lanka.

By Jumana Amiruddeen, Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Whenever I meet my mother’s close friends, whom we affectionately call aunties and uncles, their stories always begin with “during our time in Rotaract … ”

I didn’t fully understand and appreciate what Rotaract was all about until I found myself attending my first meeting of the Rotaract Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, at age 23 to support the club president, my cousin Hussain Akbarally (my mother’s sister’s son), with an annual fundraiser. As the meeting progressed, I learned about the club’s long, proud heritage, and my family’s intertwined role in it.

Continue reading

New shoes delight children in Uganda

Children try on shoes as part of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South’s service project.

By Immy Julie Musoke Nakyeyune, president of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda

A mist was rising over the meadow when I arrived early in the morning at Nyakishumba with members of my Rotaract club, brimming with excitement for the day ahead. Located in the hilly Kabale District of western Uganda, Nyakishumba is colder than most of the surrounding region. So we were bundled in our heavy coats this September day as we hurried to set up the medical camp in time; coordinating with the health care workers, arranging the necessary medicines, and establishing diagnostic stations and areas for HIV testing.

It has been almost three years since we first visited the community to do our needs assessment, discovering their unique concerns and needs. The first phase of our project in 2016 had focused on supporting education at the primary school. Now, we were addressing disease prevention, maternal and child health, education, and economic and community development. We were all excited at the opportunity Rotaract was providing us to work with members of other clubs to help this community. Continue reading

How we started a new Rotaract club

Members of the Sewanee Rotaract Club visit Pelham Elementary School to promote physical exercise and serve as role models.

By Samuel R. Kern, Rotaract Club of Sewanee, Tennessee, USA

I was walking out of my accounting class this summer when I received a message from the dean of students asking if I would be willing to start a Rotaract club at the university for the fall semester. I knew nothing about Rotaract and very little about Rotary but Dean Gentry assured me he would be our club adviser and provide support, so I accepted. Sewanee does not have a plethora of clubs with the national or international recognition that Rotaract has, and I felt confident that students would be interested. Continue reading

What makes your Interact club great?

This week, World Interact Week, we honor the accomplishments of an estimated half a million Interact club members. And we are recognizing the positive impact young people have made through Interact for more than 55 years.

To celebrate Interact we asked clubs around the world, “What makes your Interact club great?” Here are some of the responses: Continue reading

Why you should enter the 2017 Interact Video Awards

By Andrei Precup, president of the Interact Club of Constanta, Romania

We were honored to be selected as best video in last year’s Interact Video Awards. Our goal was to open people’s eyes to the need to take care of our planet and ourselves.

We were driven to take part both because it was something different from our usual activities and because the theme was so interesting (If Interactors ruled the world). I remember being at our club’s meeting when our president announced the idea of making a video. Many people were very excited. Our club likes taking on new challenges and trying things for the first time. Continue reading

The benefits of dual membership in Rotaract, Rotary

Delivering school supplies in Kashmir, Pakistan.

By Muhammad Talha Mushtaq, a member of the Rotaract Club of Jhang Saddar and the Rotary Club of Jhang Metropolitan

When I joined Interact back in 2009, I had no idea the path it would set me on or that it would change my life forever.

I enjoyed many successful service projects with my fellow members of Interact, as we assisted victims of the great flood of 2010. One-fifth of Pakistan’s total land area and 20 million people were directly affected by floods. We were able to collect a sizable sum of money and donations in kind during three days of scorching July heat. It was then that I understand the meaning of this quote by Oprah Winfrey: Continue reading

Learn to lead through Interact

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Riley Benton, a member of the Interact Club of Coffee County Central High School, Manchester, Tennessee, USA

I had already participated in different service projects when I joined Interact in my freshman year of high school. I have been a member all four years of high school, and it has shaped me into a servant leader. Continue reading

Make someone smile, and see how it changes you

Members of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen donate toys during a community breakfast attended by 100 children.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of blog posts from Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month. 

By Nicolas Silva, member of the Rotaract Club of Trenque Lauquen, Argentina

Four years ago, our club undertook a project called “Todo Sirve,” which literally means “’everything serves.” We collected donations in our city, including food, drinking water, clothes, children’s toys, bikes, and beds for an aboriginal low-income community, the Qom village, located in Formosa, a northern province of Argentina.

I will never forget hearing the word “gnashek” (Qom for ‘thanks’) from a woman who I was giving a box of donations to.
Continue reading