Encouraging Peace (10 March 2020)

I am moved to make this post after reading an article on the number of refugees leaving Venezuela and the situation in Turkey and Europe with a huge number of Syrian refugees. Please read the article on Venezuela. https://www.rotary.org/en/exodus-venezuela

I find this an encouraging move by Rotary in a World that seems to have more conflict and challenging situations than ever before. Peace initiatives within our communities are needed now more than ever.

Rotary’s peace initiatives at a tipping point

Posted on March 4, 2020

Positive Peace activity

Rotarians, Rotary Peace Fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Scholars participate in a Positive Peace workshop.

By Chris Offer, Rotary Club of Ladner, Delta, British Columbia, Canada, and chair of the Peace Major Gifts Initiative

Ispent three days in Ontario, California, USA, in January with a group of passionate peacebuilders learning to be Rotary Positive Peace Activators.

The goal of the three-day training was to develop a worldwide network of peacebuilders to support Rotarians and Rotaractors in fostering Positive Peace in their communities. By 2024, Rotary will train 150 new Positive Peace Activators in six global regions, prepared to educate, coach, and accompany Rotarians in at least 1,000 presentations and/or workshops, and act as consultants on projects locally and globally.

The training is the next step in a growing list of Rotary peace initiatives that I believe are pushing Rotary to a tipping point. Our peace programs will begin rapidly expanding and will change Rotary forever as we go from being advocates for peace to something grander: active and effective peacebuilders.

In 2017, Rotary and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) formed a strategic partnership. This alliance builds on IEP’s research into Positive Peace – the attitudes, institutions, and structures that shape peaceful societies – as well as Rotary’s grassroots work in communities globally.

In addition to our partnership with IEP, Rotary’s Peace Centers are expanding, Rotary Peace Fellows are taking on diverse roles, there is an online peace academy, and clubs and districts are increasing their reach with a variety of peace projects. Major positive peace projects occurred in 2019 in Mexico and Colombia.

The 25 activators who participated in the training with me were Rotarians, peace fellows, Rotaractors, and Rotary Global Scholars. We were trained on the IEP positive peace model and on facilitating meetings. We focused on skills that will enable us to lead education programs with Rotary-affiliated groups.

Rotary seeks to create the conditions for Positive Peace by funding and implementing thousands of local and international peace projects. The Rotary Positive Peace Activators will take a lead as advisors to assist clubs and districts.

This is our peace tipping point.

Welcome to 2020 (4 January 2020)

We have all seen the disastrous fires that have erupted, taking lives as well as destroying hundreds of homes and properties across Australia.

Rotary is looking to provide support for families in need. To this end several Rotary Districts and Clubs have established projects which are ready and able to accept donations from you. All of those projects can apply for funds from this appeal. Click to DONATE

The article published in “The Rotarian”, January 2020 tells a story of what Rotary and Rotarians can do to assist those who need assistance: Service above Self

Ski into the heart of Rotary

Guido Franceschetti
Rotary Club of Rome International

The only way to survive was to relax every single muscle and then forget about the body. The pain remained, but I learned to contemplate it objectively, almost like a spectator. After my surgeries, I had to lie completely still, my shattered pelvis held together with plates and screws. I could only use one hand; the other shoulder was broken. Fractured vertebrae and ribs added to the pain.

I was skiing with friends in Val d’Isère, France, when the accident happened. The first two days were glorious: good snow, ideal conditions. On the third day, a dense fog rolled in, so we decided to take an easier route down and stop for the day. The runs were smooth and deserted. I was ahead, so I cut right and looked behind me to see if I could catch a glimpse of anyone. I cut left and looked back again. Where were they?

When I faced forward again, a signpost was directly in front of me. I tried an emergency maneuver to avoid it, but it didn’t work. With the little control I had left, I tried dodging it from the side. But it was too late — I hit the post hard.

My friend Bernard found me first. I was in so much pain and very cold. He put his windbreaker over me and called for help. It was too foggy for a helicopter to airlift me off the mountain, so the emergency response team hoisted me onto a toboggan to sled down to a cable car that took me the rest of the way to a waiting ambulance. My injuries were too complicated for the two closest hospitals to treat, so I was transferred to a university hospital in Grenoble for surgery.

My wife, Daniela, was in Rome at the time. She rushed to France, but by the time she got to Grenoble, I had already been taken into surgery. The operation was expected to be very long, so the staff advised her to return to the hotel. I hate to think of how she must have felt, upset and alone in a foreign place with my situation uncertain.

Back at the hotel, Daniela noticed the Rotary logo; the doorman told her that the Rotary Club of Grenoble-Belledonne met there. In fact, their meeting was about to start. Daniela is also a Rotarian, and the timing felt like a blessing. She needed to spend a few hours among friendly faces, even if they were strangers. She decided to attend.

The club members welcomed her warmly, and when she told them about my accident, they showed us what it means to be a part of Rotary. The topic of the meeting shifted from club business to how to help Daniela. One member offered her daughter’s apartment, which was temporarily unoccupied. Another gave Daniela a ride back to the hospital. When she told me everything later, I was very touched. I could tell that Daniela had gained strength to deal with her fears for my health knowing that she could count on friends, even ones she had just met, to help her.

In the following days, while I underwent more operations, the Grenoble Rotarians helped Daniela settle in. They solved the bureaucratic problems that arose when she filled out the paperwork to authorize my stay in France. After two weeks in the hospital, I was transferred to a rehabilitation clinic in the mountains outside Grenoble. My doctors thought it best that I stay nearby, rather than return to Rome, during rehabilitation so they could monitor my progress and intervene if needed.

I spent four months recovering in France. For much of that time, I was completely immobilized. I was well cared for, and Daniela was able to travel back and forth from Rome to see me, but I was still in a foreign place without any family nearby. The rehabilitation clinic was beautiful, but the road to reach it was winding, long, and not very convenient from Grenoble. Yet the Rotarians never left me wanting for company. Their visits brought me a little bit of the outside world, and for that, I was so grateful. After any of them visited, Daniela would, of course, receive an update.

When I finally started to move around in a wheelchair, I asked my doctor for permission to attend the Grenoble-Belledonne club meeting. Through tears, I thanked them for taking care of me and my family.

It’s now been almost 12 years since my accident. I have healed, and our friendship with many members of the Grenoble club endures. I have always believed that the most extraordinary aspect of Rotary is the potential for friendship all over the world. I’m lucky to have lived a very touching example of that.

As told to Vanessa Glavinskas

The Purple House (23 October 2019)
The Purple Truck – a mobile dialysis unit

At our meeting held 22 October 2019, DG John McKenzie explained how all Rotary Districts in Australia are giving support to Purple House. Here is their story and how you donate on their website. A great cause.

The Purple House story begins with some magnificent paintings…

Thirty years ago, Pintupi people from the Western Desert of Central Australia began leaving their country and families to seek treatment for end-stage renal failure in Alice Springs or Darwin. Far from home, they suffered great loneliness and hardship, and weren’t around to pass on cultural knowledge in their communities.

So they decided to do something about it.

In 2000 Papunya Tula artists from Walungurru and Kiwirrikurra developed four extraordinary collaborative paintings which were auctioned at the Art Gallery of New South Wales on 11 November 2000, which along with a series of other work, raised over $1 million. That money started the Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation, now called Purple House, which developed a new model of care based around family, country and compassion.

Run from its headquarters in a suburban house in Alice Springs, Purple House’s mission is ‘Making all our families well’. Flexibility and cultural safety is at the centre of everything we do. It’s the ‘Purple House way’.

We now offer remote dialysis, social support, aged-care services and runs a bush medicine enterprise. And our services are expanding. Since the opening of the first dialysis clinic in Kintore in 2004, we now run 16 remote clinics and a mobile dialysis unit called the Purple Truck, which allows patients to head back home to visit family, for festivals, funerals and other cultural business. Three new remote dialysis clinics are scheduled to open in 2019.

Central Australia has gone from having the worst to best survival rates for dialysis in Australia.  We are getting more and more patients back home so that families and culture can remain strong. As one former-director said, “Anangu like the open space of their land, where they can smell the Spirit, the wildflowers and other plants. They want fire for the smell of wood smoke going through the air. They want to smell the flowers after rain.”

Purple House is entirely Indigenous-run and owned with an all-Indigenous Board of Directors who are elected by our members.  We are supported through an innovative mix of philanthropic and self-generated funds, and Northern Territory and Commonwealth Government support.

Purple House is is always willing to share our story and provide advice and support to other communities who want to establish their own dialysis service.

You can see more and donate on their website: https://www.purplehouse.org.au/

Rotarian People of Action (5 October 2019)

6 humanitarians honored for their work with refugees

Six humanitarians who are members of the family of Rotary are being honored as People of Action: Connectors Beyond Borders during the 2019 Rotary Day at the United Nations, which focuses this year on the global refugee crisis.

The annual event, being held at the UN’s headquarters in New York, USA, on 9 November this year, celebrates the vision for peace that Rotary and the UN share. Through Rotary’s long history with the UN, its members have helped people affected by war, famine, and disaster.

Today, the number of refugees worldwide is the highest it has been since World War II. The six honorees — five Rotary members and a Rotary Peace Fellow — are all people of action who have found community-based solutions to the refugee crisis.

Bernd Fischer

Club: Rotary Club of Berlin, Germany

Project: Integration of refugee women into German society

Description: Fischer, a retired diplomat, is coordinating Rotary clubs in Europe and the U.S. on a grant project to integrate 240 refugee women into German society by helping them overcome cultural and language differences that hinder their participation in daily life. The project has already trained 100 women with children and has provided mentoring in their own languages, job training and placement assistance, and child care when they need medical and psychological treatment.

Lucienne Heyworth

Rotary connection: Rotary Peace Fellow (Uppsala University, 2015-17)

Project: Education curriculum in times of emergency, focused on the Middle East

Description: Heyworth developed an “education in emergencies” curriculum to provide instructional materials that can be used in makeshift learning spaces to teach people displaced by conflict. Such spaces create critical safe places for entire communities, where families can fill other basic needs like food, hygiene, and health. Heyworth, who was a teacher before she developed her expertise in providing education in areas of conflict, has focused her work in the Middle East.

Ilge Karancak-Splane

Club: Rotary Club of Monterey Cannery Row, California, USA

Project: Education and integration project in Turkey for Syrian refugee children

Description: After visiting several refugee tent camps in Turkey, Karancak-Splane organized Rotary clubs to provide 1,000 pairs of children’s shoes and socks for families in the camps in 2017. Recognizing that the children also lacked access to schools, Karancak-Splane and her Rotary club launched a global grant project to help educate refugee children.

Hasina Rahman

Club: Rotary Club of Dhaka Mavericks, Bangladesh

Project: Nutrition services for Rohingya children in Bangladesh

Description: Rahman, assistant country director of Concern Worldwide, has mobilized Rotary clubs and partner agencies to raise funds for and construct an outpatient therapeutic center that provides lifesaving preventive care and nutrition services for children and pregnant women who have fled to the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp in Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar. The center has screened more than 500,000 Rohingya children and helped more than 7,000 severely malnourished children. Staff members and volunteers have learned about feeding infants and young children, and refugee families have received information in their own language about breastfeeding and proper hygiene.

Ace Robin

Club: Rotary Club of Mataram Lombok, Mataram, Indonesia

Project: Disaster relief and housing for people displaced by earthquakes

Description: Robin has led her club’s and community’s efforts to provide assistance to people displaced by a series of earthquakes in the Lombok region of Indonesia during 2018. She served as the contact person for ShelterBox, aiding in the delivery of 915 units of temporary housing near Lombok. She and her fellow club members brought water, food, and other necessities to people who were displaced and distributed teaching materials, uniforms, shoes, and bags for students. Robin remains involved in the long-term recovery efforts.

Vanderlei Lima Santana

Club: Rotary Club of Boa Vista-Caçari, Roraima, Brazil

Project: Humanitarian aid to Venezuelan refugees

Description: Santana has led efforts to welcome and care for thousands of Venezuelan refugees arriving in northern Brazil because of desperate economic conditions in their country. Santana’s club has been working with the government and nonprofit organizations to coordinate the distribution of meals and vaccines to more than a thousand refugees who are living in streets or makeshift shelters in a plaza near the local bus station. They also provide professional development assistance and help the refugees find places to sleep.

Working to Eradicate Polio (19 September 2019)

Nigeria reaches crucial polio milestone

By Ryan Hyland

Volunteers vaccinate children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, against polio, marking the houses they’ve visited.
Photo by Andrew Esiebo

It’s been three years since health officials last reported a case of polio caused by the wild poliovirus in Nigeria. The milestone, reached on 21 August, means that it’s possible for the entire World Health Organization (WHO) African region to be certified wild poliovirus-free next year.

Nigeria’s success is the result of several sustained efforts, including domestic and international financing, the commitment of thousands of health workers, and strategies to immunize children who previously couldn’t be reached because of a lack of security in the country’s northern states.

“Rotary, its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, and the Nigerian government have strengthened immunization and disease detection systems,” says Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. He adds: “We are now reaching more children than ever in some of the hardest-to-reach places in Nigeria.”

McGovern says Rotary members in Nigeria play an important role in ridding the country of the disease. “Rotarians have been hard at work raising awareness for polio eradication, advocating with the government, and addressing other basic health needs to complement polio eradication efforts, like providing clean water to vulnerable communities.”

Nigeria is the last country in Africa where polio is endemic. Once Africa is certified as free of the wild poliovirus, five of the WHO’s six regions will be free of wild polio. Polio remains endemic in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which means transmission of the virus has never been stopped.

Dr. Tunji Funsho, chair of Rotary’s Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee, acknowledges the milestone but cautions Rotary members about celebrating too soon. He cites the challenge of making certain that routine immunizations reach every child in Nigeria.

“It’s paramount that we ensure all doors are locked to the re-entry of the wild poliovirus into our country,” says Funsho.

Funsho says to achieve this, Rotary needs to maintain strong advocacy efforts, continue to increase awareness of immunization campaigns, and ensure members raise necessary funds. Rotary has contributed $268 million to fight polio in Nigeria.

“As the first organization to dream of a polio-free world, Rotary is committed to fulfilling our promise,” says McGovern. “Our progress in Nigeria is a big step toward that goal, but we need to maintain momentum so that Pakistan and Afghanistan see the same level of progress.”

Join Rotary on World Polio Day, 24 October, to celebrate our progress. Help us reach our goal of a polio-free world by donating today.

Meet our District Governor (25 August 2019)
DG John McKenzie planting tree at Europa Park, Cowra

JOHN MCKENZIE 

Rotary Club of Orange North

Ph 0402018318 johnmckenzie9700@gmail.com

John joined the Rotary Club of Orange North in 2004 and was President in 2009- 10. He enjoys the fellowship and service opportunities that the club provides. John has a background as an academic in adult learning in Agriculture. Following various management positions in NSW Department of Primary Industry, John set up his own consulting company which operated successfully from 2000 until retirement in 2014. As a consultant, John managed programs for Research and Development Corporations in Agriculture on capacity building for rural industries. In these roles, John was heavily involved in developing programs and projects that improve the capacity of people in the food and agriculture sector to manage change. In addition, John has led overseas development projects in the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

John is married to Fayah with two children and lives at Forest Reefs south of Orange. John’s other interests include scuba diving, cycling, bush walking and flying and he is Chief Flying Instructor and Instructor Trainer for Orange Flight Training. Positions held within the Rotary Club of Orange North and District 9700 include:

2006-07 – Vocational Service Director Orange North (ON)

07-08 – Secretary ON 08-09 – Administration Director/President Elect ON

09-10 – President ON 10-11 to 12-13 – Assistant Governor group 2

10-11 – District Conference Program Coordinator 2011 – member of a small team installing a water supply scheme to a village in PNG.

2011 – GSE team leader to Scotland District 1010 2012 – Awarded PHF by Orange North

11-12 – District Assembly facilitator when District Trainer unavailable

12-13 – Secretary ON 14-15 – Foundation Director ON

15-16 – Secretary ON

13-14 to 16-17 District Grants Committee Chair

10-11 to 16-17 – Food Plant Solutions District Coordinator

10-11 to 16-17 – D 9700 Club Visioning Coordinator

13-14 to present – District IT committee member

16-17 – District Secretary

August – Membership and New Club Development Month (25 August 2019)

Promoting membership with new ideas, even some that challenge tradition

Picture – Michael McQueen

Strengthening Rotary’s membership is not just important for incoming district governors, it’s critical. That’s the message they received from several key speakers at their training event, the 2015 International Assembly in San Diego.

For membership to grow, leaders must be willing, for example, to ease stringent club meeting protocols and make other efforts to accommodate a younger, digitally oriented demographic.

Seventy percent of Rotary members are 50 years or older, while half of the world’s population is under 30, according to Rotary leaders. The contrast shouldn’t be something to fear, but rather something to embrace, said Rotary member Michael McQueen, a bestselling author who studies social change, youth culture, and cultural issues and whose consulting firm, The Nexgen Group, specializes in demographic shifts and social trends.

To engage this young demographic, McQueen says that staying relevant is crucial. He shared three key ways that enduring organizations can do that: re-calibrate, re-engineer, and re-position.

But relevance does not involve compromise, McQueen stressed; the values, priorities, and commitment of Rotary should never change. “Any organization that is willing to compromise its DNA in order to stay relevant never lasts. After all, if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” said McQueen, a member of the Rotary Club of Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia.

RI General Secretary John Hewko expressed a similar view when he addressed the assembly. He said it’s clear that members have been able to accomplish a great deal, but asked what they are “willing to do” to make Rotary stronger.

“So I’m asking all of you, in the coming year, to be voices for doing everything we can in Rotary, not just everything that’s comfortable or easy or the way things have always been done,” he said. “Be advocates for thoughtful, positive, and lasting change. We have a great tradition in Rotary, but it’s our tradition. We made it, we own it — it doesn’t own us; if it no longer serves its purpose, we can change it.”

McQueen suggests adjusting some of the traditions, processes, and protocols that “could be the very things that cause us to lose relevance.”

In McQueen’s native Australia, the Rotary Club of Toronto Sunrise, New South Wales, has three members sharing leadership responsibilities for a year as co-presidents. The club reports that having the skills and ideas of three leaders is prompting other changes, and has already resulted in a 25 percent gain in membership. 

According to McQueen, change and innovation are led by people with fresh perspectives. Rotary members can draw new ideas from new members, guest speakers, family members, even children who tag along to club meetings.

“The beauty of people with fresh eyes is that they don’t know how things have always been done because no one has told them yet,” said McQueen. “They have no trouble thinking outside the box because no one has told them what the box even looks like.”

And young people, he said, “represent an enormous opportunity for this organization from a membership point of view. They are an ambitious bunch of natural networkers who, contrary to popular opinion, have a strong sense of civic duty.”

Change is never easy, McQueen conceded, but Rotary members must be open to it. “We must avoid the trap of ever feeling we have arrived at the winning formula, which we then set in stone. After all, the moment you think you’ve made it, you’ve passed it.”

Growing membership is a major goal of Rotary President Gary C.K. Huang. Engaging youth, inviting more women into clubs, and embracing change are all important to increasing and keeping members, Huang said.

Sometimes, he noted, adding a member is as simple as asking someone to join. Since he took office on 1 July, Huang has recruited several dignitaries while traveling, including Ed Royce, a U.S. congressman from California; Mulenga Sata, deputy mayor of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital; and Beatrice Lorenzin, Italy’s minister of health. All of them, Huang said, praised Rotary’s work before being asked to join.

RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran applauded Huang’s tireless work, calling him a “one-man army” promoting membership.

“All of you are going to be busy people next year, and I urge you to make a habit of asking other busy people to join. Don’t leave them out,” said Huang, “Maybe some of them will say no, and that’s OK. But I don’t want any of them to say they are not Rotarians because nobody ever asked.”

He added: “Our membership and services are what make Rotary powerful and strong. To keep it strong, membership recruitment and retention have to be a priority for every incoming Rotary leader.”

New Leadership Month (3 July 2019)

Welcome to the new Rotary year.

Start of new Rotary officers’ year of service this month with a focus on:

  • Tree Plantation
  • Reduce, Re-Use, Re-Cycle Waste

For our Club we need to ensure that all officers are aware of their responsibilities for the coming year. All officers will be sent by email their respective manuals that document their area of focus and responsibilities.

New Meeting Concept (26 June 2019)

At our meeting held 25th June 2019 it was decided to adopt a new meeting concept where the meeting is emailed in PDF format one week before our ZOOM meeting. This will assist those who have slow internet connections and allow them to view video and powerpoint presentations at their own leisure.

We intend for members and those wanting to makeup that they follow the meeting including videos so that at our ZOOM meeting we can discuss any points or questions arising from the presentations. You can view our meeting concept at:

https://rotaryeclubservinghumanity.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/1-June-25th.pdf

As a trial at this meeting we used a very powerful speech made to the by Rebecca Fry who discussed Public Image and Rotary Core values at the Rotary International Assembly in San Diego (January2019) in front of an audience of over 1500 people.

Rebecca is a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley but resides in Sydney, Australia. She is Government Affairs and Community Specialist at Johnson & Johnson, Sydney, Australia and is currently Social Media Manager for Rotary International. In additions she is Past Chair & currently Head of Public Relations with Rotaract Australia.

Please view her presentation by clicking on the link below:

Rebecca Fry
https://vimeopro.com/rotary/2019-international-assembly/video/310885428

We would appreciate any comments about our new meeting concept.

Room to learn at Orkeeswa Secondary (12 June 2019)

Our E-Club supports Orkeeswa Secondary School in Tanzania, where the poorest students are receiving a high quality education to become leaders in their community. At Orkeeswa, classrooms are designed to be engaging, collaborative and student-centred. With construction almost complete on the newest classroom, furniture and equipment are needed to turn this building into an engaging space. If you would like to know more or contribute to Orkeeswa’s growing campus, see https://www.ieftz.org/roomtolearn.