'Our lives online' The first E.R.I.C. Magazine on how we have adapted to a global pandemic ROTARACTEUROPE.EU
PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE MAFALDA LUIS ROTARACT CLUB OF ODIVELAS, D1960, PORTUGAL By Mafalda Luis Edited by: Alexandra Ciobotaru
Dear European Rotaractors, It is with honor and pleasure that I address you today as E.R.I.C. President for the year 2020/21. My name is Mafalda Sofia LuĂs, but you can call me Mafi. I am a Portuguese Rotaractor that join this family in the year 2014. Since I was introduced to the movement, I started at an international level, and I have passed for several positions at a local, district, and international level. Rotaract in Europe We are the biggest MDIO in the Rotaract World. Our members came from 116 districts, 47 countries, and we have the power of more than 24.000 members. We are honored because we can take advantage of increasing our network by creating a conscient project for the support of our local, district, or continental community. Because never forget, Rotaract is about two things: the promotion of ourselves as part of a community that we care about and dedicate our time and efforts to the development and a school of leaders in a movement of young professionals who want to educate themselves on their empowerment. During the quarantine that hit Europe during March and April, we all saw how social distance doesn't mean isolation and to be away from your friends and beloved ones. During that period, we kept ourselves more connected by letters, chat, or even video calls. In the end, the idea was to keep the distance away without feeling lonely. However, if we think about Rotaract Europe, social space is part of our daily lives. We all have a friend or best friend, or even boyfriend/girlfriend who lives in another country, and we would like to meet him/her. When I was thinking about what type of presidency I would like to run, I thought about the establishment and growth of links as the main point of connecting all Rotaractors. Because we cannot forget, we are an Information Center. We have to keep them linked, informed, and promote the atmosphere for that purpose. Lastly, I believe that the year is still open for many adventures and meetings with our friends, together with a lot of work on keeping the Rotaract spirit alive.I look forward to the new Rotarian year and will remain available for any questions that you may have. NOMADIC
24 | 02
WHAT IS THE
E.R.I.C. MAGAZINE? By Alexandra Ciobotaru Marketing Officer 2020/2021
This magazine is proof of our impact in international communities. We see acts of charity worldwide, but what we witnessed this year is far from what we could have imagined. When I joined the board in June 2020, I thought that things will look different at the end of the year. Well, it's the end of 2020, and we are still at home. #stayhome The E.R.I.C. MAGAZINE IS A DEPICTION OF THE IMPORTANT PART ROTARY AND ROTARACT PLAY AROUND THE WORLD. In this magazine, you will find articles about how Rotaract in Europe has been developing projects and initiatives while undergoing a pandemic and having to stay home most of the time, with local restrictions being different across the world. However, Rotaractors have made it possible to organize locally and impact our communities through online conferences, European Conventions hosted via ZOOM or sending children a new backpack for school.
The magazine has 3 sections correlated with the European Rotaract Information Center's mission to connect, learn, and impact communities. #Connect How do you stay connected during the pandemic? How do you connect ideas during the pandemic, and how do you connect members of clubs, districts, and MDIOs during such times? #Learn How do we learn from each other? What steps can we take to continue to organize learning activities locally and worldwide? How do we keep the learning mindset active during a pandemic? #Impact A new normal. How do you creating an impact on your community during a pandemic? How can one be involved in community activities during a lockdown, and what did we learn from this experience?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How do we connect online? Ideas for fund online meetings.
A new oficial area of focus for Rotary: Sustainability
POL@ND TRIP. How a leader can get it right.
Solidarity towards education in times of a pandemic.
Engaging members online: Rotaract Germany shares tips.
Italian Literacy Course.
Rotaract moves online. REM ON & testimonials.
IMPACT Social Project by E.R.I.C. Rotaract Europe
Backpacks for schoolchildren. A trip to Romania and Lithuania.
Beirut Stay Strong.
Rotary's response to the pandemic. Use case of Lithuanian collaboration.
ROTARACTEUROPE.EU/RESOURCES to download this current issue
Photo: Unsplash via Canva
FUN ONLINE MEETINGS Tired of boring online meetings? We collected some ideas for you!
Strictly Social Meetings
Our favrourite ideas so far: pubquizes, wine/chocolate/... tastings, party games, cooking/ dancing/ handicraft/... classes, FreeIC, Cards Against Humanity, Werewolves, escape rooms, movie nights
...they also make great foundraisers ;)
Grow Closer as a Club
→ Start meetings with check-in where members can share struggles → Add short member presentations about their job or an interest → Leave room at the end to socialize, play games and chat together → Gamification: Guess who’s [baby picture, vacation, homeoffice, ...] this is
Grow Closer to Rotary
Joined Rotaract/Rotary meetings and projects are easier than ever now that everything moved online. Have a breakout session for internal Rotaract business at the end or meet separately every other time.
Connect Beyond your Circle
→ Join the ERIC events, and keep an eye out on social media → Plan joined events with other clubs → 24/7 Zoom meeting on World of Rotaract: bit.ly/WordofRotaractBar → For gamers: Rotaract Discord Servers
Reach Out to the Public
→ Make your Fun Online Fundraisers open to the public (see strictly social) → Organize genuinely interesting talks
Keep Everyone Engaged in Club Business
→ Keep club business short and to the point → Brainstorm better with interactive whiteboard tools or in breakout rooms → Make presentations interactive with polls: e.g. Mentimeter → Schedule in energizers and time to socialize By Esther Gellings, RAC Barcelona '92, Spain
POL@ND TRIP – HOW A LEADER CAN GET IT RIGHT Rotaract Trips are one of the most beloved projects all over the world. It might have seemed the Covid-19 pandemic would put such initiatives on hold, however, Jagoda Zmarz, the President of Rotaract Club Kraków-Wawel (D2231, Poland) loves this project so much she did not let that happen.
Jagoda Zmarz, President of RAC KrakówWawel, the leader behind POL@ND TRIP
Rafał Tondera: Jagoda, you were not this term’s District Poland Trip Officer, correct? Why have you suddenly become the main pillar behind it? Jagoda Zmarz: True! I wasn’t but this year hasn’t featured that many Trip projects either. I have always loved the way Poland Trip brought people closer together. Plus, being a tour guide myself, I am all about showing Poland to people who are willing to learn a thing or two about her. So, when I heard that we had to cancel this year’s Poland Trip – after having received a record number of applications, mind you! – I decided I couldn’t let this happen and… Poland Trip was moved on-line and received an appropriate name POL@ND TRIP. R.T.: Smart! But… the words “traveling” and “online” seem to rather be on the opposite sides of the spectrum. How did you manage to combine the two and preserve the inherent spirit (pun not intended) of Poland Trip? J.Z.: Well, right from the get-go, I was aware certain compromises had to be made but one of the main attributes Rotary International has been promoting for a long time is adaptability. By setting realistic goals and creating local teams in major Polish cities, I was able to prepare a game plan which was entertaining, in line with the program of a “traditional” Poland Trip, and enabled socializing between hosts and the Trippers. R.T.: So, what did it look like? Could you elaborate on POL@ND TRIP a little for the ones who couldn’t participate? J.Z.: Each city had a Committee responsible for the sightseeing of their hometown – just as with any Poland Trip so far. Here is where all the similarities end. Committee members were asked to visit local attractions and prepare vlogs, pictures, and presentations that could be later used during an online webinar. Some Rotaractors documented their visits in museums, others took e-Trippers on a walk around the Old Town etc. By Rafał Tondera, RAC Warszawa / RC Warszawa Józefów, Poland
E.R.I.C. MAGAZINE | 7
R.T.: So that e-Trippers could sightsee with the Polish Rotaractors’ eyes! J.Z.: Exactly! Later on, we created webinars for everyone who wished to participate in the project. This was, actually, a huge advantage of organizing POL@ND TRIP during a pandemic. Normally, we are able to accept only a few participants but this year – everyone was welcome! I was genuinely surprised by the amount of people who were willing to join an online Trip project. Every webinar was devoted to a specific part of Poland and local hosts – Rotaractors – held presentations about their cities. R.T.: You said that “thanks to” the pandemic, Poland was not limited by the number of spots for the participants. What other opportunities has this online Trip created – since this year’s motto is Rotary Opens Opportunities? J.Z.: I am sure for some POL@ND TRIP created a great no-commitment chance to learn about our country. All Trip Projects are in general very affordable; however, our online event was completely free. It served as a trial version before the real thing! R.T.: Yeah, let’s hope they will apply for an offline Trip… dare I say, next year? J.Z.: Well, this term I actually do serve as District Poland Trip Officer so I might say we are closely monitoring the situation with the pandemic and with the vaccines. We have some surprises down our sleeves so if you are into Trip projects, make sure to follow our district social media! R.T.: Spoken like a true District Officer! And what about the challenges you had to overcome? I am sure there were many… J.Z.: Every nation-wide project is tricky to coordinate but we managed to create some beautiful memories for everyone. Luckily, morale was not an issue whatsoever. Polish Rotaract clubs were very motivated to provide our e-Trippers with at least a sliver of “the real deal”. Poles are actually extremely hospitable people and when we hear someone is interested in our country, no force can stop us – not even the pandemic! And remember that in 2021, we will not only invite you for a Poland Trip, but also for the legendary REM! See you in Poland!
By Rafał Tondera, RAC Warszawa / RC Warszawa Józefów, Poland
ROTARACT GERMANY ENGAGING MEMBERS Today, Rotaract Germany's leadership team includes the Rotaract Deutschland Komitee (RDK) as the board of directors, which consists of the 15 District Rotaract Representatives (DRR) and their assistants, eight departments (Finance and Insurance, International Affairs, Internal Communication, IT- Development, IT Support, Public Relations, Editorial Office and Social Affairs) providing services to the German Rotaract Clubs as well as the executive chairpersons and their assessors. All actions by Rotaract in Germany are guided by the motto: "Learn, Help, Celebrate." Every Rotarian year, the committee has three committee meetings and a Leadership Development seminar. Furthermore, the yearly Germany Conference is a well-known event for all members of German Rotaract Clubs. Rotaract Germany offers a conference where proposal votes and votes of department teams are held during an entire weekend. This year, everything is different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fundraising and service projects and our Germany Conference, scheduled, are being postponed or canceled, and Rotaract Germany is gathering online rather than in person. Of course, virtual conferences cannot substitute the friendship we experience during our meetings. We are part of Rotaract Germany and enjoy fellowship, joint lunch, or late-night talk at our meetings. Unfortunately, the interaction is gone and raises the critical question of keeping our team's spirit high during the crisis to maintain our services for the Rotaract Clubs. Our MDIO Leaders Nadia von Oesterreich and Mira Oelmayer figured out some very creative and new ideas to connect people. As leadership development is a core element of our MDIO, they organized several workshops and seminars for the committee members.
By Gabi Wolfarth RAC Heidelberg, Germany
They brought up new ideas and tools that make meeting more fun. For instance, warm-up events such as a "Bavarian Beergarden," Quiz-Nights, or baking-nights connect the members of our MDIO even closer than before. Furthermore, digital design thinking workshops and working together on collaborative whiteboarding platforms help us enhance our clubs' services. The experiences of online meetings on the level of Rotaract Germany serve as a lesson learned for district representatives. They support the clubs to help them organizing interactive online conferences as well. Joint cooking, baking, or handcrafting meetings are the most popular meetings for German Rotaract clubs. Afterward, you may also find a small package of the results as a surprise in your postbox. Additionally, many clubs organized digital beer, wine, or chocolate tastings to help people stay positive. Quiz- Nights, Movie-Nights, Christmas parties are also welcoming new guests and Rotaracters far away to a joint meeting. An essential part of Rotaract is turning attention to helping people. It is impressive how Rotaract clubs spread kindness with their projects and support their communities. The world is different in these times, but we can see that the Rotarian Family is not divided. We are connected by the difference and learn how to make a difference to others. Be thankful, creative, and do not forget the spirit of Rotaract and our friendship over borders, even when it's not possible to meet in person.
In 2020, European Rotaract Information Center was faced with a dilemma: How to engage Rotaractors from all across Europe when travel restrictions were imposed across the globe? The answer was to create online meetings, of course! However, engagement does not necessarily happen as smoothly as meeting someone face to face. Thus, we created a full-on schedule for the Rotaract European Meeting in October, which should have taken place in Bulgaria. Instead, we organized the E.R.I.C. meeting, a quiz online about Rotaract, and a gala with two hosts that entertained the audience, all via zoom. The results? See below:
Testimonials REM Online I really liked the idea of REM ON. The idea with the two hosts was really nice and especially for people who knew them it gave everything a personal touch. I liked, that we had the country booths and everybody was really invested in what they presented. I think it could work smoother if we would record them pre-REM though. The quiz was fun as well. Keep up the good work! KATHARINA WEINGĂ„RTNER COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE FOR GERMANY 2020/2021
Even though we werenâ€™t able to meet in person and had to refrain only from an online version of REM, thanks to our wonderful board, their efforts, and creative ideas, we were able to enjoy the REM ON fully with the smile on our faces. It was both entertaining and educational, but most of all it felt like a very nice break from this crazy world of covid. Thank you again for making it yet again special for the rest of us! LUBINKA HORVATHOVA COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE FOR CZECH REPUBLIC 2020/2021
The next Rotaract European Meeting will take place ONLINE on the 16th of January 2021!
Prepare for SNOW REM!
By Alexandra Ciobotaru, RAC Copenhagen International, Denmark
Photo: Unsplash via Canva
SUSTAINABILITY: NEW AREA OF FOCUS Areas of Focus reflect what kind of projects Rotary International (RI) supports in a broad sense. In the summer of 2020, a new Area of Focus (AoF) was added to the established six: Protecting the Environment. In this article, we are going to introduce it and some ongoing initiatives that already succesfully carry its flag. The “Protecting the Environment” AoF covers many significant topics: from protecting and restoring land, marine, agricultural resources, addressing environmental justice issues and environmental public health concerns, to supporting solutions to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and many more. There are many parameters for a project to be eligibile for the “Protecting the Environment” AoF. I invite you to deep dive, get inspired to run a project related to sustainability, and positively impact nature! Rotary Action Group ESRAG
How could clubs worldwide work together to reach the goal? Concrete steps were introduced: Club level – local awareness events like cleanups District level – internally, like zero-waste Rotary events International – implementations, alliances, funding We all have encountered much plastic waste in our direct environment. Since the problem is so widely recognized and acknowledged, many tangible solutions are proposed and the community is welcomed to join the project individually or at Club/ District/ International level. Anyone who wants to join can send an email to EndPlasticSoup@gmail.com. Once joined, many perks and know-how are shared on how to tackle the plastic pollution issue and support the End Plastic Soup project. 1MillionTrees Through the 1MillionTrees project, Rotaract is working to reforest woodland in over 60 countries around the world. The target is to plant together 1 million trees in one year (started from July 2020), raise awareness & inform the community about the forest as an ecosystem and create worldwide fundraising campaigns. The best thing about this project is that everyone can participate no matter where in the world.
RI has established various ways to strengthen sustainability topics in the Rotary community. One example is the Environmental Sustainability Rotarian Action Group (ESRAG). It helped creating the new "Protecting the Environment" AoF and helps all AoF to develop, implement and evaluate service projects, build awareness, inspire action around projects that promote environmental sustainability, and provide solutions to So, how can you participate? First, visit the website climate change. www.1milliontrees.rotaract.de, choose a project you would like to support & donate as much as you prefer. In Did you know that you do not need to be a Rotarian to the end, the donations are scaled up with the help of join a Rotary Action Group? This means that anyone Rotary Grants: every dollar/euro you donate is doubled. including Rotaractors can participate in ESRAG. Check Also, once the tree is planted, you will get a notification out how on their website: www.esrag.org that your contribution has materialized. Cool, right? End Plastic Soup
What is next?
The name “Plastic Soup” stands for the plastic waste in our environment. This project aims to accelerate solutions, raise awareness, call to action, and form alliances across the lifecycle of plastic: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Be brave towards your input of supporting the environment, dare to dream about the bigger picture, dare to act sustainably. Once only an idea or only a local project later might become more prominent, more impactful action, reaching out to many more likeminded people worldwide. All Rotary/Rotaract/Interact community aims to unite great minds & work together, to change something in this world, starting from individual level & joining forces worldwide. Be brave, dare to dream, dare to act.
This project started in the Netherlands in 2018. Since plastic pollution is a worldwide problem which corresponds to many countries, the project gained recognition by Rotary International and is now supported by 3.500 Rotarians of 1.200 Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs. Its goal is straightforward: by 2050, no more plastic waste in our oceans and seas, lakes, rivers, forests, parks and streets.
By Kristina Mataityte, RAC Vilnius International, Lithuania Contributors: ESRAG, End Plastic Soup, 1MillionTrees.
SOLIDARITY TOWARDS EDUCATION IN TIMES OF A PANDEMIC The "Solidarity Towards Education in Times of a Pandemic" project aims to reinforce the right to education by donating sensory toys to children who suffer from both an incurable disease and who lack the economic capacity to be treated in more specialized centers. The toys help their development in visual, audio, and motor coordination. The Rotaract Club Barcelona Condal is very close to reaching their goal of fundraising utilizing an international digital raffle for a Barรงa shirt signed by Leonel Messi and receiving individual donations.
Today, members of Rotaract club work together with "Cottolengo del Padre Alegre," where they promote primary education and improvements in the alphabetization program of children with special needs, giving donations of sensory toys in this first phase. The education given is destined to improve the care and support of their development, which is why the institution commits to strengthening the children's intellectual, moral, and affective abilities.
By Leonardo Fuentes Castiilla, RAC Barcelona Condal, Spain
Above all, this initiative frees them from some of the obstacles and opens several opportunities in their future professional lives. The members of Rotaract Barcelona Condal are called to action in the times of a pandemic. As the club shares, "we have powerful support from digital resources that have allowed us to sell our raffle tickets in three continents. Now it is the time to use them to keep making this world a better place for everyone by keeping supporting the less fortunate". They are encouraged to work hand in hand with more Rotaractors across the world and to share their experience.
ITALIAN LITERACY COURSE Learning is one of the aims of Rotaract Europe for this year. Rotaractors can teach and learn personal and professional skills, and this is what Rotaract Club Cassino, D2080, in Italy did. In this short interview with Natalia Camilla Di Vizio, president of this club, we find out more about what they do. Hello, can you tell us about this project? A: My club, in 2016, started an educational project A lesson is composed of: International conversation: 15 min where whose aim was to help children of primary school students and tutors introduce themselves, who do not know the base of the Italian language, students try to tell in Italian (with the help of and because of that, they have some difficulties to English) something about their own culture. be involved in scholarly activities. For this reason, Then there will be the real Italian lesson where some Rotaractors started a language course to the students will learn the grammar, help the students. Later, this project was dedicated vocabularies (45 min of theory and 45 min of to students of the secondary schools, and it was practice) clear the social intent of this service, whose aim International conversation: there will be some became officially social inclusion. notes about Italian culture to soften the time spent studying. Last year this service was dedicated to people over 18 (the legal age in Italy): it became a service of public interest and international collaboration. At How is this project linked to the aim of ‘LEARN’ the beginning of the course, Rotaractors create a of Rotaract Europe? test to verify the language level to plan the lessons A: What links this project to the LEARN sphere is that there is the intent of cultural exchange. With for the students. A class is made up of a maximum of ten people, the international conversation, we learn something and during each lesson, some tutors help the class. about traditions far away from ours (example: Lessons and methodology are organized with the students taught us how to count in the Arabic help of professional teachers who provide language). Since 2018, this service got international thanks to the Literacy Program, led by materials for the students. the international comprehension committee with the help of another 13 Clubs. Their goal is to spread literacy in different fields. How would you describe this project with a quote? A: “Giving tools to grow up together.” Rotaract doesn’t give only tools to achieve the results but works to provide instruments useful for the entire life. Learning a language in a foreign country is one of the necessary terms to have international comprehension. This project wants to be a course not only to learn a language but also to help tutors to grow up as a person; it is also representative of the international soul of Rotary International. By Emanuela Venturini, RAC Vigevano Lomellina, Italy & Maria Grazia Pittiu, RAC Cagliari Golfo degli Angeli, Italy
Photo: Unsplash via Canva
ALExEurope The first one is a partnership with ALExEurope ACCELERATED LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE. 2020 will be a year we will all remember for the challenge that COVID19 and its consequences have presented us all. Nevertheless, it is precisely in times of crisis that we can grow the most. The word "crisis" comes from the Ancient Greek "κρίσις" (KRISÌS), meaning decision/choice: the choice we have in our reaction towards difficulties, to transform them into new opportunities. As young leaders, we, European Rotaractors, can and must learn from this moment and lead at the same pace as the fast-changing world we live in, working hard together. This is why this year we will have two Social Projects. SOCIAL@ROTARACTEUROPE.EU
By E.R.I.C. Social team: Mavi, Anne & Sara
ALExEurope is a European project born in Stockholm, Sweden. ALExEurope is a workshop that can help us rethink our conference, both offline and online, using our members' skills and becoming aware of our opportunities and strengths. We have an online platform to share the created content to be fruited anytime and anywhere. Organizing ALExEurope is effortless, and every club can add its contribution, choosing a theme, and speakers. It is an excellent Club & District tool in vocational service projects and our members' personal, Rotarian, and professional development.
E.R.I.C. MAGAZINE | 16
Rise Against Hunger The project shares our values working in all six areas of focus, intending to end global Hunger by 2030, address the problem from various angles. Plus, the meal packing events are the perfect combo of handson projects, team building, and fun. We have created a fundraising campaign for 'Rise Against Hunger' thanks to 'Rise Against Hunger Italia' (riseagainsthunger.it). You can join at bit.ly/ERIC4RAH Our goal is to reach the minimum donation of 30000 meals (which will support the meals needed in a whole school year for 150 kids), to be able to host a Meal Packing Event during EUCO Vienna. One box containing the meals for one year for a whole school year comes with a donation of 75.18â‚Ź, which is around what we would typically spend for a dinner out for two people, but any contribution will be a great help! For any other info or to organize a separate Meal Packing Event with RAH, please send us an email. We hope you will join our action!
By E.R.I.C. Social team: Mavi, Anne & Sara
BACKPACKS FOR SCHOOLCHILDREN Many clubs around Europe have ongoing service projects that were affected by the Coronavirus. Some of these clubs came up with creative ways to keep their projects going despite the restricted possibilities to meet in-person. Excellent examples of this resilience are the Rotaract clubs in Romania and Lithuania that provided backpacks and school material to children in their communities. Even though the projects are similar, each club operates independently and comes up with a different solution. Rotaract Jimbolia (Romania) has several primary school teachers in their club. They usually hand out free lemonade in the city center in the summer while asking people to donate school supplies and backpacks in boxes set up around town. They switched to money donations to their bank account to minimize contact and then sent handmade lemon keychains and a detailed receipt of the purchased supplies to the donors. They found that the receipt created more awareness of the project's impact and planned to continue doing it. This year, they fully equipped ten children and left sufficient extra supplies for all classrooms. Rotaract Turda (Romania) collects and distributes around 150 fully equipped backpacks to 5 local schools at the beginning of each school year. To achieve this, they have built an extensive local support network through press releases, social media posts, and word of mouth, asking for fullyequipped backpacks based on a list they get from teachers. Since many people in their network were hesitant to donate material in-person this year, they set up a site for monetary donations, which covered half of the total.
Rotaract Oradea (Romania) was counting on a local bookstore for their donations so far. This year, they involved the local community instead. Backpacks and school material could be dropped at six different coffee shops and pubs in the city center during a one-week campaign. They shared a map of the locations and a list of supplies through their network and social media. After buying additional material where needed, 51 backpacks were donated to the local association "Smile," which works with impoverished children. Rotaract Sighetu Marmatiei (Romania) organizes a fundraiser every year. This year, they decided to bring together the local photography community for a night of picture sales. They presented the pictures in the outdoor spaces of restaurants while a local band was playing. With the proceeds, 20 backpacks were bought and donated to a local organization in contact with low-income families. This project brought the photography community closer together as a positive side-effect. Rotaract Vilnius International (Lithuania) provides "starting packs" including school uniforms, sportswear, and exercise books to firstgraders from regions in Lithuania they choose based on various statistics. Money is raised through large media campaigns, including national television, radio, newspapers, the Rotary community, and collaborating companies. This year, the focus of most fundraising and media campaigns nationwide was on Coronavirusrelated fundraising. The club decided to limit fundraising efforts to online platforms and direct donations of their existing network, and narrow the packs to equipped backpacks. Since 2016, around 500 Lithuanian children have been prepared for first grade through this project.
By Kristina Mataityte, RAC Vilnius International, Lithuania & Esther Gellings, RAC Barcelona '92, Spain
BEIRUT STAY STRONG That day and that time, I was still at work, at the office. I felt no shake, I heard no sound….but my family and friends did. So, what happened? What else to expect this time? On 4th August 2020, at 18:08:18, to be precise, a massive explosion took place at Beirut's port, which led to the devastating destruction in multiple neighborhoods, with hundreds of lives being lost, and thousands left injured and without homes or necessities. Equipped with inner strength, positivity, and determination, the Rotaractors of Lebanon ran to the scene, visiting the affected areas, cleaning the houses affected by the explosion but most importantly, assessing the needs of the people affected. Meanwhile, the Rotary/Rotaract family abroad initiated their own efforts. Lebanon belongs to Rotaract District 2452 (District of 9 countries including Lebanon and represented by Jelena Cvetkovic for RY 2020-21) and Rotaract Mediterranean MDIO (represented by Astrid Durand-Viel for RY2020-21). Few days after the explosion, District 2452, in collaboration with the Mediterranean MDIO – supported by Rotary District 1760 (represented by the District Governor Jocelyne Le Gall for RY 2020-21) – launched an online fundraising campaign "Beirut Stay Strong" through the GoFundMe platform.
The funds were to be transferred directly to the Rotary Lebanon Association and administered by the Rotaract Clubs of Lebanon to renovate and rebuild damaged houses in neighborhoods affected by the explosion and provide basic needs to people affected by the explosion. Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends worldwide were invited to contribute to the Disaster Relief Fund for Lebanon. On 26th August, the ERIC - Rotaract Europe Social Team organized a FB live event, hosting Lebanese Rotaractors who shared their experiences of the exposition, their immediate actions, and a message to the outside world. On 5th September, Rotaract Mediterranean hosted a live Facebook event to showcase Beirut's situation. On 3rd October, the amount raised through the campaign was €26.639, beyond any expectations. Although the campaign is closed and the money has been officially transferred, the process of rebuilding Beirut is an ongoing one. Lebanese Rotaractors work endlessly and tirelessly; recently completed the packing of food and clothing boxes. Disaster Aid Europe regularly organizes visits to Beirut to engage in this process actively and physically. Every contribution makes a difference, no matter how big or small!
A big thank you to ALL the Rotarians and Rotaractors, on behalf of Lebanon and ERIC-Rotaract Europe! By Andria, RAC Limassol Amathusia Country Representative, Cyprus
ROTARY'S RESPONSE TO THE PANDEMIC As people of action, Rotary members are engaged in their communities — gathering for projects and offering help to those in need. Fighting disease is one of Rotary’s leading causes, so members already support efforts to promote proper hand washing techniques, teach people other ways to stay healthy, and supply training and vital medical equipment to health care providers. Now they’re helping health authorities communicate lifesaving information about COVID-19 and donating protective gear and other supplies to clinics and hospitals that are under strain because of the pandemic. https://www.rotary.org/en/get-involved
Example of a successful Rotary & Rotaract collaboration in Lithuania in light of the pandemic More than 60 000 Euros were donated from various Rotary & Rotaract community members. All the necessary medical supplies, such as respirators, face masks, gloves, etc., were donated to the vast majority of Lithuanian hospitals. Furthermore, Lithuanian Rotary clubs, together with international partners in Denmark (D1461, D1440, D1480) Norway (D2290), initiated the Rotary International Global Grant project "Stop the spread of COVID-19 in Lithuania," and they bought fast antigen tests for medical staff to be tested. In May, Lithuanian District received 22 993 Eur donations from RI Disaster Response Fund for the project "Pagalba Lietuvos mediums" ("Help for Lithuanian medical staff"). So in total, nearly 150 k Euros were donated through various funds to keep medicine personnel, and some social support focused NGOs safe during the pandemic. According to this fundraising campaign, organizers, Rotarians, and ex-Rotaractors, who now are Rotarians, showed excellent leadership skills, fast response, and dedication to this project of significance. By Kristina Mataityte, RAC Vilnius International, Lithuania
December 2020 Edition Alexandra Ciobotaru, RAC Copenhagen International, Denmark
Gabi Wolfarth RAC Heidelberg, Germany
Kristina Mataityte, RAC Vilnius International, Lithuania
Esther Gellings, RAC Barcelona '92, Spain
Emanuela Venturini RAC Vigevano Lomellina, Italy
Leonardo Fuentes Castiilla, RAC Barcelona Condal, Spain
Rafał Tondera, RAC Warszawa / RC Warszawa Józefów, Poland
Anneliese Hellwig, RAC München-Residenz, Germany
Collaborators: Andria Nikolaidou, RAC Limassol Amathusia Cyprus Anne Gourvennec, RAC Bordeaux, France Maria Grazia Pittiu, RAC Cagliari Golfo degli Angeli, Italy
k n k a n h a T h T ! u! y ou yo
Maria-Vittoria Gargiulo RAC Campus Salerno dei Due Principati Italy Sara Tacconi, RAC Pescara Ovest, Italy