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Rotary projects around the globe

August 2023


United States

At Folsom State Prison in California, small groups of inmates have shifted gears through a project of the nearby Rotary Club of Cameron Park. Since 2007 the club in the Sacramento area has collected used bicycles and delivered them to Folsom, where inmates repair them. Rotarians deliver as many as 500 of the refashioned rides each year to school children from low-income households and to organizations serving homeless people, veterans, refugees, and families displaced by wildfires. “The bike refurbishing program not only provides valuable skills and opportunities for our inmates, but it also allows them to give back to our community in a meaningful way,” notes Tracy Johnson, Folsom’s acting warden. “Although it’s a step toward rehabilitation, it’s a big leap toward creating positive change.” The club spends about $1,200 a year on the project. “I look at this as a win-win program,” says Don Fuller, the club’s immediate past president. “We’re picking up bikes that people don’t want. The inmates get a sense of satisfaction.”


The Rotary Club of Fray Bentos scooped up 320 servings of paella during a cook-off that has raised thousands of dollars for activities since 2016. Under the guidance of chef Eduardo Casales of La Tomasa restaurant, 23 of the club’s members peeled and cut vegetables to fill giant pans with the rice dish in April during this year’s event, which raised about $2,800. The secret ingredient? “The high quality of the inputs used added to the flavor that maintains this traditional paella,” along with the charitable deeds enabled by the proceeds, says Alfredo Batista Fernández, a past club president. The club, which maintains a bank of wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and canes loaned at no charge to people in need, has devoted the proceeds from the food sales to related causes, including the construction of 16 wheelchair-accessible ramps throughout the city of Fray Bentos, as well as at schools.

  • 6000.00+

    Bicycles distributed by Cameron Park Rotarians

  • 330.00lbs

    Vegetables used in average Fray Bentos paella cook-off


Members of the Rotary Club of Milano International-Net organized an amateur ski race in March to support a local charity’s initiative to donate defibrillators to try to prevent cardiac arrest deaths. The ski event attracted about 20 Rotarians, family members, and friends to Aprica, a resort nestled along a pass between Lake Como and the Dolomites. “There were also many nonskiers who enjoyed a beautiful day of sunshine, friendship, and conviviality,” says Chiara Giudici, the club’s immediate past president. The entry fee and sponsorships brought in more than $1,750 to purchase a defibrillator for a city park, says Giudici. In October, the club again supported the initiative, which raises money through sports events, by sponsoring a 50-participant tournament of padel, a racquet sport compared to pickleball. That competition provided a defibrillator to the police department.


The Rotary Club of Jakarta Metropolitan has offered free health checkups since 2015 for older people, mothers and their children, and others. For its eighth medical fair in February, the club expanded its screenings to include homeless people. X-rays detected signs of tuberculosis, bronchitis, or pneumonia in 97 of the 223 people screened. The club followed up to help them overcome barriers to treatment. “Our solution is to involve the civil registry service office to help with the homeless peoples’ identification so that they can apply for government insurance and later go to a hospital,” says club member Inne Ongkodjojo. “From this incident, we see the need to provide for public health screening, especially for TB, which has a fast and widespread transmission,” says Arry Basuseno, the club’s immediate past president.

  • 5.00th

    Italy’s rank in Alpine skiing Olympic medals

  • 2.00nd

    Indonesia’s rank in global TB cases


Six members of the Lagos-based Rotaract Club of Gbagada spent three weeks and 810 hours on an extensive renovation of the washroom at the Apostolic Primary School in Ketu. Using about $1,000 from individual donors, the Rotaractors replaced part of the roof and two worn doors, polished the floor, painted, undertook masonry repairs, and hired a plumber to connect the dilapidated six-toilet block to the existing borehole well. “The toilet was in a dirty and deplorable state,” heightening absenteeism at the 500-pupil school because of illnesses such as diarrhea and cholera, says Michael Ekerin, immediate past president of the club. The project, completed in March, was among the club’s 20 service projects during the 2022-23 Rotary year.

This story originally appeared in the August 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.

Rotary projects make a difference in communities around the world.