Solar lamp project delivers light in Belize

By Rotary International

Residents of a remote village in the Toledo district of Belize use their solar lamps.

By Audrey Cochran, a member of the Rotary Club of Northwest Austin, Texas, USA

Tonight Amelia Ramirez sits with her younger siblings at their kitchen table. A stack of books sit on the table and Amelia smiles as she reads. She no longer fears being burned by a kerosene lamp. The fumes that had irritated her eyes and made her cough are gone. She no longer begs her mother to stop before her school work is done because of the heat, the bugs, and the fumes caused by the kerosene lamp she was previously forced to use. Amelia’s family received a solar lamp from Rotary District 5870.

Nearly one quarter of the world population lives without access to electricity or safe light. As a result millions suffer from burn injuries each year, most of which are children. These families see by kerosene lamps, candles and open flames, all of which are dangerous and toxic.

According to the World Health Organization respiratory illness is the number one cause of death in children under 5 years of age that live in areas without access to electricity. Rotarians are taking action to …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Unique field experience cements Peace Fellow’s desire to pursue human rights

By Rotary International

Laurie Smolenski, right, with her Rotary Peace Fellow class at the University of Queensland.

By Laurie Smolenski, 2015-17 Rotary Peace Fellow, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

I’ve just completed 18 months as a Peace Fellow at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. A highlight was spending three months in Mexico City for my applied field experience. This is a cornerstone of the University’s Peace Fellow program, through which Fellows take on a project or internship outside of Australia. I interned with the Mexico City office of the MacArthur Foundation, which supports peace and justice initiatives globally.

Smolenski gives a presentation about her research into the disappearance of 42 students.

As part of that work, I researched the 2014 disappearance of 42 students from a rural teachers’ college in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. The boys still have not been found and no justice has been served; it is clear that the Mexican state was involved.

I became fascinated by the response of Mexican civil society, which galvanized international attention and demanded a fair investigation despite state corruption at all levels. Were it not for the relentless work of everyday individuals, the Mexican government would have likely closed the case immediately; yet today, Ayotzinapa—albeit unresolved …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

The benefits of a friendship exchange

By Rotary International

The Rotary Friendship Exchange team from North Carolina, USA, visits India. Blog author Chandan is in the middle in shorts.

By Kamlesh (Kam) Chandan, president of the Rotary Club of Lake Norman/Huntersville, North Carolina, USA

In February, I had the opportunity to lead our first outbound friendship exchange to my home away from home – India. Rotary Friendship Exchange is an international exchange program for Rotary members and friends that allows participants to take turns hosting one another in their homes and clubs. Exchanges offer unique chances for cultural immersion and interchange.

Rotary members in District 3201 (Tamil Nadu, India) invited members in District 7680 (North Carolina, USA) to take part in our first outbound friendship. Last year, four Rotarians and their spouses from Tamil Nadu visited Charlotte and stayed with families in North Carolina, ending in a visit to our district conference.

The team visits a dialysis unit.

Our outbound team travelled to my wife’s hometown – Coimbatore. My father-in-law Pratap Gokuldas who inspired this exchange is a past governor of District 3201. Mark Daniels of the Charlotte Providence Rotary; Bill Burnham of Meck South Rotary; Luther & Sandra Moore and Patricia Shafer of Charlotte Rotary; Ineke Wilson of Huntersville …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

3 tips for using social media to create a buzz

By Rotary International

Evan Burrell using social media to create a buzz

By Evan Burrell, Rotary Club of Turramurra, New South Wales, Australia

I’m sure your club puts a lot of effort into planning events like fundraising dinners, charity golf days, car shows, and changeovers ceremonies. You probably focus right down to the smallest detail. So why not put that much effort into promoting your event on social media?

Social media is a powerful tool for gaining exposure. But just like all the other necessary arrangements, getting good results takes a bit of preparation. Here are three tips for developing a social media strategy for your next event.

Create one unified hashtag for use across all social channels

By using an event-specific hashtag, you’ll make it easy for people to find not only what you’re sharing, but what other people are saying, too!

Recently, at the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the hashtag #Rotary17 allowed attendees to participate in an engaging conversation with fellow attendees and to see what everyone else was up to just by clicking the hashtag.

Share visual content

A lot of work goes into pulling off a fantastic event. Capture that effort with photos and share it, so people can see how you’re pulling …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog

Overcoming Ebola, poverty to educate children in Liberia

By Rotary International

Students at African Dream Academy in Liberia.

By Samuel R. Enders, Rotary Club of Yonkers-East Yonkers, New York, USA

On the 1st of July, the African Dream Academy successfully concluded our 2016-17 academic year, our sixth year educating the children of Liberia. Despite lingering effects of the Ebola outbreak (2014-15) in our country and many other poverty-related obstacles, we were able to educate 945 children this year, and provide free health care to 17,000 children under the age of six.

This year’s graduates.

In 2011, the African Dream Academy began an enrichment class for about 140 students at the fourth grade level. This year, among our 945 students, we graduate 78 kindergartners to first grade, 57 sixth graders to seventh grade, and we are getting ready to add ninth grade for the 2017-18 academic year. It is unbelievable that we have been able to do this with a very small number of people willing to sacrifice to help educate these children, many of whom they do not know or have not met.

Our board member Mr. Moses and his family have provided free health care for children through six years of age at the Childrens Health Center. Through his support, the African …read more

Source:: Rotary International Blog