Join a Twitter Chat on Membership with RI General Secretary John Hewko

Kick off Membership and New Club Development Month by participating in a Twitter chat with Rotary International General Secretary John Hewko on 5 August at 10:30 Chicago time (UTC-5). Get tips and resources for gaining members and becoming more involved in your club. Share your own ideas and expertise on how Rotary members can encourage their friends to join. Use #RotaryChat to participate and follow  and 

RI President's Message - July 2015

Trustee Chair's Message - July 2015

RI President's Window

While in Hawaii, I was on KHON2 News and Hawaii News Now, where I had the opportunity talk about Rotary and the Rotary Club of Hawaii's 100th anniversary. You can watch the interviews here:…/…/08/rotarys-100th-anniversary-in-hawaii/…/hawaii-celebrates-100-years-…

What is new

Polio-free world forever - RI President K R Ravindran writes in Times of Malta

Nigeria's One Year Milestone

100 Years For Hawaii Rotary - 'Midweek' Cover Story

Malala Yousafzai spent her 18th birthday helping Syrian refugee children in Jordan get back to school. You can make a difference at any age.

'For the Record: K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran' in The Rotarian

Pay It Forward - A profile of K R Ravindran

K R Ravindran's biography

Rotary Global Rewards

Gary Huang bids farewell

A winning combo: Rasheeda Bhagat interviews K R Ravindran for Rotary News Online

Rotary Day Winning Video

Text of RI President Gary Huang ‘s Closing Speech at São Paulo Convention

RIPN John Germ’s Speech to the 2015 Rotary Convention

São Paulo Convention Fourth Plenary Highlights

São Paulo Convention Third Plenary Highlights

Sao Paulo Convention Second Day Highlights

President Huang kicks off São Paulo convention

World should spend more on education, less on war - Former Costa Rican President , Oscar Arias

Presidents and vibrant clubs make Rotary, not RI leaders - RIPE K R Ravindran at MDPETS at Colombo

No ego trips for incoming RI Director Dr Manoj Desai - Rasheeda Bhagat in Rotary News

Rotary recognizes Japanese Prime Minister as leader in the global effort to eradicate polio

UN launches mass polio vaccination campaign set to target nearly 5.7 million Iraqi children

End Polio Now flame now in Etobicoke making its way to São Paulo, Brazil

TRF Grants - How are they contributing to the Community?

The Best Shot: The Rotarian 2015 Photo Contest Winners

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Be a Gift to the World through Vocational Service

RI President K.R. Ravindran encourages us to use our gifts — talents, knowledge, abilities, and efforts — to make a significant impact through fellowship and service activities. Through vocational service, we champion high ethical standards in the workplace, use our professional expertise to serve others, and improve local and international communities. Here are just a few ideas for activities your clubs can undertake:

  • Host a business networking event with non-Rotarian professionals in your community.
  • Offer career counseling for unemployed or underemployed adults.
  • Mentor youth with career guidance.
  • Recognize local businesses for high ethical standards.
  • Apply your professional skills to a project.

Review the humanitarian service goals to learn how your vocational service projects can help your club qualify for the 2015-16 Presidential Citation.

- Vocational Service News Letter

The Lost Girls of South Sudan and the Rotarian Who Found Them

Groenendijk and younger kids take a break from jumping on the center's trampoline. Staff say it's her energy that holds Confident Children out of Conflict together. Photo Credit: LuAnn Cadd

From the  of The Rotarian

The girls were alone. Their families were dead, or gone, or lost in the broken landscape of southern Sudan. They had nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to. Some lived in the market, others in the cemetery. When Cathy Groenendijk saw them, she couldn’t help herself. She offered them tea, then some food, then a place to sleep in her guesthouse.

“In the morning, we would sit together and talk about what had happened the night before,” Groenendijk remembers. “And what I heard I could not believe. I could not believe it.”

One girl’s father had died, and after the funeral, she never saw her mother again. She was living on the streets with some other kids when four men started chasing them. The other girls were faster. She fell behind and was caught and raped by all four men. Groenendijk knew a doctor who repaired the physical damage, saving her life.

Another three girls, ages eight, six, and one, lived with their mother, but they all slept in the open. Groenendijk helped them build a tarped shelter, but the hot sun ate it away. One night, a man snuck in and tried to assault one of the girls. After that, Groenendijk let them sleep on her veranda.

This was in 2006. A peace accord had been signed the year before, ending a 22-year civil war and paving the way for the independence of South Sudan. But the region was still broken in many ways. While the story of its “lost boys,” who traveled hundreds of miles on foot to reach safety during the war, is well known, little has been written or said about the girls who stayed behind, and who were just as lost.

Groenendijk was born in eastern Uganda, where her father grew coffee and bananas on the family farm. She had three brothers and seven sisters, so when she was three years old, she was sent to the capital, Kampala, to live with an aunt. After secondary school, she went on to study nursing.

“When I was in Kampala,” she says, “I used to take the food that was left from our kitchen in the training school and give it to the children who were without food. It was a very, very bad time under Idi Amin, and after.”

It was a time of war, suspicion, and fighting. Between 1971 and 1979, about half a million people died under Amin’s dictatorship. Another 300,000 died under Milton Obote before he was deposed in 1985......

Read the full story

Nigeria marks polio-free year, raising global eradication hopes - Reuters

Nigeria marked its first year without a single case of polio on Friday, reaching a milestone many experts had thought would elude it as internal conflict hampered the battle against the crippling disease.

It means the country could come off the list of countries where polio is endemic in a few weeks, once the World Health Organization (WHO) can confirm that the last few samples taken from people in previously affected areas are free of the virus.

This achievement turns up the pressure on Pakistan, where most of the few polio cases in the world remain, to follow suit.

Nigeria's polio-free period, dating from July 24, 2014, is the longest it has gone without recording a case. The hope is that next month the entire African continent will have gone a full year without a polio infection, with the last case recorded in Somalia on Aug. 11, 2014.

All this brings tantalizingly closer the prospect that polio will soon become only the second human infectious disease after smallpox to be eradicated.

"It's an extraordinary achievement. It really shows the value of government leadership and taking ownership of the program," said Carol Pandak, the director of Rotary International's polio program.

A disease that until the 1950s crippled thousands of people a year in rich and poor nations alike, the poliomyelitis virus attacks the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis within hours of infection.

It often spreads among young children and in areas with poor sanitation - a factor that gives it freedom in areas of conflict and unrest. But it can be halted with comprehensive, population-wide vaccination.

Nigeria had struggled to contain polio since some northern states imposed a year-long vaccine ban in mid-2003. Some state governors and religious leaders in the predominantly Islamic north alleged the vaccines were contaminated by Western powers to spread sterility and HIV/AIDS among Muslims.

Traditional leaders throughout the country pledged in January 2009 to support immunization campaigns and push parents to have their children vaccinated. But at about the same time Boko Haram militants began a bloody insurgency to carve out an Islamist state in the northeast........


Pandak says it's now Islamabad's turn to feel the huge international pressure Abuja came under to commit itself to finding every last polio case and vaccinating every last child.

"When you're the last country in a region to still have polio, there's a lot of pressure from the global community and from your neighbors," she said.

"Everybody spurs you on, polio gets talked about at the highest levels of government, and that pressure is something Pakistan is acutely politically aware of."......

Read more in Reuters

Nigeria Celebrates 1 Year With No New Polio Cases - Associated Press

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Once stigmatized as the world's polio epicenter, Nigeria on Friday celebrates its first year with no reported case of the crippling disease, having overcome obstacles ranging from Islamic extremists who assassinated vaccinators to rumors the vaccine was a plot to sterilize Muslims.

Just 20 years ago this West African nation was recording 1,000 polio cases a year - the highest in the world. The last recorded case of a child paralyzed by the wild polio virus endemic in Nigeria's impoverished and mainly Muslim north was on July 24, 2014.

"We are celebrating the first time ever that Nigeria has gone without a case of polio, but with caution," Dr. Tunji Funsho, chairman of Rotary International's polio campaign in Nigeria, told The Associated Press.

If there are no new cases and laboratory tests remain negative in the next few weeks, the World Health Organization will take Nigeria off the list of polio-endemic countries, said Oliver Rosenbauer of the U.N. agency's polio unit.

Nigeria is the last African country on that list.

The two remaining countries are Pakistan, which recorded 28 new cases this year, and Afghanistan, with five, said Rosenbauer. It's a 99 percent reduction since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative began in 1988, when one of the world's most feared diseases was endemic in 125 countries and was paralyzing nearly 1,000 children every day.

Polio shows up unsuspiciously as a fever and cold, followed quickly by acute paralysis as the virus destroys nerve cells. The disease mainly affects children under 5. The virus invades the body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine, then is spread through the feces. It is highly contagious with infected but asymptomatic carriers able to spread it silently and swiftly.

That's why "surveillance takes place in every nook and cranny of this country, even in those areas that have been free for years," said Rotary's Funsho.

In Nigeria, where Boko Haram Islamic extremists held a large swath of the northeast for months until March, that means testing sewage and stool samples of refugees from areas too dangerous to access.

The extremists opposed the campaign and Boko Haram gunmen killed nine women vaccinators in northern Kano state in February 2013, but the vaccinations continued.

The milestone has been reached despite the government's failure to deliver the most basic services: 100 million of Nigeria's 170 million people defecate in the open, while the percentage with piped water has shrunk from 12 percent in 1990 to 2 percent today, according to U.N. estimates.

Nigeria has been on the brink of recording no new cases before, only to fall back during elections in 2007 and 2011 when money was lavished on political campaigns instead of vaccinations, said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, chairman of the government's Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication.

Politicians spent unprecedented amounts on March elections that for the first time ousted a sitting president. But 2015 also brought the government's biggest commitment of $80 million to fight polio.

Flexible strategy was needed for the campaign to succeed. "Initially there was this wrong approach ... we thought we could overcome it with global pressure and scientific information," Tomori said. "It didn't work."

The campaign had to win over religious and community leaders and grass-roots women's groups, he said........

Read the story in Associated Press

Nigeria marks a year without polio.

R I President K R Ravindran congratulating Nigeria on going one full year without a case of wild-polio virus.

K.R. Ravindran

President, 2015-16

T +1.847.866.3235
F +1.847.866.3390

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

We’re delighted to report that [today] Nigeria has passed one year with no new cases of the wild poliovirus.

This is the longest the country has ever gone without a case of polio and a critical step on the path toward a polio-free Africa. We’ve come a long way since the bleak years when the virus reached its peak. It was only a decade ago that polio struck 12,631 people in Africa- three quarters of all cases in the world.

We congratulate Rotarians who have donated $688.5 million to fight polio throughout Africa, including more than $200 million to Nigeria. We congratulate Rotarians from Africa and around the world who have also devoted countless hours to immunize the children who now have the opportunity for healthier, happier lives.

With the ambitious scope of Rotary’s PolioPlus program, our efforts are having a far-reaching, transformative impact beyond the eradication of polio.

With the infrastructure put in place by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Nigeria not only reduced its polio caseload by 90% in 2014, but it also successfully thwarted the world’s most lethal Ebola outbreak to date, in only 90 days, a response faster than even the U.S., and rightly praised by the World Health Organization as ‘world-class’.

In Nigeria and elsewhere, the Initiative provides a blueprint to reach all children with a package of lifesaving vaccines and health interventions. This is a vital step on the path to human development, as we know that with improved public health, more resources can be channeled towards education and economic growth.

If the stringent World Health Organization testing criteria are met, then Nigeria could be removed from the list of polio-endemic countries in September of this year.

However, our work is not done. We know that polio can easily return, with devastating consequences, if we don’t stamp it out now.

We must act, as Rotarians do, to build on the progress made and stop polio once and for all. We have a narrow window of opportunity to achieve this, and if we fail, we could witness up to 200,000 cases a year in the near future.

So how can we finally make history and end polio now?

Today, we must protect the progress made in Nigeria, and support Pakistan and Afghanistan, the other two remaining polio-endemic countries.

Protecting progress means enhancing surveillance, routine immunization, and community engagement in Nigeria and other countries where transmission has been stopped.

Supporting Pakistan and Afghanistan means full political and financial commitment to eradicating polio; vaccination of all children in these countries; high quality surveillance, and the accomplishment of all the expert recommendations as part of the GPEI’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan.

Visit to download a toolkit of materials to help you share this progress – and the need for continued commitment in the coming years – with your Rotary club, your communities and your elected officials.

This all requires time, energy and investment. Pakistan’s budget requirements for polio eradication activities from 2016-2018 amounts to $305.7 million, and if we can raise this sum now, a polio-free world will reap financial savings of US$50 billion over the next 20 years and prove what’s possible when the global community comes together to improve children’s lives.

Your donation to PolioPlus will be matched 2 to 1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tripling your contribution.

Thirty years ago we told the world what Rotary believes: that we can achieve the eradication of only the second human disease in history. Our belief is becoming reality. For every child, let’s make sure that reality is a bright one.

Warm Regards,

Rotary International President K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran and Rotary Foundation Chair Ray Klinginsmith

Be A Gift To The World - Rotary Centre for Senior Citizens, Dt 3201

Rotary Centre for Senior Citizens is a project of Dt.3201. Giving a life of dignity to senior citizens is the object of the project. In partnership with the Sisters of Destitutes in Chunagamveli near Cochin, India, many initiatives in this regard are operational.

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Helping Youth to decide their future

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Rotary Nigeria earmarks N2.5Bn for Projects in Nigeria

Succour appears to have come the way of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Nigeria as Rotary International will spend N2.5bn in the next one year on humanitarian projects in Nigeria, while arrangements are in top gear to provide 500 shelter boxes for Internally Displaced Persons affected by the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East.

Also to be catered for is medical intervention such as cleft lip surgery, polio corrective surgery and the sinking of 250 boreholes in communities, among other humanitarian services.

The newly-inaugurated Governor of District 9125, Dr. Mike Omotosho, stated these on Saturday in Abuja.

He took over from Tolu Omatsola and would head the district for one year.

He said his administration would work in line with the change theme of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Omotosho said, “We are to spend N2.5bn on the projects. The most important priority for me as governor would be the change agenda.

There is a whole lot of noise about change. I believe Rotary has the panacea that we need to make the change truly happen. It is the guiding principle of Rotary; the four-way test. This could truly be applied profitably to our individual lives, to our businesses, communities, to nations, even at the international level.

“It could also be used for proposed legislation in government even in relationships between students and teachers. Once you are able to subject your thought process, the things you want to say or the things you do to the four-way test, it would guide you in the way you relate with the other person.”

Read full story here:

Angelique Kidjo: We are 'This Close' to a Polio-Free World

Today I’m singing for joy!

This July 24th marks one year since the last case of wild poliovirus was detected in Nigeria, the last polio-endemic country in Africa.

I’m singing because music can break the silence. It can break through clichés and I think of my microphone as a peaceful weapon that is able to cut through life’s suffering. 

My father says that I sang before I spoke. Music was all around me while I was growing up in Benin, a small country in West Africa but so rich with culture. When the military regime took power after a coup in 1972, the music stopped. It happened so suddenly, just like the shock so many have experienced from contracting polio, then waking up one day not being able to walk.

Benin is now a democracy, but the devastating disease of polio, which can paralyze victims within hours, has been a continuous reality for thousands of children in Africa.


At its peak in 2004, the virus struck 12,631 victims in Africa, three quarters of all cases in the world. So I’m singing today knowing that we have passed a critical milestone on the path toward a polio-free Africa.

I grew up in a generation who witnessed the terrible effects of polio. There is no cure but it is entirely preventable thanks to an effective vaccine.

I am healthy today because I was vaccinated as a child in Benin. But some of my school friends ended up with polio. Because their parents didn’t believe in vaccination or didn’t understand that it was provided for free and so crucial. There is no excuse for any child to suffer from polio or any other preventable disease.


Just as I am determined to keep on singing, I am also determined to keep on fighting against the spread of polio and the single narrative of Africa as the land of poverty, disease, and conflict. In my own way -through my music and advocacy - I want to show the world that Africa is on the rise.

I am a longtime United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ambassador, and have been inspired to see that another organization, Rotary International, is so dedicated to my shared vision of a polio-free Africa, and a polio-free world.

Last year, as a polio eradication ambassador for the humanitarian organization Rotary International, I dedicated the music video of the song "EVA" from my album EVE to this mission. The music video illustrates the importance of having all of our children vaccinated against polio.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is a public-private partnership led by national governments, Rotary International, the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since the GPEI launched in 1988, the incidence of polio has been reduced by 99.9%. Important work is being done by people in the field, and the thousands of volunteers and health workers who are on the frontlines of this campaign. It’s amazing to see the progress happening every day.

The Initiative adopted innovative strategies to reach every child in Africa. In Benin, some 20,000 vaccinators crossed the country to bring each child the vaccine, in a door-to-door campaign, which covered homes, markets, schools and faith venues. The campaign involved 5,122 town criers for informing the masses all the way to the most remote places. I love this determination those town criers have to help another human being in need. I feel it is similar to my call as a singer....

Read more in BET Newsletter

Committee Members Named to Nominate 2017-18 RI President

The following Rotarians will serve on the 2015-16 Nominating Committee for President of Rotary International in 2017-18. The committee is scheduled to meet on 3 August.

Zone 1
Masahiro Kuroda, Rotary Club of Hachinohe South, Aomori, Japan

Zone 3
Yoshimasa Watanabe, Rotary Club of Kojima, Okayama, Japan

Zone 5
P.C. Thomas, Rotary Club of Nilgiris West, Tamil Nadu, India

Zone 7
Stuart B. Heal, Rotary Club of Cromwell, New Zealand

Zone 9
Hee-Byung Chae, Rotary Club of Seoul West, Seoul, Korea

Zone 11
Serge Gouteyron, Rotary Club of Valenciennes-Denain aerodrome, Nord, France

Zone 13
Paul Knyff, Rotary Club of Weesp (Vechtstreek-Noord), Netherlands

Zone 15
Ann-Britt Åsebol, Rotary Club of Falun-Kopparvågen, Sweden

Zone 17
David D. Morgan, Rotary Club of Porthcawl, Mid Glamorgan, Wales

Zone 19
Gideon M. Peiper, Rotary Club of Ramat Hasharon, Israel

Zone 21
José Alfredo Sepúlveda, Rotary Club of Pachuca Plata, Hidalgo, Mexico

Zone 23
Alceu Antimo Vezozzo, Rotary Club of Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Alternate: Carlos Enrique Speroni, Rotary Club of Temperley, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Zone 25
John T. Blount, Rotary Club of Sebastopol, California, USA

Zone 27
C. Grant Wilkins, Rotary Club of Denver, Colorado, USA

Zone 29
Michael D. McCullough, Rotary Club of Trenton, Michigan, USA
Alternate: Michael J. Johns, Rotary Club of Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Zone 31
Frederick W. Hahn Jr., Rotary Club of Independence, Missouri, USA

Zone 33
Anne L. Matthews, Rotary Club of Columbia East, South Carolina, USA

Source: Rotary International

My brush with Lyme disease and what my Rotary club is doing to help

I’m a longtime Rotarian from Glens Falls, New York, USA. I taught college-level business administration for 31 years, served as a local elected government official and as executive director of the regional emergency medical service council, and made a part-time occupation of commercial real estate sales into a full-time retirement job. At age 68, I began considering slowing down, but I was still going strong.

Then in the spring of 2010, I began to notice significant changes in my energy and concentration levels. My cognitive function became compromised, to the point where I began to experience trouble navigating my way home after meetings more than a few miles away. There were times when my wife had to accompany me to meetings to respond to simple questions, because I couldn’t find words to answer for myself. I realized that what I had thought were simply natural changes due to aging might be something else.

Within 10 days of visiting my doctor, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type transmitted through the bite of a tick. I could remember getting a number of bites in the past, but I hadn’t paid much attention, as the test results were always negative. (The common blood tests for Lyme are notoriously inaccurate.) But this time, tests, and an expanding bull’s-eye rash that can be a telltale sign of the disease, confirmed the infection. After several years of expensive antibiotic treatments, my Lyme disease seems to be under control.

Lyme disease and the insidious co-infections that cause serious illness are a major public health concern that will challenge our health and our health care system if we don’t get a much better handle on them now. There are about 300,000 new cases each year in the United States, and about 30 percent of those develop into long-term or chronic illness. The current levels of education and attention to this disease are inadequate. Recent research at Johns Hopkins, a major medical research institution, indicated that $1.3 billion are spent to attend to patients with Lyme disease each year.

My Rotary club recently established a special committee to increase public awareness of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Join us in this effort by sending an email to

- Rotary Voices

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