PRIP Ravindran received the award from the President of Sri Lanka
Polio resurfaces in Nigeria
The Rotary Foundation of the United Kingdom received the generous donation from Helen Ruddock of Suffolk, England. Her only connections to Rotary had been an introduction to the Foundation, arranged by a member of the Rotary Club of Halstead, Essex, England, and a shared passion for improving the lives of others.
Mrs. Ruddock, who passed away in 2015 at the age of 96, bequeathed more than $1 million to support Rotary’s efforts to provide clean water and sanitation. With her gift, Rotarians will have the needed funding for service projects to improve the quality and availability of clean water, sanitation, and hygiene practices in communities throughout Africa.
She was a well-respected piano teacher for many years at South Lee School in Bury St. Edmunds and Fairstead House School in Newmarket, finishing her career working part time at the Riverwalk School for children with severe learning difficulties. She also devoted much of her time and resources to several local organizations, including the Suffolk Opera and the Bury St. Edmunds Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society.
She was described as kind, thoughtful, wise, and business-minded.
Though not a Rotarian, she personified the mission and values of Rotary through her leadership, service, and integrity. The Rotary Foundation could not be more pleased to honor her as an esteemed member of the Arch Klumph Society, formed in 2004 to recognize The Rotary Foundation’s highest tier of donors.
- Rotary International
The 2016-17 Rotary International Board held its third meeting 24-26 January 2017 in Evanston, Illinois, USA. It reviewed eight committee reports and recorded 61 decisions. Here are the highlights.
The Board approved the 2017-18 budget assumptions, which includes a list of enterprise projects.
Download complete Board minutes — January 2017
- Rotary International
1 Bangladesh, Indonesia, Japan (northern), Pakistan
2 Guam, Japan (central), Micronesia, Northern Marianas, Palau
3 Japan (southern)
4 India (western and northern)
5 India (southern), Maldives, Sri Lanka
6 Bhutan, India (eastern), Nepal
7 India (central and southern)
8 Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands
9 China, Hong Kong, Macau, Mongolia, Taiwan
10 Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
11 South Korea (northern)
12 South Korea (southern)
13 Andorra, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, Monaco
14 Italy, Malta, San Marino
15 Germany (northern and central)
16 Germany (southern), Israel, Switzerland
17 Aland Islands, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Russia (western), Sweden (northern)
18 Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Sweden (southern)
19 England (northern), Ireland, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
20 England (southern), Portugal, Spain, The Netherlands
21 Austria, Eastern Europe, Middle East
23 Central America, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, USA (TX), Venezuela
24 Brazil (central and northern)
25 Antarctica, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil (southern), Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay
26 Canada, Russia (eastern), St. Pierre & Miquelon, USA (AK, ME, MI, NY, WA)
27 USA (CA, CO, ID, MT, NE, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY)
28 USA (AZ, CA, CO, HI, NM, NV, TX)
29 USA (IA, IL, KS, MI, MN, ND, NE, OK, SD, WI)
30 USA (AL, IN, KY, MS, OH, TN)
31 USA (AR, IL, KS, LA, MO, MS, OK, TN, TX)
32 Bermuda, Canada, USA (CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT)
33 USA (D.C., DE, MD, NC, PA, SC, TN, VA, WV)
34 The Caribbean, French Guiana, Guyana, Puerto Rico, Suriname, USA (FL, GA, SC)
* Zone numbers subject to change; sectioning and pairings to be approved by the RI Board at its June 2017 meeting.
Source: Rotary International
The 2017 Rotaract Outstanding Project Award recognized the Rotaract Club of the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, for launching a three-year project to improve lives in the rural community of Ranugalla. The club, which represents Rotary District 3220 (Sri Lanka), hopes to empower residents through sustainable education and economic development initiatives.
During its first year, the club opened a library and science lab for the local school and helped students prepare for college entrance exams and careers. It also targeted infrastructure, bringing clean water into homes and building bridges to link neighborhoods flooded during the rainy season. To stimulate economic growth, the club opened a weaving cooperative for female entrepreneurs.
"Rather than initiating a project to donate materials, we thought a project to address all the issues in the village would be much more beneficial to all,” says Chamal Kuruppu, president of the University of Moratuwa Rotaract club.
Best multidistrict project went to Rotaractors in Brazil for their campaign to combat hate crimes in online communities. More than 1,000 Rotaract members from 34 Brazilian districts planned activities during World Rotaract Week in 2016, adapting the campaign to their communities — such as partnering with a university to design a workshop series on Internet hate crimes — and using their social networks to spread messages of diversity, inclusion, and peace.
This year, over 300 projects were nominated in 52 countries. The awards recognize the best single-club project, best multidistrict project, and outstanding service projects in each of six geographical regions. The best single-club project and best multidistrict project receive $500 each for future service activities and will be invited to inspire other Rotaractors at the Rotaract Preconvention in Atlanta.
These clubs received regional recognition:
Asia Pacific: Rotaract Club of ePerformax, District 3810, Philippines
The Rotaract Club of ePerformax, in collaboration with its sponsor Rotary club, the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery, and local police, developed a curriculum to support young people’s emotional and physical well-being. Club members not only trained young people to recognize bullying and defuse situations that could become dangerous, but also created a school garden to keep them active, healthy, and self-sufficient.
South Asia: Rotaract Club of Lote, District 3170, India
For years, the rural community of Gavathan, India, has had a river winding through it, but no clean water or electricity. The Rotaract Club of Lote sought to harness the river’s natural resource to improve lives. Its project resulted in the construction of a small dam, pipes for irrigating crops, and a turbine-operated plant that is powering 61 streetlights.
Europe, Middle East, and Central Asia: Rotaract Club of Izmir Ekonomi, District 2440, Turkey
The ongoing conflict and refugee crisis in Syria has affected nearly everyone in neighboring Turkey, including its schoolchildren. To help Syrian and Turkish students overcome their differences and focus on their shared human rights, the Rotaract Club of Izmir Ekonomi hosted workshops in two primary schools. After the workshops, which were organized with help from the Council of Europe, the European Law Students’ Association, the United Nations, and child psychologists, the young students were asked to express their feelings through painting. “We saw in the paintings that their thoughts changed in a positive way,” said a member of the Rotaract club.
Sub-Saharan Africa: Rotaract Club of Cotonou Phare, District 9102, Benin
The Rotaract Club of Cotonou Phare undertook a multiphase project to bring clean water and improved sanitation facilities to a local orphanage. The first phase involved drilling a well for the facility’s kitchen and bathrooms. In the second, club members worked with their sponsor Rotary club and other service organizations to refurbish the toilets.
Latin America: Rotaract Club of Pau dos Ferros, District 4500, Brazil
More than 25 organizations and businesses supported the Rotaract Club of Pau dos Ferrosin its efforts to boost the rural community of Varzea Nova. Over 13 months, the club helped establish Internet connectivity in the town, provided medical exams and services, led childhood education sessions for infants and parents, organized vocational training for adults, and hosted a cultural festival.
USA, Canada, and Caribbean: Rotaract Club of the University of Lethbridge, District 5360, Canada
Rotaractors from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta raised $36,500 to update kindergarten facilities in the community of Mazatlan, Mexico. By collaborating with the local government and Rotary clubs, Rotaractors ensured that the funds were used for teachers’ salaries and for buying new plumbing and classroom spaces for about 70 students.
Rotary International has been working with its partner ShelterBox to provide relief to flood victims in Peru.
Since February, flash flooding and mudslides have damaged and destroyed thousands of buildings, including homes, schools, and churches in several countries in western South America.
The floods in Peru have killed more than 100 people. According to the Los Angeles times, relief agencies estimate that 700,000 people have been left homeless. Heavy rains are expected to continue for the rest of the week.
Where flood waters have receded, they’ve left behind a thick layer of mud. This can lead to serious health problems and irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract, ShelterBox officials say.
- Rotary International staff
Today, the ingenuity, dedication and sheer tenacity of Rotary is tested to the limit, with more conflict, disasters and increasing hardship, all of which offer greater opportunities to serve and this is where Rotary members step up to the plate.
Now in it’s fourth year, the Champions of Change Awards are all about celebrating the humanitarian service of Rotary members, both at home and abroad.
Rotary is delighted to share the inspiring stories from this year’s winners of the 2017 Awards, which will take place at a ceremony at the House of Lords of 26th April, hosted by Baroness Harris of Richmond and presented by Lord William Hague.
In a new addition for 2017, Rotary is also honouring members of the public with Community Champion Awards. These members of the public will have led and inspired others and have been nominated by their local Rotary club.
Richard has planned, organised and implemented several projects to bring water to small communities in Nepal. Thanks to Richard’s work, new water supplies, free from harmful contamination, have been added to five rural communities in the country. With taps spread across the communities, no house is more than 50 metres from a tap, a drastic improvement from the long walks through harsh terrain that villagers previously had to undertake.
David set up Our Street Our Children (OSOC) with his wife Jackie in 2012, to reduce the dangers and increase opportunities for street children in Nepal by providing food, shelter, clothing and improved education. There are two main strands to the work in Nepal.
Firstly, The Homework Club, in which 30 children participate before and after school in a safe environment. Secondly, OSOC recruits outreach workers who can provide everything from basic food and clothing, to drug and alcohol abuse counselling, all with the intention of brightening their future opportunities.
Robbie’s service has led to the provision of education to over 300 children in Southern Uganda over a period of around 20 years. In addition to improving the prospects of these children immeasurably by upgrading local education to A level standard, the Amazing Love School project has also provided life-changing facilities such as a hygienic girls dormitory and toilet block.
Ian has worked for over 10 years with Literacy in a Box, a Rotary club derived project set up to give the children of Zambia hope through education. Although the work of Literacy in a Box is ongoing, there are often individual projects the trust supports, such as at the Manaca Community School.
Ian visited the school in 2013 to find it was nothing more than a converted chicken shed, but over the next two years, working with other partner organisations who refurbished the school, Ian helped supply 20 literacy boxes full of education equipment and £3000 worth of textbooks for 400 pupils so they had access to a functional and secure learning environment.
After seeing a hugely successful meal pack take place at the Rotary Convention in Brazil, Irene spearheaded the project to bring a similar activity to the UK. Working with charity Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now), Irene, led efforts to raise £25,000 from 28 different Rotary clubs to make the meal pack a reality.
In August 2016 over 500 volunteers, aged six to 92, packed over 100,000 meals, which are now feeding children in the poverty-stricken area of Nairobi, Kenya. Irene, pictured above at the even in August, also hosted a meal packing at the Rotary Conference in Manchester, where 16,000 meals were packed to be distributed to Zimbabwe.
In the aftermath of super typhoon Haiyan hitting the Philippines in November 2013, Patricia initiated a fund-raising campaign which initially raised £5,000 with a street collection, but, under her leadership, was eventually turned into £44,000 enabling the financing of 80 motorised fiberglass fishing boats to help replenish the lost fleet on the island of Kinatarcan.
David became aware of the dire conditions in Sierra Leone on a trip there in 2005. It became his aim to provide high quality, free education for the Temne tribe in a rural area of the country, where residents speak their own language and are unable to read or write.
What followed in 2008 was what the locals called ‘The David School’. Since then, the project has seen the opening of a refurbished primary school and newly built secondary school and living accommodation for staff. The site teaches around 360 pupils during the day and offers adult education programmes in the evenings.
Janet has worked tirelessly to make Peterborough a leading city when it comes to improving the lives of those suffering from dementia. She helped to form the Peterborough Dementia Action Alliance, achieve £1.5 million worth of funding for a Dementia Resource Centre and started up Peterborough’s very own Rotary Memory Café.
Martin has worked tirelessly for the last 34 years to improve the way that disabled people are treated. A former Royal Marine, Martin was left wheelchair bound at the age of 23 following a serious accident whilst on a training exercise.
Martin campaigned to change the law to give servicemen and women proper compensation. Martin now spends time working with limbless veterans to support them with their rehabilitation and reintegration into society, as well as mentoring and inspiring young people.
Geri has been at the forefront of projects supporting people with dementia and their carers and has very much been the catalyst in Tavistock becoming the first Dementia-Friendly Community.
She has united the community to set up Memory Cafés and been involved with the building of Sensory Gardens, resulting in the awareness and understanding of dementia locally increasing significantly.
Graham was President of Keswick Rotary Club when devastating floods hit the north of England in December 2015. His swift action and local knowledge enabled help to be provided immediately to those in need and also assisted in facilitating longer term restoration funds to the community.
Graham’s experience with previous floods helped him liaise with local councils and galvanise Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland who donated almost £250,000 to the recovery fund.
In addition to the Champions of Change Awards, a Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Presidential Award will also be given.
The last time polio affected a child in Europe was 2015. Two Ukrainian children were diagnosed with paralytic polio, and that likely means that many more were infected and didn’t show symptoms. At least one Western news outlet deemed the outbreak “crazy” — but the reality is that no place on Earth is safe from polio until the disease is eradicated everywhere.
It costs real money to keep that network operational, and this lab network is the most highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art infectious-disease network in the world. Rotarians should be proud of that — it’s the No. 1 network, bar none.
senior adviser to the director, Global Immunization Division, at the CDC
Ukraine had fully vaccinated only 50 percent of its children against polio, and low immunization rates are a recipe for an outbreak. In this case, a rare mutation in the weakened strain used in the oral polio vaccine was able to spread because so many children had not been vaccinated. To stop it from progressing, the country needed to administer 6 million vaccines through an emergency program.
“Rotary was there at the beginning of the global effort to eradicate polio,” says International PolioPlus Committee Chair Michael K. McGovern. “It would be unfortunate if Rotary isn’t there at the finish line. We’ve done too much; we’ve made too much progress to walk away before we finish.”
Finding poliovirus outside Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the only countries that have yet to eradicate it, is not unusual. In 2014, just before the World Cup brought travelers from all over the planet to Brazil, poliovirus was detected in the sewage system at São Paulo’s Viracopos International Airport. Using genetic testing, officials traced its origin to Equatorial Guinea. Brazil’s regular vaccination efforts kept the disease from showing up beyond the airport doors.
Those are frustrating examples for the thousands of people around the world working to eradicate polio. The fight has come a long way, but it is far from over. And while many involved in the effort say we may detect the final naturally occurring case of polio this year, getting to that point — and ensuring that the disease remains gone — will continue to require money, hard work, and the support of Rotarians around the world.
Here are the steps needed to ensure polio is truly gone forever:
One of the most important aspects of the fight to eradicate polio is detection. This requires continuous surveillance that is complicated and costly. Polio surveillance consists of two parts. First, doctors and community health workers monitor children for acute flaccid paralysis. The second part of the process involves local authorities collecting samples from sewage systems or in places that don’t have adequate sanitation facilities, including rivers or bodies of water near a large group of residents.
Ninety percent of people infected with the virus show no symptoms, and those who do usually have mild symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and headaches. Only one in every 200 cases of the illness results in paralysis, which means that for every child who is paralyzed, several hundred are carrying the disease and may not show it.
And not every case of paralysis is caused by polio. Other viruses that can cause the polio-like symptoms known as acute flaccid paralysis include Japanese encephalitis, West Nile, and Zika. To determine if a patient has polio, health workers must collect two stool specimens 14 days apart and send them to a lab for testing.
Fifteen to 20 countries are still at high risk despite having eradicated the illness. Because the poliovirus is most easily detected, and most easily contracted, through stool, researchers take samples from sewage systems and, in places that don’t have sewer infrastructure, from rivers and open gutters.
GPEI has developed a network of 145 laboratories around the world that can identify the disease, and Rotary has played a leading role in supporting these facilities.
But regular environmental surveillance is “logistically not so easy to do and it’s relatively expensive. It adds a considerable burden to the labs to process the sewage samples,” says Stephen Cochi, senior adviser to the director, Global Immunization Division, at the CDC. “It costs real money to keep that network operational, and this lab network is the most highly sophisticated, state-of-the-art infectious-disease network in the world. Rotarians should be proud of that — it’s the No. 1 network, bar none.”
As part of this system of labs, Rotary has helped fund small, sophisticated local laboratories to track genetic variations of the disease. All viruses mutate to confuse the human immune system, but the poliovirus is notorious for doing so at a rapid rate.
One of these labs allowed Brazilian authorities to trace the virus at São Paulo airport to Equatorial Guinea more than 6,400 km away.
Vigilance is key to successful surveillance, says Michel Zaffran, director of polio eradication at WHO. “This is a hidden cost to the program that people don’t realize is absolutely necessary to maintain,” he said.
The GPEI is providing surveillance in about 72 countries, RI President John Germ said at Rotary’s World Polio Day event on 24 October 2016. “It’s an expensive fight,” he said.........
Growing up as a young girl in the peaceful village of Qala-e-Malakh in Afghanistan, I was part of a loving family with ten brothers and sisters. We were happy, but little did we know that our lives would soon face devastation as the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979. I was frightened and scared for my life and for the lives of my loved ones. Every time I heard shots or explosions, I trembled at the thought of losing a family member.
In the face of war, we were forced to flee our home, leaving everything behind to head towards refugee camps in Pakistan. A long journey awaited us as we traveled through mountains without much food or water, with small children and my mother who was eight months pregnant at the time. We arrived to the camps safely where I spent the next six years of my life. My life had been turned upside down. Growing up, I always had aspirations and dreams to be educated, and hoped for the opportunity to pursue them. My six years in the camp did not give me that opportunity, but I tried to learn what I could from my brothers’ books.
In 1986, I boarded a plane to meet my fiancé, who was a medical student in the United States who I had met in the refugee camp in Pakistan. My trip brought me to Muncie, Indiana, and I was blessed with the opportunity that I had always wanted. I was finally able to pursue my education, completing a GED and continuing on to receive an art degree from Ball State University. As my life has moved on from my home in Qala-e-Malakh and the refugee camps, I never forgot about the girls I left behind who have the same dreams as I did.
My husband and I continued to travel back to the refugee camps in Pakistan every year, with medicine and other humanitarian supplies. In 2002, with the support of family and friends, we established AWAKEN (Afghan Women and Kids Education & Necessities) to provide educational opportunities, vocational training, and healthcare services to the people of Afghanistan, especially the women and children.
As part of AWAKEN, we offered a vocational training program where we traveled from village to village and rented a room conveniently located near women’s homes. We conducted a six-month course teaching women basic hygiene, reading, writing, and sewing. At the end of the course, all women received a sewing machine and kit so they could become self-sufficient.
There were also no opportunities for education in my hometown of Qala-e-Malakh. In 2004, AWAKEN established a school for children grades K-12. The school now has more than 1200 students enrolled.
Most villages in Afghanistan do not have access to any sort of healthcare. In 2008, we built the Behsood Health Clinic which provides over 500 families access to basic treatments such as vaccines, birth control, etc. The clinic sees more than 180 patients daily.
Recently, AWAKEN partnered with the Rotary Club of Muncie Sunrise (United States) and the Rotary Club of Jalalabad (Afghanistan) to establish a Saheli Center. The center will open near the current AWAKEN clinic and school providing literacy, nutrition, and reproductive health classes. The center will also provide vocational education, including but not limited to computers and tailoring expanding upon AWAKEN’s efforts.
One of my biggest dreams was to open a birthing center in the village. AWAKEN created a birthing center to provide prenatal and postnatal care. With the support of partnering Rotary clubs, we will expand our efforts by conducted Family Planning Workshops taught by medical professionals from the Rotary Club of Jalalabad and the AWAKEN clinic staff. Birth attendants will also conduct small workshops on pre-natal nutrition, birthing practices and infant nutrition, including breast feeding for those receiving pre-natal care. Small packages of infant care supplies provided by the Rotary clubs will be given to women who complete all the classes.
I was once a little girl in Afghanistan with limited opportunities, and am blessed to have the life I enjoy today. Unfortunately, people living in impoverished countries do not have access to the opportunities and resources that I do now. Together we can make a difference in the lives of many women and children in Afghanistan, so that they can awaken to a brighter future with opportunities for continuing their education and becoming self-sufficient!
- Bibi Bahrami, member of the Rotary Club of Muncie and founder of AWAKEN in Rotary Service Connections
www.eflashonline.org is an initiative of Rotary Club of Kalamassery, R I District 3201, India. Since 1999, eFlash spreads Rotary news and stories online to members from over 100 countries.
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