Rotary news in brief from around the globe
RI President-elect Sakuji Tanaka visited Christ-church in December, where he met local emergency workers who responded to the earthquake in 2011.
R otary 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:
Five for Water, a clean water effort started in 2010 by Bill Prost, of the Rotary Club of Cape Girardeau, Mo., USA, recently installed eight wells in Bolivia. In partnership with Green Mountain Coffee, the initiative sells fair-trade, organic coffee to U.S. Rotary clubs, which use it to raise funds for their own projects; more than 300 clubs are participating. With the proceeds from the sales to clubs and other contributions, Five for Water has raised $184,000 for water projects, benefiting more than 50,000 people in 10 coffee-producing countries.
The Rotary Club of Campbell River Daybreak, B.C., aims to boost numeracy – the ability to understand and work with numbers – through an educational DVD titled I Love When We Count. The club worked with the local school district to produce the video, and a grant from the district helped fund the project. The DVD teaches parents how to help children up to age six use math in their everyday lives. Seven Rotary clubs in three districts have bought 1,512 copies from the club since 2008 and distributed them free to local families.
At a November meeting of the Rotary Club of Chandigarh Mid Town, Peter Burleigh, U.S. ambassador to India, presented the seventh scholarship in a program started by the Rotary Club of Milano Sud-Est, Italy, for female engineering students. Jyoti Chowdhary, whose parents died when she was seven years old, will receive an annual stipend of US$1,000. Chowdhary’s grandparents, who raised her on a modest pension, encouraged her studies; she recently ranked highly on the All India Engineering Entrance Examination. At the meeting, which 200 Rotarians attended, Burleigh also delivered a speech on the massive growth of India’s economy, titled “Asia Rising – What It Means to the USA.”
Rotary clubs worldwide came together to raise NZ$70,000 to help the Christchurch branch of St John Ambulance replace equipment that was used after a 6.1-magnitude earthquake hit the Christchurch-Lyttelton area in February 2011. More than 180 people were killed and another 1,500 injured in the quake. RI President-elect Sakuji Tanaka presented the check in December.
Rotarians from 16 clubs in Italy, Latvia, Russia, and Sweden gathered in September for the fifth Multi-Club Workshop, hosted by the Rotary Club of Malmö International. Swedish and Italian clubs established the three-day event in 2006 as a way for Rotarians to have fun, network, and find humanitarian projects they could work on together. Through the workshop, club members have implemented 10 projects valued at US$142,000. At the September event, club representatives decided to sponsor three projects to help children in Latvia and Russia.
In Nakhon Pathom, unskilled, minimum-wage laborers often cannot afford to buy necessities for their families; more than 1,000 children ages 5 to 16 in the region do not have shoes or socks to wear to school. With support from international donors, the Rotary Club of Pra Pathom Chedi has raised enough funds to provide more than 500 students with these items.
On 1 December, World AIDS Day, a group climbed Margherita Peak – the highest point in Uganda and part of the range known as the Mountains of the Moon – to raise US$25,000 for Rotarians for Fighting AIDS: A Rotarian Action Group, and African children who have lost their parents to the disease. The hike was part of an initiative led by the Rotary Club of Coolamon, Australia, which aims to raise $250,000 by World AIDS Day 2012. The club organized a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in 2007.
Sarah Robinson, a member of the Rotary Club of Old Town, Maine, understood the hardships of cancer patients who have to travel several hours for radiation treatment: She had an inoperable brain tumor. Robinson, who died in December at age 26, dreamed of building a place for patients to stay free of charge near the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer – and her Rotary club was determined to make that happen. To raise money, club members decided to build and sell a house in their town. Construction began in October, entirely with volunteer work and donated funds and materials. The land was contributed by another club member, Thomas Thornton Jr., who has since died of cancer. The single-family house is expected to be completed and ready for sale this spring.
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