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Rotary projects around the globe

March 2023



This month the Rotary Club of Chincha is scheduled to unveil a new addition to a shelter that houses vulnerable girls ages 5 to 17 in the Ica region. The girls, some of whom have been abandoned by their families or are victims of abuse, “need a lot of psychological help,” says Mónica Avilés Calderón, a past club president. The club completed the first building, with a capacity of 30 residents, in 2000. Soon the number of girls living in the shelter more than doubled. Starting in 2018, the club expanded capacity with additional buildings, costing about $35,000 each. The three new structures were funded primarily by donations from the Rotary Club of Flawil, Switzerland, and District 2000 (Liechtenstein and Switzerland). The Chincha club raised the remaining funds.

United States

Southern Michigan lore tells of a wanderer who handed melon seeds to a greenhouse owner. The resulting Howell melon has been celebrated by townsfolk with an annual festival now in its 63rd year. The Rotary Club of Howell has gotten in on the festivities by selling a Howell melon–flavored ice cream. In August the 40-member club sold 7,000 cups of the ice cream and 1,500 half-gallon containers over the weekend fair. More than 100 people, including Rotarians, members of the Interact Club of Howell High School, and school athletes, pitched in to help. The endeavor scooped up $30,000 for scholarships, local youth programs, and other community projects. “It’s so popular that no matter what time we say we’re going to start selling there’s going to be a line,” says Sandie Cortez, a past president of the Howell club. “People go crazy over this.”

  • 3.00 in 10

    Peruvians living below the national poverty line

  • 67.00 lbs, 1.8 oz

    Heaviest cantaloupe melon recognized by Guinness World Records

Czech Republic

Amid the metaverse and other digital kingdoms, all things analog still have an appeal to younger generations, asserts the Rotaract Club of Most. The club played host to its third annual board games festival, which attracted more than 250 competitors over two days in October. “Board games in the Czech Republic are on a big rise since the beginning of the pandemic, and such an event made sense to us,” says Petr Machovec, a past club president. “The secondary aspect of this was to engage new people in our club activities.” For a $3 entry fee, players could hear local professionals discuss developments in the games industry and try more than 150 games, many curated by club members and unique to the country. The most skilled won tournament prizes.


Table tennis ranks among the most popular sports in India. Tapping into that enthusiasm, the Rotary Club of Chennai Riviera is providing coaching to 17 deserving athletes ages 7 to 12. “All these children belong to underserved families and have the inclination to pursue the sport,” says Club President Asha Daniel. “We want them to utilize this sport to improve themselves further and become good at it, giving them exposure and opportunities for a good education and life.” The club covers breakfast and the cost of coaching, and a club member provides workout space, reducing the project’s cost. To fund the annual $4,000 training expense, the club in November staged a Future Paddlers Tournament that attracted 135 contestants ranging from 10 to about 70 years old, generating about $2,700 through entry fees.

  • 269.00 moves

    Longest recorded tournament chess game

  • $2.00 million

    Biggest prize purse at an officially sanctioned table tennis tournament


Since 2010, about 800 schools have been equipped with more than 24,000 portable microscopes through the Microscopes in Schools project. The Rotary Club of Freshwater Bay started the project. But for many years it became the intense focus of Diane Collins, charter president, and her husband, Kenneth, a past Rotary International director and Foundation trustee who died in August. Besides sacrificing garage space for storage and a distribution operation, the couple promoted the microscopes, enlisted Rotary club sponsors, kept records, and carried out the more mundane tasks. The project has multiplied in a big way. “It currently allows in excess of 280,000 students annually, in all states of Australia as well as many countries in Asia and the Pacific, to develop a love of science,” Collins notes.

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

Rotary projects make a difference in communities around the world.