Rotary projects around the globe
After a 2021 tornado and subsequent electrical fire damaged the African American Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a Rotary club in the city acquired a $10,000 disaster relief grant from District 6710 to help restore the museum. But “we didn’t just want to be handing out the check,” says Vickie Elrod, a past president of the Rotary Club of Bowling Green. “We wanted to get boots on the ground to get involved with the preservation of those artifacts.” About a dozen Rotarians attended workshops on archiving, and the club is assisting the museum in digitizing documents. They include records on Shake Rag, a once-vibrant district settled by former slaves and soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. The financial assistance enabled the museum to work with a conservator on preserving its uniforms and other clothes. The museum reopened in August, and Rotarians continue to assist with cleaning damaged artifacts, pictures, and equipment.
Advocates in Jamaica highlight a shortage of housing that meets the needs of people with limited mobility. The Rotary Club of Kingston funded a nearly $23,000 refurbishment of Cheshire Village, a transitional housing facility associated with a rehabilitation center. “Rotarians were instrumental and involved in the three town halls we had with residents,” says Karsten Johnson, the club’s immediate past president. “Our plans were made based on their priorities.” The Kingston club, supported by donations from the Rotary Club of Naples North, Florida, raised the height of toilets and added support bars and railings along restroom walls. The club installed new kitchen cupboards, sinks, and faucets to improve accessibility for people who use wheelchairs. A first phase, to install six solar streetlights, was completed in February, with the retrofit finished in June.
African American museums and related organizations in the U.S.
Estimate of the world’s population with a significant disability
The Rotary Club of Almancil International takes an active approach in its mission to serve children, notably those with autism spectrum disorders or Down syndrome. Members sponsor activities including surfing lessons and animal therapy. In June the club unveiled a sensory room at a school to serve students ages 5 to 16. “The room is now complete, with state-of-the-art equipment including a soothing waterbed, music, and many sensory light and tactile objects,” says club member Peter Hinze, who coordinated the project. “[It] can provide a sense of calm and help improve [students’] visual and auditory skills and help regulate their behavior.” The project cost more than $16,000. The club provided about $5,000, with businesses and friends donating the remainder.
The Rotary Club of Virton en Gaume organized two days of concerts to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Coralpins Gaumais, a trio that plays the traditional alphorn, a wooden horn once used by shepherds in the Alps. More than 140 alphornists, flag throwers, and bell ringers in folk costume participated in the event in May. The event raised money for the club’s charitable causes. The alphorn was the ideal instrument for harmoniously bringing together nature and the people who live in the region, says Jean-Marie Henin, a past club president. The club was inspired to put on the concert series after it organized visits by the Coralpins Gaumais to nursing homes and other care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
1.00 in 100
Children worldwide with autism
86.00 feet, 9 inches
World’s longest alphorn
While sea turtles can live to be more than 100 years old, as few as 1 in 10,000 survive to adulthood, according to some experts. Five of the world’s seven sea turtle species visit Sri Lanka, but poaching for food and shells, along with disruption caused by recreation, imperils the creatures. The Rotaract Club of CINEC at the Colombo International Nautical and Engineering College in Malabe organized a public webinar to raise awareness of the vulnerability of turtles, coral, and other sea life. Then in April the club offered the marine reptiles a leg up with an overnight operation to move turtle eggs out of harm’s way. More than two dozen Rotaractors met at Rekawa Beach near Tangalle to help transport about 350 eggs to a conservation center for safe hatching. They worked by the light of cellophane-covered lamps to avoid disturbing the light-sensitive turtles. “We were shown by experts how to carefully dig around the nest to expose and collect the eggs,” project chair Monalee Dissanayake says.
This story originally appeared in the November 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.