Rotary projects around the globe
Rotary clubs in District 5370 partnered with social service agencies to provide beds for families, including Ukrainian refugees resettled in the Edmonton area. More than 10 clubs teamed up with the nonprofit Sleep in Heavenly Peace for a bed-building day in October. Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends and family assembled 35 beds in eight hours, says Kelly Baker, immediate past president of the Rotary Club of Edmonton Northeast. The district collaborated with Ukrainian Canadian Social Services and Catholic Social Services to arrange funding and to identify the neediest recipients. Rotary members followed up less than a month later with “Stuff a Van,” a bed linen collection at a shopping center. “Eighteen people braved the cool weather, and the Rotaractors were amazing as they promoted this event,” Baker says. “We had a number of Ukrainian nationals stop by and tell their story, and it really affirmed why we were doing this drive.” The clubs also raised about CA$10,000 (US$7,500), with some of it going to purchase adult-sized beds.
Grenada’s national library, damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and forced to close a few years later, stands as a picture of decay, with its door padlocked and windows broken. The Rotaract Club of Grenada aims to show that the weather-beaten building is hardly symbolic: The nation, like many of its West Indies neighbors, has a high literacy rate. In July 2022 club members collected more than 500 books and, with assistance from a local carpenter, Rotarians, and friends, constructed three book boxes modeled after the Little Free Libraries. The club placed them in well-trafficked parks in the parish of St. George, home of the country’s capital. The club also renovated the library at its adopted Mt. Moritz Anglican School, supplying new shelves, desks, and a fresh coat of paint. “Our national library has not been functional for years so a lot of reading material is not as available as it should be,” club member Semone Sargeant says. The installation of the boxes “creates an avenue for persons to read whatever they want, how often they want.”
Share of refugees to Canada who settled in smaller cities and towns in recent years
Year that Rotarian Todd Bol, of Hudson, Wisconsin, created the first Little Free Library
Seeking to engage more of its Rotary members in volunteering, the women’s committee of District 3650 in Seoul, South Korea, paired them with children from the Hyeshim-Won youth home for monthly sightseeing outings. In January, Rotarians treated 30 young people from the home to a trip to the Lotte World amusement park. They took spins on the merry-go-round, bumper cars, pirate ship ride, and more. The district and Rotary members donated about $2,800 for discounted tickets and food, while District Governor-elect Young Suk Lee, of the Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, covered the cost of busing. District Governor Bong Rak Sohn and the Rotary Club of Seoul KANS organized the event. “We wanted to show the children that there are many good people in the world,” says Kwi-Young Song, of the Rotary Club of Hanseong, chair of the district women’s committee.
The Rotary Club of Beecroft enlisted a contract distiller and concocted a signature gin steeped with botanicals reflecting the flora around its north suburban Sydney base. In November more than 150 Rotarians, business leaders, and other residents met for a Beecroft Spirit Gin launch party to select the flavorings “that represent the area of Beecroft,” says Daniel Dummer, a club member and project leader. Working with Craft Foundry, the club produced 260 bottles of gin infused with the essences of strawberry gum, lemon myrtle, and rosella. By Christmas, the lot had sold out, with nearly $1,800 in proceeds directed toward the renovation of an electrical substation in Beecroft as well as international projects, says Dummer. “Beecroft has a strong sense of community, and gin is a fast-growing spirit in Australia right now. Our goal was to bring the community together around a delicious and memorable local project while raising funds for projects here and abroad.”
Portion of South Korea’s population under 15
Global gin revenue forecast for 2023, according to Statista
More than half of the 1.3 million people killed worldwide in traffic crashes in 2022 were characterized by the World Health Organization as “vulnerable road users,” that is pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. Mindful that children are among those most at risk, the Rotary Club of Tullamore & District revived its Be Safe Be Seen campaign, which was paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project emphasizes the importance of wearing high-visibility clothing, especially during dark winter months. Last fall the club worked with emergency services leaders and news organizations to distribute promotional materials to primary schools. Rotarians and first responders also visited schools to spread the message. The project continued for more than a month with frequent reminders and advertising on local radio. “The overriding aim of the campaign is to protect young people and educate them regarding road safety,” says Eoin Sheehan, club president and a consultant orthopedic surgeon at the Midland Regional Hospital Tullamore. “Prevention is always the best way forward.”
This story originally appeared in the June 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.