Rotary news in brief from around the globe
Rotary clubs around the globe have many things in common, including a commitment to service. All year long, clubs are taking action to make a difference in their communities. Here’s a roundup of recent club activities worldwide:
The 87th annual International Goodwill Meeting was held in Winnipeg, Man., in February, commemorating the founding of the Rotary Club of Winnipeg, the first club outside the United States. The event drew 125 Canadian and U.S. Rotarians, who celebrated the international connections within Rotary. Seven Winnipeg-area clubs hosted the gathering.
To raise funds for playground renovations at a speech-therapy kindergarten, the Rotaract Club of Ostrava hosted a rock music marathon in November. Club members worked with one of the city’s most popular music venues, Fabric Club, and four local bands to organize the event for 200 people, who paid US$14-18 for tickets. The Rotaractors also volunteered to work on the playground, which is designed to help the children develop their motor and cognitive skills.
Members of the Rotary clubs of Stratford, Woodstock, and Woodstock-Oxford, Ont., Canada, set up eight temporary clinics in mountain communities around the city of Quetzaltenango, providing care to 1,200 people over two weeks in November. In addition to medical and dental treatment, 23 health care professionals – including two doctors, a dentist, a pharmacist, a physiotherapist, and several nurses – provided lessons on personal health and hygiene and distributed reading glasses, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. Some of the nurses were volunteers from CarePartners, an Ontario-based nursing services provider. The Stratford club purchased medications, and Medical Equipment and Supplies Abroad, a project of District 6600 (Ohio, USA), donated dental and medical equipment.
The Rotary Club of Beirut-Cedars created its own online daily paper last year through Paper.li, a publishing service. The publication pulls news from the Web and the club’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, focusing on subjects related to Rotary, peace, polio, and other humanitarian topics. Links to the paper and top stories are posted on Twitter to increase publicity for the club; go to http://twitter.com/rcbeirutcedars.
A 100-acre orchard planted in 2006 has grown to more than 1,200 acres and is now Mongolia’s largest. Korean and Mongolian Rotarians planted five windbreak forests, one of which included the orchard, to help avert damage from Gobi sandstorms, which can affect Korea and other distant areas. The initiative, called Keep Mongolia Green, has received funding from Rotarians, Rotary Foundation Matching Grants, and the Mongolian government. The government also subsidizes a nearby juice factory to process the fruit from the orchard, and an agricultural cooperative provides jobs for local people.
The Rotary Club of Ashburton Plains harvested a record amount of gourmet potatoes last year for its annual Christmas fundraiser. The 2,884 bags, each weighing nearly 9 pounds, sold for NZ$10 each, and the effort netted over $27,000. The money supports club projects and scholarships, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards events, and the Ashburton Rowing Club, which works with the Rotarians to dig up the spuds. For the 2011 holiday season, the club also donated 164 bags to local food banks.
Women and children in the village of Binunga once had to hike down a mountain for water, then haul it back up by hand. Because of a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant project sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Forest Hills, Pa., USA, and Kigali-Virunga, solar-powered pumps now send 8,800 gallons of water to the village from a spring-fed reservoir every day. The project also benefits the Urukundo Home for Children, a school and orphanage in the village that houses 46 young people.
To celebrate 100 years of Rotary in Florida, the state’s first club, the Rotary Club of Jacksonville, and District 6970 raised funds for a mobile health bus that will visit schools, churches, community centers, and shopping areas to provide screenings, inoculations, and basic care to local children and families. Kalyan Banerjee, 2011-12 RI president, and his wife, Binota, were on hand to dedicate the bus in February.
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