Ethical Dilemma Discussion: what do you do?

Your club is working to provide technology and training for teachers and children at a school in a very low-income area with limited educational resources. During your search for sponsors, a club member in a senior position at a well-known business offers to pay most of the project’s costs. This sponsorship would allow you to complete the project quickly, and kids would be in classrooms learning in just a short time. You are grateful for the generosity but hesitate because this business has been in the media over some ethical concerns. You aren’t sure it’s a good idea to accept the sponsorship, but raising the funds in other ways could sharply delay the project.

What would you do?

Creating stronger community ties through Rotary Community Corps

By Carolina Barrios, Member of the Rotary Club of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

In 2010, severe flooding affected a huge part of the Colombian territory and the Caribbean region surrounding Cartagena. Streets had turned into rivers and canoes became the only possible form of transportation. During this time, the Rotary Club Cartagena de Indias connected with the community of Leticia to assist them through emergency relief efforts.

After these efforts, the club remained active in Leticia to develop a revitalization plan with community leaders. Our objective was to understand their challenges and needs, and propose possible solutions while giving the community hope that we were there to stay and assist. As passionate Rotarians aiming to make a difference, our actions were oriented to improve the community through projects like: decorating the church, building a new park, organizing health brigades, standing up for the public school (it was in danger of being downsized through teacher cuts, etc.), vocational orientations, city planning and urbanism, distributing Christmas gifts and even a Global Grant project to provide basic sanitation!

In 2013, the year I joined the Rotary Club of Cartagena de Indias, we organized the community of Leticia into a Rotary Community Corps (RCC). The group was key for determining community needs that we were able to translate into a Global Grant with the support of several Los Angeles area rotary clubs. The grant, successfully implemented earlier this calendar year, provided basic sanitation to twenty five families as direct beneficiaries, and training to the whole community in water management and waste disposal through hands-on workshops. Since Leticia is a 45-minute boat ride away, members of our club could not always be physically present and forming this RCC helped us have eyes and ears in the community every day!

The Leticia RCC is composed of ten amazing women leaders who take their role very seriously and are always proposing ideas to improve their community. They play a central role in the success of all the implemented projects and our club supports their new ideas for meeting community needs. Recently, together we carried out productive projects such as a traditional food (sweet) festival, hosting a flea market, and a community bingo night in order to finance projects for their village.  We have certainly developed a close relationship with the Leticia community through this Rotary Community Corps. Word has spread and now a nearby village has asked for their own RCC. We are in the process of chartering this new RCC and know it will be just as successful!

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If you are looking for a way to make a difference, a Rotary Community Corps is a great way to make an impact. Learn more and get involved today!



How will you celebrate Rotary and our service to humanity?



By Azka Asif, Rotary Service Connections Staff

Service to humanity has been the cornerstone of Rotary since its earliest days, and has been its main purpose ever since. RI President John F. Germ believes no other organization effectively brings together committed, capable professionals in a wide variety of fields, and enables them to achieve ambitious goals like Rotary does.

Throughout the years, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects to provide clean water, fight disease, promote peace, provide basic education, and grow local economies. We’ve also been a leader in the fight to eradicate polio worldwide. In 2016-17, the Rotary Foundation turns 100. That’s a century of Rotary members using their capacity, network, and knowledge to change the world. And that’s definitely something worth celebrating.

The centennial is a great time to share our accomplishments, but also a time for Rotary members to continue to use their unique abilities to catapult Rotary forward to be an even greater force for good in the world.

President Germ is challenging Rotarians to continue changing lives and improving communities all over the world. Here are just a few ways you can do that:

The 2016-17 Rotary year is a time for Rotary members to celebrate 100 years of Doing Good in the World. Throughout the year showcase your 100 acts of good by posting photos of the impact you are making in your community, along with a brief description onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the #100ActsofGood hashtag. Be sure to list all your efforts on Rotary Showcase.

Remember, 2016-17 Presidential Citation will recognize clubs that achieve an array of accomplishments intended to make Rotary stronger. Encourage your clubs to focus on the Humanitarian Service goals listed in the Presidential Citation brochure.



Read more about John Germ’s 2016-17 theme, Rotary Serving Humanity.

Annual tennis tournament brings together Rotarians from all over the world

By Rotary Service Connections Staff

The International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians held their 11th  annual world championship tournament in southern Georgia, USA.  44 competitors from nine countries, including Italy, Romania, and Paraguay, and from around the U.S. participated in the tournament. They arrived to play tennis, but they came as much for the fellowship and camaraderie. Read more about this story featured in The Rotarian.

“This fellowship deal, it’s a part of Rotary that 90 percent of Rotarians know nothing about and don’t have an idea of what they’re missing. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity. There’s nothing better than being hosted in a foreign country by fellow Rotarians with whom you have a connection not only through tennis but through friendship. They show you what the real country is, what the real food is, the real average, everyday events and life.” — Eugene McNease, avid tennis player and Vice Chair the International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians

P1010138Since the International Tennis Fellowship of Rotarians was founded in 2004, its tournaments, including the championships, have raised more than $300,000 for Rotary projects, according to Fellowship Chair Mladen Novaković. The group has grown quickly to 1,494 members from 72 countries.

Visit the group’s website or contact Fellowship Chair Mladen Novaković to get involved!

Beer enthusiasts celebrate fellowship at the Korea Convention

Beers Rotarians Enjoy Worldwide (BREW) Fellowship is an international community of Rotarians who enjoy and appreciate the fine art of brewing, tasting and drinking of beer. Since water is a primary ingredient in beer, BREW also strives to support efforts and projects that bring clean water to those in need. Follow BREW on Facebook for more information and contact Fellowship Chair, Moses Aryee, or to join today!

Below are some pictures of their annual summit at the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Korea:

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How can you make new friends from all over the globe?

By Azka Asif, Rotary Service Connections Staff

By joining a Rotary Fellowship! Throughout the month of June, we’ve been celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories have inspired you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.

As the 2015-16 Rotary year comes to end, we’re taking a look back at all the new fellowships that were recognized this year:

  • International Fellowship of Rowing Rotarians plans joint travels and sporting contests for those interested in rowing. Visit their website or contact chair Hartmut Jaeger.
  • Rotarian Fellowship of Corporate Social Responsibility aims to help Rotarians address social responsibility issues as well as encourage clubs and districts to incorporate social responsibility themes into their service projects. Contact chair Gaetano Papa.
  • The International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators was formed to promote quality education (both public and private) as well as training and development initiatives such as continuing education; read how this group got started. Visit their website and contact chair Charles Grant.
  • The 4X4 International Fellowship for Rotarians will attract those who enjoy outdoor exploration in 4×4 vehicles while experiencing nature and conserving it for future generations. Contact chair Ida van den Bergh.
  • Rotary on Pins Fellowship will connect those passionate about Rota
    ry pins and serve as a resource for clubs and individual Rotarians who want to learn more. Follow their Facebook page or contact chair Ed Book.

View a complete list of Rotary Fellowships or form a new one today!



Doctors’ Fellowship aims to empower albino community in Tanzania

By Dr. John Philip, Past District Governor and Chair of the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors

Albino FamilyThree years ago I was on the island of Ukerewe in Tanzania leading a Rotary project when I heard a child had been abducted and murdered. The child was an albino and was targeted by traditional healers. I was in utter disbelief when I discovered traditional healers, sometimes called witch doctors, target albinos to use their body parts in ritual practices, which they claim bring wealth and good luck. The Tanzanian government banned witch doctors in January 2015. Since then more than 200 witch doctors and traditional healers have been arrested, but many people with albinism still live under the threat of death.

People with albinism lack melanin pigment in their skin and appear to have “white” skin. They have sensitivity to ultraviolet radiation and are at risk of developing skin cancer and significant sight problems. The Rotarian Doctors’ Fellowship is supporting a campaign in Tanzania to help this marginalized and discriminated community claim their rightful place in the society and live without fear. Our project addresses many interconnected challenges – reducing stigma through village seminars, vocational training and improving eye care.

ROTARIAN WITH AN ALBINOAs a cancer specialist, my initial interest was to help this high risk group receive better treatment for skin cancer. Skin cancer is not a lethal disease and is easily preventable. I soon realized that improving skin cancer care was important, but will have little effect until other complex social issues are addressed. Through village education and peace building efforts, we sought to help persuade communities with high incidences of violence against people with albinism to abandon old beliefs and myths.

This year, I went back to evaluate the campaign and our efforts. Our local partner, the Mennonite Central Committee of Tanzania (MCC), had conducted more than 40 village education meetings engaging 2,000 villagers.  At the review meeting, I met with 16 village leaders and heard their plans of action. There had been a dramatic change in their perception about albinism and a sense of determination that they did not want the good names of their villages to be tarnished by attacks on people with albinism.

Then I witnessed something that had never happened before. I heard a joint presentation by a traditional healer and person with albinism. As a result of the year-long peace building efforts, traditional healers and people with albinism had formed an alliance called CHATAS to openly fight against albinism myths.

They called for action to bring to justice those who propagated abhorrent views. The leader of CHATAS, a traditional healer himself said, “We – the traditional healers – condemn and disown those who bring disgrace to our profession. We hope they would be debarred from practicing healing. Albinos are people just like us.”

This type of collaboration was unimaginable a year ago. The village education meetings and peace building program were funded by Rotary and implemented by our partners – MCC and Albino Peace Makers. Rotary helped make this miracle happen.

Through the Fellowship’s network of contacts, I have been able to share my experience with colleagues all around the world and thus highlight the plight of people with albinism.  The project has attracted support from seven Rotary districts and a number of organizations. I was even invited to share my experience with delegates at the Rotary International Presidential Conference on Disease Prevention and Treatment in Cannes.

PEOPLE LIKE US1Helping people with albinism is one of many projects supported by the Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors. The Fellowship offers for Rotarians, their family members, and program participants and alumni a unique opportunity to bring their vocation into service, change lives and make friends. The group shares a vision for supporting and promoting global health improvements, an enthusiasm for making advancements through volunteering, and a strong commitment to support local and international healthcare initiatives. For more information, contact me.



Combining vocational service and fellowship


By Dr. Charles Grant, Rotary Club of North Shore (Houston), Texas, USA, and Chair of the International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators

Last year when I received the June issue of the Rotarian magazine, I noticed the listing of all the Rotary Fellowships.  Before then, I wasn’t that familiar with fellowships, I thought they were just for Rotarians who were interested in the same hobbies like chess, golf, or yachting.  I didn’t know there were vocationally oriented fellowships as well.  I looked at the list and saw a few fellowships for professionals such as doctors, lawyers and police & law enforcement but I thought there were many missing, so I went on to to see if there were more and there weren’t. That’s when I decided I wanted to takeaction.

The last sentence on that page of The Rotarian encouraged those interested in forming a new fellowship to contact and so I did. Zuhal Sharp, the Service and Networking Programs Specialist at Rotary International, helped start the process of forming a brand new fellowship for educators. To qualify, we had to have at least 25 interested members from three different countries.  We had interested Rotarians from seven countries!  During this time I met Maria Bossa from the Rotary Club of Río Tercero, Argentina,  who is now our Fellowship Secretary.

Maria had been using Rotary Discussion Groups to exchange ideas and had started the Rotarian Educators group which has more than 200 members and is one of the most active groups in My Rotary! She always had the dream of transforming the group into a fellowship. Maria found out about my fellowship idea and contacted me telling me she wanted to get involved. Through our collaborative efforts, we were able to make Maria’s dream a reality.

At the start of the 2015-16 Rotary year in July, I met with Belinda Kaylani from the Rotary E-Club of Houston, USA, on her first day as District 5890’s Fellowship Chair to discuss the idea.  She helped me get all the required signatures and documents for our proposal which was submitted and approved in December 2015!

The International Fellowship of Rotarian Educators was formed to promote quality education (both public and private) as well as training and development initiatives such as continuing education. We also hope to provide access to education, especially for girls, in many developing countries.

Get involved

It is important to note that one does NOT have to an educator by trade to be a part of our fellowship. Anyone who has a passion for or interest in education is encouraged to join.  Frankly, I don’t know of any Rotarians who aren’t interested in education.  We all know that education is the key to a better quality of life!  Contact me for more information.

Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.



International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians encourages youth service

By Steve Henning, Rotary Club of Kutztown, USA, and member of the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians

In the early 1990’s, several Rotarians who were also Scouters met and discussed how to provide an outlet for other Rotarians who shared their same interest through a Rotary Fellowship. The principles and goals of Rotary and Scouting are closely aligned: serving our community, others, and ourselves, developing leadership skills, building character, and becoming aware of the world around us.

A group of British Rotarians interested in scouting formed the basis of the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians (IFSR). An organizing meeting was held at the Rotary International Convention in Mexico City in 1991 and shortly after the fellowship was approved. The Fellowship’s first formal meeting was held in Marseille, France; today we have more than 1000 members worldwide and promote the Rotary motto of Service Above Self.

IFSR is a group of Rotarians dedicated to promoting the scouting movement internationally. We aim to develop a strong international network of Rotarians with a passion for scouting. IFSR provides opportunities for social and fellowship interaction among its members. We also give active encouragement to scouting at local, national and international levels and recognize individuals who have provided exceptionally unique service to scouting and Rotary.

We are committed to supporting youth in their physical, mental and spiritual development through a strong focus on the outdoors and survival skills. We encourage youth service and honor Rotary clubs who provide service to or work with Scouts with the IFSR Youth Service Award.  Below are some recent recipients of this award:

  • In the Cayman Islands, seniors were in for a special treat when young ladies from the Girl Guides, Brownies and Rainbows spent the evening with them at the Cayman Brac Rotary Club’s Annual Senior Citizen Dinner. Seniors were treated to a traditional Caymanian Christmas dinner and each given a gift prepared by the Rotarians.
  • In Australia, the Diamantina Scouts lost their scout hall when the building was targeted by arsonists in 2010. Through sausage sizzles and badge sales, the group raised more than USD $20,000. With the support of the Rotary Club of Belconnen, the Scouts Australia ACT branch raised the remaining USD $130,000 needed to rebuild.
  • The Brentwood Noon Rotary Club of Tennessee in the United Sates held its 11th Annual Little Harpeth River Cleanup, cleaning up nearly 3,000 pounds of trash in a river that runs more than 10 miles through the city. In addition to Rotary club members, volunteers from the Boy Scout Troops and Cub Scout Packs helped.
  • In England, thanks to a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Sherborne Castles, 21 members of the 1st Sherborne Girl Guides will take part in a camping trip.

Membership in the International Fellowship of Scouting Rotarians is open to Rotarians, family members, program participants and alumni in any country, who are also former current members or supporters of any (girl or boy) Scout or Guide Association. Learn more on our website and join today!

Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.



Fostering international understanding through Rotary Fellowships

By Franco Clemente, Rotary E-Club of and Chair of the Italian Culture Worldwide Rotarian Fellowship  

My first encounter with Rotary Fellowships was in 1993 when the Magna Graecia Fellowship hosted their annual tour in South Italy. This was the first time I met Rotarians from around the world and enjoyed their fellowship. In 1994, I took part in the Italian Rotarian Ski Championship with my family, spending a week in the mountains alongside Rotarian skiers. In 1997, I joined the Yachting Fellowship (IYFR), launching the South Italy Fleet, and since then I have taken part in meetings all around the world, making friends with Rotarian sailors from everywhere:  Hawaii, England, the Philippines and Spain.

I joined Rotary in 1992, and I almost immediately appreciated its huge global network. Along with that I appreciated the wide variety of Rotary Fellowships. I’ve been a member of many Fellowships, and I have participated as a guest in many events organized by other Fellowships. My family has always been involved in these activities, and I can say that Rotary Fellowships helped my daughters understand what Rotary really is, since in Italy we tend to be a little too formal and serious in our meetings.

I was among the founders of the Italian Culture Worldwide Rotary Fellowship (ICWRF) and I can say that this fellowship truly embodies the Rotary spirit. ICWRF originated from the common activities of a small group of Rotarians from different continents who met through Rotary exchanges and international projects, and for almost ten years had been using their friendships to support their own district’s international projects.

The ICWRF is open to all Rotarians, their spouses, Rotaractors and Rotary alumni to be used as an international service network for those interested in Italian culture, living abroad, and meeting Italian Rotarians. ICWRF’s purpose is to promote collaboration among various cultures, people and countries, using the Rotary network for better understanding how different cultures adapt and integrate with each other, and paying particular attention to immigration problems and fostering international understanding.

Since the formation of ICWRF, my Rotary life has changed, as has my personal life. On one hand, I had a new means of getting in touch with old Rotarian friends, often met through other Rotary Fellowships. I have led quite an unconventional life. I have lived in many different countries, and I have always been grateful to Rotary for the opportunity to make so many friends, and to serve locally with them. Unfortunately, changing jobs and changing countries, I have lost touch with a lot of them.

I had the incredible pleasure of being contacted by young Rotarians from London, England and Tirana, Albania who formed new ICWRF teams in their nations. These teams included friends of mine who I hadn’t seen for years but they recognized my name and got in touch with me. I’ve been living in the Arabian Peninsula for the last three years – the last two in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), where Rotary is currently not present – and believe me, it was very good getting in touch with so many new friends, and being able to serve, even from the remote KSA. Miracles of Rotary!

Every year the Italian Culture Worldwide Rotary Fellowship (ICWRF) observes the Day of Remembrance on 8 August to concentrate our actions on celebrating immigration and analyzing common and shareable roots to better understanding different cultures. Contact me to learn how you can get involved.

Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.