Rotarians in Korea are making a difference
The World Peace Bell is the centerpiece of the World Peace Bell Park in Hwacheon-gun, Korea, near the demilitarized zone. Photo courtesy of
The Rotary Korea
Korean Rotarians were active in a wide range of projects last year that helped advance the mission of The Rotary Foundation, including helping to turn remnants of the Korean War into a lasting symbol of peace.
Several Korean clubs collected empty gun cartridges to be melted down and used to make a 37.5-ton bell that is now the central feature of the World Peace Bell Park in Hwacheon-gun. Cartridges from conflicts in 29 other countries, including Ethiopia, Israel, and the Philippines, were also used in the bell.
The park, near the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, was dedicated during a ceremony in May attended by former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.
With the help of Rotary Foundation Matching Grants, Koreans in District 3640 also funded heart surgeries for 240 children through Gift of Life International. Districts 3630 and 3650 funded heart surgeries for 134 children from Mongolia. Gift of Life is run through the efforts of Rotary clubs worldwide.
Other projects that Rotarians in Korea participated in last year contributing to The Foundation's mission of advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace included:
- Sending a 19-member team organized by District 3690 on a National Immunization Day in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, India, to vaccinate children against polio.
- Organizing a festival on 24 October in Seoul City Hall Square to promote Rotary and its programs. Rotaractors handed out What’s Rotary? wallet cards and information about the End Polio Now campaign during the event, which drew more than 10,000 people and raised almost US$1,000.
- Providing medical equipment and an ambulance to Cagayan de Oro City Hospital in the Philippines through a $48,000 Matching Grant project between the Rotary clubs of Daegu-Dongshin, Daegu, and West Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental.
- Cleaning up the Keumgang River with the help of 120 volunteers from the Rotary Club of Ogcheon, Chungcheongbug. The Rotarians removed about 2 tons of garbage from the river.
Excerpted from the 2010 English edition of The Rotary Korea