Rotary Projects Around the Globe
The Rotary Club of Duvall, Washington, celebrated Valentine’s Day by hanging 133 double-sided hearts from light poles along a mile-long stretch of Main Street, where they loomed large from late January through early March. Bearing messages sponsored by residents and businesses at a cost of $50 each, the signs raised about $13,500 for food pantries and other organizations serving youth, seniors, and the needy in the community northeast of Seattle. The club was inspired by a long-running fundraiser of the Rotary Club of Loveland Thompson Valley, Colorado, whose sign subscriptions routinely sell out within hours.
Since 2009 the Rotary Club of Barquisimeto-Nueva Segovia has overseen more than 350 surgeries to correct congenital craniofacial deformities in children. In late April the club, based in the capital of Lara state, administered nine cleft lip and palate surgeries. Patients and their mothers are interviewed by club members who are specialists in children’s maxillofacial surgery. Proceeds from the club’s golf tournament fund the surgeries and follow-up care, which costs about $150 per patient. “Children with these malformations generally require several surgeries, and our club guarantees them all,” says Rafael Cárdenas, a club member. “Our goal is to change lives permanently.”
Sweethearts candies produced in 2022
First recorded cleft lip surgery
After governmental delays hampered the replacement of critical firefighting equipment damaged in responses to two major fires in 2021, the Rotary Club of Kos stepped in. Rotarians staged a dance marathon and a musical, raising $2,300 to purchase nearly 2,000 feet of firehose, nozzles, and pipe connections for the island’s fire department. “It’s better to prevent than to cure,” says Stavros Amaris, immediate past president of the club, paraphrasing Hippocrates, a famous son of Kos. Emergency preparedness is top of mind for the club, which also has organized blood drives and directed money to the Kos ambulance service.
Addressing needs caused by recent famine, clubs in District 9220 delivered 800 packages of rice, water, cooking oil, and other staples, as well as hygiene products, to the community of Ankiliabo in April. “Lately, the kere [famine or hunger in the local parlance] has taken on a great magnitude because the climate conditions do not allow the population in this area to live properly through agriculture and livestock,” says Narindra Razafinimaro, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Antananarivo-Anosy, which led the effort. The Rotary Club of Saint-Denis-La Montagne, in the French department of Réunion, another island in the district, contributed about $2,700.
acres in Greece destroyed by wildfires in 2021
Poverty rate in Madagascar
The Rotary Club of Astana in late 2018 inaugurated its first inclusive playground in a country sorely in need of such opportunities. Named Kunshyaq, or “Sunshine,” the playground has specialized swings, ramps, merry-go-rounds, and other equipment to accommodate children with and without disabilities and instill values of tolerance and empathy. While the municipal council of the capital city, now called Nur-Sultan, donated the land, Rotary members in Astana, led by Past President Lyazzat Alshinova, generated about $55,000 from club members, other District 2430 clubs, embassies and other organizations, and proceeds from an art auction and ball. The playground is such a hit that the club, composed of Kazakhstanis and expatriates, raised funds for a second one in the capital.
This story originally appeared in the August 2022 issue of Rotary magazine.