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A cause-based club’s passion for animal conservation

The Rotary Club of Koala Lovers, Queensland, Australia, has one goal: to protect koalas and their habitats. The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that no more than 58,000 koalas remain in the country. The club is dedicated to increasing that number.

Membership dues were earmarked for planting eucalyptus trees, koalas’ only source of food. Koala deaths are largely due to habitat loss, disease, and being struck by automobiles, so the club works with the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to raise funds for vaccines and is lobbying state and local governments to install signs that alert motorists to the animals’ presence. It’s also working with the Parliament of the state of Queensland to advocate for a wildlife crossing, or fauna bridge, to be built to make it safer for koalas and other animals to cross busy roads. The club’s focus on protecting koalas has introduced Rotary to a new generation of people of action. 

“We’re dedicated to ensuring that the next generation can live in a world where koalas call Australia home. It’s serious, and we’re willing to stake an entire club on it.” — Zachary Revere, Rotary Club of Koala Lovers

A service project that fulfills a community need

At the home of a 93-year-old woman, members of the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of Sae Hanyang, Seoul, Korea, spent a day replacing wallpaper, curtains, and floorboards, cleaning and repairing furniture, and painting walls. Nearby, members of another Rotary club removed large quantities of garbage from a property. It was all part of a districtwide project to improve the living spaces of the community’s most vulnerable members — those who live alone, are older, or have no family.

District 3650’s project to make homes safer and more comfortable has already helped nearly 100 people. With Rotary’s work in high demand, and members throughout the district eager to participate, the program is expected to expand to assist even more residents.

“We’re grateful to help and bring joy to seniors living alone, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.” — Jung-Soo Rhee, Rotary Club of Sae Seoul

Members unite for a global cause

According to the United Nations, millions of people have fled their homes since Russia invaded Ukraine. Poland has taken in more than 3 million refugees, most of whom arrived with very few personal belongings.

Rotary and Rotaract clubs all over the world acted swiftly, donating more than US$15 million to The Rotary Foundation’s Disaster Response Fund, which was then used to fund projects that provided people with essential items such as water, shelter, and medicine.

The Rotary Club of Olsztyn, Poland collected and distributed food, clothes, toiletries, and toys to a local center that was housing 150 Ukrainians, most of whom were unaccompanied children whose parents had stayed in Ukraine.

“The war in Ukraine brought the Rotary community even closer together. During this difficult time, you can rely on Rotary. We are a big family.” — Wojciech Wrzecionkowski, past governor of District 2231 (Poland)

PolioPlus focuses on immediate needs to achieve long-term goals

As part of its new strategic plan, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is integrating polio vaccinations into larger community efforts to meet basic needs.

Khadim Solangi Goth, located outside Karachi, Pakistan, had been one of the last reservoirs of wild polio on the planet. t has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, but residents had larger concerns, like access to clean water. The GPEI set a goal of installing 36 water filtration plants throughout Pakistan. Since 2012, Rotary members have installed plants by partnering with Coca-Cola Pakistan, Rotary Foundation global grant projects, PolioPlus Partners grants, and other Rotary districts.

The polio eradication program saw a boost to its credibility over the years thanks to GPEI and Rotary clubs’ efforts. By listening to their needs, GPEI partners earned the community’s trust and began to welcome vaccinators into their homes to protect their children from polio.

“Now that the community has access to clean water, polio workers are giving us feedback that when they are going to homes, the mothers bring their children to be vaccinated. The workers now have easy access to get into the area.” — Asher Ali, project manager for the Pakistan PolioPlus Committee

Lasting partnerships increase our impact

The Río Lerma, one of Mexico’s longest rivers, is a vital waterway for agriculture and a water source for nearby communities. It’s also heavily polluted.  

For several years, Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact members from clubs in Mexico and the U.S., along with governmental partners, have met regularly to clean garbage and hazardous materials from the river, sometimes wearing full-body protective suits.  

Volunteers have removed hundreds of tons of waste. They also separate organic materials from other waste, recycle the plastic they collect, and identify the sources to prevent future pollution.  

“Now I can say, with a clear conscience, that I did everything I could to leave a better world for our kids.” — Salvador Rico, Rotary Club of South Ukiah, California, USA

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