The Official Magazine of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland
ÂŁ2.95 December/January 2017
FELLOWS Supporting Olympians 10 Medal winner interviews
100 years of The Rotary Foundation 20 The good it has done in the world
Having fun on the water 26 Vocational skills put to use
REGULARS FROM THE TOP Rotary International President John Germ
04 ROTARY IN ACTION
PRESIDENT MESSAGE 06 News from Great Britain & Ireland RI DIRECTOR AND FOUNDATION 08 MEET AND GREET A member’s view on Rotary
AROUND THE WORLD News from International Clubs
World Polio Day Spotlight on Manchester The Willow Trust Aleppo to Norwich Muhammad Ali Men’s Sheds
14 25 26 31 32 34
IT’S GONE VIRAL 50 Check out the social media buzz from World Polio Day ROTARY EFFECT Hurricane Matthew Santa Sleighs Club News
38 40 42
Olympians and Paralympians 10 Peace Fellows 16 The Rotary Foundation 20
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Talk from the top...
Using our vocations to improve the world
joined Rotary as an engineer. There are almost as many classifications in the profession of engineering as there are in Rotary, but I happen to be a mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer calculates the heating and cooling loads for a new building; makes sure the right lights are in the right places; and plans the plumbing so your hot water pipe doesn’t end in a drinking fountain. Mechanical engineers don’t stand out in a crowd, and they don’t call attention to themselves with what they do. You probably haven’t thought much about the engineers who designed the buildings you use, the car you drive, or the traffic patterns you follow. But every time you get in an elevator, turn the key in your ignition, or cross the street when the light says go, you are entrusting your life to an engineer somewhere whom you’ve never met. You trust that your elevator will open at the floor you want it to. You trust that your car will start and stop as it should. You trust that the traffic light is going to turn red before the walk light goes on. Everyday, you put your life in the hands of people whose names you do not know and whom you might never meet. You might not think about them at all – but they touch your lives every day.
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I could draw the same parallel to any number of other vocations – ordinary occupations with the same kind of life-changing impact. In so many ways – some of which we see and some we don’t – our vocations allow us to help other people live better, safer, and healthier lives. Just like the work we do in Rotary. Through our vocations and in our clubs, in our communities, and across continents, we are touching the lives of people we don’t know and might never meet. And in every part of the world, every single day, whether they know it or not, people are living better, safer, and healthier lives because of the work of Rotary. The people we help might not have met a single Rotarian. They might not even know that Rotary exists. But they are drinking clean water from a bore well that Rotary dug. They’re learning to read with books that Rotary gave them. They’re living lives that are better, happier, and healthier – because of Rotary Serving Humanity.
What they say...
Young people are all our futures ROTARY PRESIDENT 2016/17 EVE CONWAY
y motto has always been that “young people are all our futures”. That is why I started the Rotary Young Citizen Awards ten years ago to recognise positive young role models. At that time, as now, the news headlines were often dominated by negative stories about youngsters getting involved in anti-social behaviour and even killing each other. But, of course, the majority of youngsters aren’t like that and there are so many young unsung heroes who deserve recognition. A decade ago, I was discussing this with my then boss at BBC News and the role that Rotary plays in helping young people with our youth programmes and how we could counteract negative stereotypes of young people - and the Rotary Young Citizen Awards were born. Over the past decade, we have seen some truly inspirational youngsters receive Rotary Young Citizen Awards and we are featuring some of these amazing youngsters, and what they are doing now, to mark the tenth anniversary of the Awards at Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s Conference in Manchester from 7th to 9th April 2017. They include Rotary Young Citizen Award winner from 2013, 15-year-old Grace O’Malley from Lancashire, who from the age of six, combined her talent for singing with raising tens of thousands of pounds for The Royal British Legion and other charities. Now aged 22 (pictured), she is training as a soprano opera singer studying at the Royal College of Music in London as well as continuing her charity work. As President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, I was delighted that the first person I inducted as a Rotarian was Maciej Szukala, a Rotary Young Citizen Award winner from 2010. Maciej was then aged 15 and had moved to Wrexham as a Polish migrant and found it such an isolating experience, he became determined to help other young migrants settle into a new way of life, teaching 6 // ROTARY
Catching up with Rotary Young Citizen Award 2013 winner Grace O’Malley at the Royal Academy of Music
English to other migrant pupils at his school and helping young refugees. Maciej is now 22 and runs his own business. He is also a member of the first Rotary Club that I was involved in chartering as President, the vibrant Rotary Club of Wrexham Glyndwr.
GIVING BACK TO ROTARY
Maciej is not the only young person who has become a Rotarian grateful for the opportunities that Rotary has given him in life. I was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar and received a Master’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism in America. I became a member of Redbridge Rotary Club in 2000 and I am honoured to have been elected as President of Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland. It is great to be able to give back now by bringing my media skills to Rotary.
I am delighted that the Purple4Polio campaign, launched when I became President, has been enthusiastically taken up by Rotarians and clubs and is gaining media coverage both locally and nationally. Rotary’s Purple4Polio campaign was
mentioned during live coverage on BBC1 TV as we took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London in November. Seven million purple crocus corms are being planted by Rotarians along with the Royal Horticultural Society’s communitybased “Bloom” groups with whom we have partnered to highlight Rotary’s campaign to rid the world of polio. We have more Purple4Polio Ambassadors coming on board after singer and songwriter Donovan, who contracted polio as a child, and TV Presenter Konnie Huq joined our campaign. They include celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh, TV presenter Chris Tarrant and Paralympian, broadcaster and polio survivor Ade Adepitan. Ade will be among inspirational speakers at the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland Conference in Manchester. Other speakers include Virginia McKenna and her son Will Travers of the Born Free Foundation and astrologer Russell Grant.
To nominate an extraordinary young person for the Young Citizen Awards visit: rotarygbi.org rotarygbi.org
What they say...
RI DIRECTOR 2015-17 I PETER OFFER
Sharing with Rotarians
his year as always Rotarians with family and friends will be out raising funds for local charities usually with their Santa Sleighs bringing cheer to many children and the elderly. They organise for them to meet Father Christmas on the Sleigh. Well done to all who have been involved with this planning and organisation. We share what we have been doing with Rotarians around the world by reporting on the Rotary International Showcase. Rotary International has been modernising Rotary Club Central, which will enable members to get on faster and it is more efficient.
We ask members to enter their details, goals and membership on Rotary Club Central as this will help Rotary International in so many ways, including sponsorship for events like the convention, so they can give a better picture of our world profile. Well I guess by the time you read this note another year will have almost passed, so may I wish you all Seasons Greetings and a very Happy New Year, may it be a great year for you, your family and your Rotary club. May your membership grow so that you can help even more people than you do at the moment, as I am sure you know the need for Rotary will be even greater in 2017.
TRUSTEE CHAIR 2016/17 I KALYAN BANERJEE
Responsible investing for doing good
otarians frequently ask if The Rotary Foundation practices socially responsible investing by screening or restricting certain investments based on social, environmental, or political criteria. The answer is yes – and no. Yes, the Foundation considers both financial and social returns when making an investment decision. Our Investment Committee encourages our investment consultant and its managers to invest in companies that comply with laws, regulations, ethical standards, and national or international norms and are aligned with Rotary values. We also consider how each of our investment managers incorporates socially responsible investing as part of their process. Currently seven of these managers, responsible for about 36 percent of the Foundation’s total assets, were signatories to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment. These principles offer possible actions for incorporating environmental, social, and governance issues – such as climate change, public and workplace safety, and shareholder rights – into investment practice. Following these principles could reduce risk, improve returns, and better align our portfolio with our mission.
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Does this mean the Foundation will categorically exclude specific companies or industries from investment? That’s where the “no” part of my answer comes in. Given Rotary’s diverse membership and its various cultural beliefs, agreeing on such restrictions would be extremely difficult. The Trustees of The Rotary Foundation and the Rotarian financial experts on our Investment Committee take their job very seriously. Rotarians have entrusted us with millions of dollars that they have designated to do good in the world. Our capacity to provide clean water and education, improve health care and economic development, and promote peace depends heavily on our investment income. So it is especially important that we invest your gifts wisely. Because The Rotary Foundation belongs to all of us, we believe strongly in transparency. To that end, we have posted a wealth of information on www. rotary.org. You can find audited statements for the Foundation from the past three years and tax returns from the past six years, along with extensive material on investment practices, philosophy, and historical returns. I hope this detailed information will reinforce your confidence in our Foundation and inspire your continued generosity.
ROTARY IN ACTION
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OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS ACTION IN THE COMMUNITY
Two medal winners are the subject of our discussion and we found out how Rotarians have helped.
he medal haul from the Rio Olympics and Paralympics in Brazil was an amazing feat and many of our winning athletes praised the help and encouragement they had from all quarters with some of them receiving support from Rotary. I tracked down a couple of them to find out how Rotary has helped and to find out a little more about how they achieved their dream. Paralympian Alfie Hewett, from Cantley near Norwich came to the attention of his local Rotary clubs at the age of 16 when he was at Acle Academy and had won a string of junior tennis titles. Amongst which included the World Junior Masters champion both in singles and doubles in 2013. A number of Rotary clubs across East Anglia had raised money with their Wheelie Good Idea campaign, which involved taking a sponsorship book around all of the clubs in East Anglia using unorthodox wheels to travel from venue to venue, and yes some
did use wheelie bins. As a result of his local fame Alfie was sponsored by The Rotary Club of Broadlands to receive a special wheelchair from WheelPower and this was presented to him in December 2013 funded partly by the Wheelie Good Idea. Alfie Hewett then went on in the next few years to win many titles using his bespoke lightweight aluminium wheelchair. Amongst them are singles titles in Italy, Germany and Spain in 2015, and then to crown all this, with his double partner Gordon Reid, they took the doubles championship at Wimbledon. To top it all off he then went on to win silver in both the singles and doubles at Rio. However before Alfie left for Rio De Janerio word got out that he needed a new day wheelchair and five clubs in East Anglia came to the rescue with Rotarian Trevor Sayer commenting, â€œIt really shows the power of Rotary. Alfie is well known across the local clubs and we realised his talent with him winning so many titles recently so we wanted to help.â€? Alfie, who is now ranked eight in the ROTARY // 11
c is. o.u k
Rotarian and WheelPower Ambassador Trevor Sayer, pictured alongside Alfie Hewett
cccmen’s world singles wheelchair tennis and spends a good deal of his time in the USA, received his new wheelchair just before departing for Rio and said, “I love it! It fits well and I’m getting used to the feel of it so a massive thank you to Rotary.” Across from East Anglia in the Midlands another athlete was being encouraged by Rotary. The nation’s interest in the Rio Olympics was sparked right at the start when a reasonably unknown swimmer, Adam Peaty, shot to the notice of the world when he broke the world record in the 100m breaststroke heat and then went on to win Great Britain’s first gold medal of the Olympics. Adam, who also took the silver medal when the British men’s team came second in the 4 x 100m relay, comes from Uttoxeter and has had an association with the Rotary Club of Uttoxeter for some years. With various connections, and eventually through the club and his family, I caught up with this very busy young man. Of course I started by congratulating him on his remarkable achievement. Adam commented. “Thank you! Representing your country on the greatest stage on earth is a huge honour, and winning the first gold medal for Great Britain in Rio was an incredible moment for me and will live on in my memory forever.” We then went on to discuss the fact that his was the first win for Team GB which must have set the whole team alight 12 // ROTARY
They supported me in the early days so it’s nice to be able to thank them and stay involved.” with enthusiasm and encouraged the rest of the team to go out and win for their country. He told me, “I think winning the first gold at the Olympics is huge for your country. It gets the ball rolling and there’s less pressure on the other athletes and Team GB as a whole. I think it helped with momentum and inspired belief within the team, showing the world that Great Britain is a country to be reckoned with. Also I think for the athletes it gives them a bit of a boost as they see you win gold and it makes them want to win even more.” Coming back to his hometown I asked Adam what effect his winning has had locally, especially amongst younger people’s attitude to sport and their motivation to follow him, Adam replied, “The local club has had an influx of young people wanting to start swimming which is great. We’ll need to ask the same question in four
years time and hopefully we’ll see the same attitude and motivation in many years to come. “The homecoming celebration in Uttoxeter was amazing and it was great to see the impact - for them and for me - so I really hope the positive vibe continues.” We talked about his association with the Rotary Club of Uttoxeter and Adam told me, “They supported me in the early days so it’s nice to be able to thank them and stay involved. I gave a short talk at the club in 2014 and it’s been great to get members’ views on Uttoxeter. I think it’s interesting for them too to get my perspective on things as a sportsperson.” It was Adam’s achievement as a sportsperson that inspired the club to award him a Paul Harris Fellowship at a recent charter dinner and I asked him what he felt about it, “It means a lot because it’s a highly prestigious award and I want to keep that connection with the local community. It motivates me even more to work even harder as I want to make the club proud.” These are both wonderful examples of Rotary taking action in the community and making an impact by really being involved. Rotarians do great work in their local community and being part of the success is set to continue. l For more information go to: alfietennis.co.uk Twitter: @alfiehewett6 Twitter: @adam_peaty rotarygbi.org
ROTARY IN ACTION
World Polio Day
World Polio Day TV presenter Konnie Huq joined members of Rotary International to mark World Polio Day, by not just about raising awareness of the fight against the deadly disease, but also the barriers that must be overcome.
orld Polio Day marked a milestone in Rotary's campaign to achieve a polio-free world, as we are closer than ever to eradicating this crippling disease, with just 27 cases so far this year in three countries. It also comes at an important time as recent new cases of polio were found in Nigeria, which had previously gone two years without a reported case. This is a timely reminder to us all that we still have much to do to reach the goal of a polio-free world. For this year’s activities, and as part of the recently launched Purple4Polio campaign, TV presenter Konnie Huq teamed up with Rotarians to mark the day. On the evening of Monday 24th October, Konnie joined the President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Eve Conway for a Q&A event with the London Press Club at the Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall, where they both shared their personal experiences of polio immunisation work being done in the endemic countries. Also on the panel was Gautam Lewis, a polio survivor who was taken in by Mother Teresa when he was just three years old, who gave an insight into polio and living with its consequences. One of the key challenges the panel discussed was the idea of charity fatigue. Nowadays people are bombarded with worthy causes and it is easy to view polio as something, which is affecting someone else, somewhere else. But Konnie explained, “We can’t see polio as a done deal. Although it is only affecting three countries now if we rest on our laurels it can spread so quickly. We could blink and it could be back.” Gautum also discussed the success in India, which was declared polio free in 2014. He commented, “India was the most endemic of polio-infected countries. And there are lots of places where there are sanitation issues, but thanks to a well organised immunisation 14 // ROTARY
A demonstration of how polio used to be administered at the Science Museum, London
A key element of the eradication campaign is about working with religious leaders to build trust in communities." programme it has become a gold standard for polio eradication and other countries should look to it as an example.” Later in the week, Konnie was also joined by broadcaster and polio survivor Julia Roberts and a member of the International Polio Plus Committee Judith Diment at the prestigious Science Museum Lates ‘Contagion’ event to talk about the challenges facing the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and the work being done to ensure success from first hand experiences on the ground in India and Pakistan. Julia explained how she was placed in isolation and in a critical condition for six weeks when she contracted the disease, but despite her suffering she attended her first
dance lesson at four years old and went on to become a professional dance teacher. However, immunisation is often not as straightforward as it would seem. Areas struck by war or conflict can be difficult to access and cultural barriers can also prove a challenge. Judith Diment explained how, “A key element of the eradication campaign is about working with religious leaders to build trust in communities.” She also highlighted that, “Women health workers are playing an increasingly important role in protecting children and engaging households.” It is clear that although we are so close to making polio only the second disease to ever be eradicated from the world, momentum must be maintained to overcome the obstacles that still remain and achieve our goal of global eradication. Now more than ever it is vital that we come together in the final push against polio. l For more information go to: endpolio.org rotarygbi.org
WHERE THERE IS PEACE THERE IS HOPE ALLAN BERRY
I spoke with two Rotary Peace Fellows to find out more about the Rotary Programme and how they will apply what they have learned.
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ince the turn of the century, The Rotary Foundation Peace Fellowship Programme has had over 900 Peace Fellows who have attended courses at one of a number of educational establishments around the world. Rotary Peace Centres can be found in Thailand at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok; The United States at Duke University, Durham and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Japan at the International Christian University, Tokyo; Australia at the University of Queensland, Brisbane; Sweden at the Uppsala University; and the United Kingdom at Bradford University. Rotary Peace Fellows are endorsed
by a local club and go through a selection process within the clubâ€™s district. The Rotary Foundation will then usually fund the selected Peace Fellow. Bradford University Peace Centre has 10 Peace Fellows undergoing study each year. The course lasts 15 months with three to four months AFE (Applied Field Experience), so catching up with any one of them is not easy. However, I was fortunate to speak with two Peace Fellows, Zabit Aimal from Afghanistan who was in the process of completing his dissertation for his Masterâ€™s Degree, and Flor Yanez from Mexico who completed the course last year and is back working in her native country. In the 27 years Zabit Aimal has been alive, he has experienced much more than rotarygbi.org
most of us go through in a whole lifetime. Aimal, who told me in Afghanistan they refer to one another by surname, spoke about his life and becoming a Rotary Peace Fellow, “I was born in 1989, the year the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan after ten years of invasion. After that a civil war broke out between the warlords that destroyed Afghanistan; an absolute atrocity that left a vacuum in the country for fundamentalist Islamist group, the Taliban, to take over. We then had several governments in short succession that stepped in to fill the vacuum.” I mentioned that I had heard about this before but Aimal was the first person from Afghanistan who seemed prepared to go into so much detail. He went on, “It was so easy for the Taliban to move in from Pakistan; they had been taught and trained in Madrassas there and were able to take over the whole country apart from the northern territory. It was absolutely insane to live under the Taliban regime and see the brutality first hand.” Aimal lost his father in the civil war rotarygbi.org
when he was six months old and at seven years became the breadwinner of the house to support his mother and sister. He told me, “Because of the Taliban my mum and sister could not work so I spent my time working in the morning and attending school in the afternoon until I graduated.” He continued, “Not many people know this but when 9/11 happened and the international community moved into Afghanistan over 90% of the people celebrated.” We moved on to talk about the enlightening story of how Aimal became a Peace Fellow. “Because of the international community moving in we were exposed to American TV and that’s how I learned my English. I became an interpreter and cultural adviser to American troops at the beginning of 2007. In 2010 I met this amazing guy named Kurt Neddenriep who literally changed my life. I worked for him as an interpreter and he was the Area Deputy Commander of the Nevada National Guard 221 Cavalry Unit based in Laghman Province. He was also a Rotarian, belonging
to the Rotary Club of Elko, Nevada. His approach was refreshing as he would take the time to listen to both sides, and after a year’s deployment he was able to bring all his soldiers back from Afghanistan safely.” Aimal was granted asylum in the United States and studied at the University of Nevada, graduating in Political Sciences in 2014. He said, “Whilst in Nevada I shared my story with Rotarians and Rotary clubs, and between 50 to 100 helped to pay for my tuition fees and time there. When I asked why they were helping they replied because it is what Rotary does.” Aimal told me he did his Applied Field Experience in Washington at the International Peace and Security Institute, “I also did some work with the Afghan Embassy and was there a little longer than usual because I wanted to really experience everything there. It’s like this little place where you have all the world’s decision making there.” I went on to ask Aimal what next after Bradford, “I want to go back to the States ROTARY // 17
Chihuahua, which borders the USA, is one of the more dangerous states in Mexico with a high murder rate
cccand use my degree and experience to help make a difference in Afghanistan. Both my wife and I want to return one day to Afghanistan and enter into politics to help our country.” Aimal married a year ago. I asked him if he could return to his homeland. He told me, “Not yet but in five or perhaps ten years we can go back. Afghanistan is a young country with 65% of the population 25 or under so there is hope for the future.” After speaking with Aimal, I wanted to speak with a Peace Fellow who had completed the course and decided to talk to Flor Yanez from Chihuahua, Mexico. I’ve been to Mexico a few times entering from San Diego and travelling from Tucson and each time was struck by the change from wealth of the USA to the poverty of Mexico. Flor gave me an insight into this as we spoke about her work before and after the course. She told me, “I qualified as a lawyer with a Master’s in Human Rights and during that time I was a youth exchange student in the US and studied Political Science in Canada. I have also done research in India on the rights of women and spent some time in Switzerland studying.” We discussed the situation in her own country, and Flor told me, “Chihuahua, which borders the USA, is one of the more dangerous states in Mexico with a high murder rate. Hundreds of women have been abducted and murdered. Many women are desperate because of violence against them and that is why I want to help.” I asked Flor why she applied to be a Rotary Peace Fellow 18 // ROTARY
and she told me, “I had heard about the programme before I went to India. I wanted more expertise in conflict resolution and being a mediator, and thought it was crucial at a local level to have more experience to take back to the local community.” Flor told me she studied conflict resolution at Bradford, and was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Juarez Integra, Juarez City. I admitted to being surprised at the level of violence in her state and in Mexico, Flor went on, “The programme at Bradford has given me the tools to move forward with my profession.” I went on to ask where Flor did her fieldwork and was taken aback when she told me Fiji. “Fiji had a difficult situation when I went there and worked with UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). During that time Fiji was facing democratic elections and in the process of writing a new constitution. For over 30 years Fiji had faced coups and the militia had played a big part. I was able to help facilitate a dialogue with civil society and help arrange peaceful elections.” Alongside setting up a nongovernmental organisation to promote peace in Chihuahua, Flor is also a professor; writes for newspapers; and presents a radio programme. She seems to have many roles but her primary focus is on the peace process in her country. She explains, “I have set up a very successful programme at the Peace, Education and Conflict Resolution Centre, with a team of eight in Chihuahua and five in southern Mexico. We are working on peace and conflict resolution in the local
community since there is a lot of violence due to drug trafficking across the border into the USA. It's important and we are trying to educate the children. We are working to stop the violence as the government cracks down on drug trafficking. It’s important that we educate the children of Mexico on where the violence comes from and how to stop it. It may start with one person but the internal drug war has killed 13,000 people and we are working to prevent that from continuing to happen.” Flor has the support of her local Rotary club along with several others, aiding her in continuing her important work. I got the impression that at times her role can be quite dangerous but that was never mentioned. There is no doubt her time in Bradford as a Peace Fellow has motivated her and is helping her in this work. The Peace Fellowship Programme, run by The Rotary Foundation, is a great example of how good can be done in the world. If the efforts of the two people I spoke with is replicated right across the spectrum of Peace Fellows, it can be seen that Rotary has the power to contribute to the wellbeing of many people of the world. l For more information on Peace Fellows go to: rotary.org For information on Bradford University Peace Centre go to: brad.ac.uk rotarygbi.org
People helping People The Rotary Foundation
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otary members are among some of the most innovative people you could meet. From mere seeds of ideas presented to other members, huge events and projects transpire. In 1917, one such member had the vision to set up a charity within Rotary into which funds could be channelled, for the eventual use in humanitarian aid and doing good in the world. The Rotarian was Arch Klumph, the place Atlanta, and the new organisation The Rotary Foundation - was created on 18 June 1917. The first donation of $26.50 was made soon afterwards. However, even though the idea was accepted and an Endowment Fund set up it did not have legs until it was formally endorsed at an international meeting in Belgium in 1927. Today, 100 years later, The Rotary Foundation has a fund of over $1billion and since its inception has supported humanitarian programmes across the world. Many areas of the world are better places because of help from The Rotary Foundation. In this centennial year of the creation of The Rotary Foundation Rotary clubs across the world are celebrating with 100 themed
Klu ch Ar
In its centenary year we look at Rotary’s own charity The Rotary Foundation and highlight some of its most successful programmes.
SOME NOTABLE MILESTONES IN THE PROGRESS OF THE ROTARY FOUNDATION:
Paul Harris Fellowships are established in recognition of donations of $1,000 to The Foundation.
Matching Grants and Group Study Exchange are introduced. Club projects were part funded from The Foundation and the Group Study Exchange Programme facilitated young people from different countries to exchange roles and learn about corresponding cultures and projects.
made to immunise children against polio in the Philipinnes. This then progressed to the PolioPlus Programme now commonly referred to as ‘End Polio Now’.
Peace Centres were created across the world and around 100 Peace Fellows are sent to these centres each year. The Rotary Foundation has funded over 1,000 Peace Fellows and wherever peace and reconciliation are being brokered in the world it is reckoned a Rotary Peace Fellow is there helping to accommodate a solution.
Health, Hunger and Humanity form the A new Grant Model was implemented to basis of the 3-H programme. Eventually this development of grants was categorised further the six Areas of Focus and endorse the United Nations Sustainable Development into the six Areas of Focus. Goals. During this time it was announced the Polio endemic countries had fallen to just two. However, in mid-2016 a setback meant As the Grant Programme developed, that Nigeria was returned to the endemic grants were made for development of the list raising the figure to three. This is still a polio vaccine, and an initial grant was remarkable achievement by any standards.
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ROTARY IN ACTION
The Global Grant of £40k helped fund one to one tuition and software to help the students with their literacy skills
cdcevents with the culmination of activities in Atlanta at the Rotary Convention on June 10-14, 2017. The most far-reaching and successful Foundation Programme over many years is the PolioPlus project now usually referred to as ‘End Polio Now.’ Rotarians across the world have embraced this life-changing project and contributed through fundraising events and personal donations. In 1988 the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched and the interested parties signed up to help. This included UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), WHO (World Health Organisation), CDC (Campaign for Disease Control and Prevention) and Rotary International. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined the group sometime later. In 1988 polio was present in 125 countries and paralysing 350,000 young children every year. The countries where polio is now present are Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan and the cases this year at the time of writing are just 28. Whilst this is quite an achievement the organisations involved are determined to finish the job to eradicate polio from the world and the six year strategic plan set down by GPEI is still being implemented by all concerned. Rotary International has been at the table and has advocates around the world lobbying governments including the UK government, EU council and concerned 22 // ROTARY
"This project has helped a number of pupils up the ladder of life and given them a chance they may not have had." parties for help and revenue to keep up the programme and see it through. Rotarians across the world are determined to see the world eradicated of polio and work to this end. This project underlines the work of The Rotary Foundation from its beginnings in 1917 to this day. Another very successful programme is the Peace Fellowships and we speak with two in this edition to learn more about their work and the support of Rotary. Finally, The Rotary Foundation enables Rotarians and their clubs to really make a difference to people’s lives locally and internationally through the Global Grant Programme. Global Grants are the bedrock of the grant programme and every application goes through a rigorous selection procedure to ensure The Foundation’s money is being used effectively. Most are for international projects but we have chosen to highlight one that benefits a club’s local community. The Rotary Clubs in Paignton teamed up with the Rotary Club of Dokkum in the Netherlands set up The Hero Project to help children in Torbay School with literacy. The
project was executed on three of the school sites for youngsters in special units who for one reason or another had been excluded from mainstream school. The Global Grant of £40k helped fund one to one tuition and software to help the students with their literacy skills. Past President of the Rotary Club of Paignton commented, “This project has helped a number of pupils up the ladder of life and given them a chance they may not have had. Its success would not be possible without the grant from The Rotary Foundation.” It is also a criteria of the grant that the project is sustainable, with a recent Ofsted report stating, “The reading programme supports progress over time, particularly for those pupils who find reading difficult.” A pupil commented, “The programme has given me the confidence to read and send texts to my friends which is great and I have just taken my GCSE exams without the help of a reader or a scribe which for me is quite an achievement.” After its inception 100 years ago, The Rotary Foundation is strong and growing stronger with the help of Rotarians across the world. We have brought just a few examples of its work, but there are many others. We wish The Rotary Foundation success over the next 100 years of doing good in the world. l For more information go to: rotary.org/en/annualreport/2014-15 rotarygbi.org
For more information please visit: Rotarygbi.org/what-we-d0/conference
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ROTARY IN ACTION
Conference descends on culture city
As the home of media city and the northern capital of cool, Manchester is one of the UK’s edgiest cities and for 2017 it is home to Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s annual conference.
anchester has produced many of the things that the British population holds dear, from world-class football and nailbiting drama on Coronation Street to household names such as Oasis and The Smiths. We look at what Manchester has to offer all those heading to the conference. With so much to see and do it sets the perfect home for the conference, with innovative exhibitions and museums, an envious food and drink scene and the famous Northern Quarter, where thousands swarm every weekend. There are hidden gems such as the beautiful Victoria Baths and the cornerstone of Manchester’s music scene, Piccadilly Records. The city has a wealth of classic and modern architecture with the hub of Rotary’s conference taking place at Manchester Central Convention Complex, and other historic buildings including the magnificent 600-year-old cathedral. Its architecture has evolved over the years and following the industrial revolution it was known as the first modern city, with a vast array of warehouses, railway viaducts, cotton mills and canals dating back to when the city produced and traded goods. If football is your thing you’ll be spoilt for choice with two top-flight teams with Manchester City and world-renowned Manchester United enjoying a longstanding rivalry. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or looking to soak up the city’s football cheer the National Football Museum is the perfect fixture for a quiet afternoon. Spread across six floors historic gems include the first ever football rulebook from 1863 to the ball used in the 1966 World Cup. While Manchester has fantastic experiences to be enjoyed, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s conference is a jam-packed weekend set
to entertain and delight. The three-day schedule has an exciting programme of speakers from Paralympian Ade Adepitan, star of iconic film Born Free Virginia McKenna OBE and her son Will Travers OBE, to the tenth anniversary of the Rotary Young Citizen Awards and a performance from The Hallé Youth Choir. Other highlights include a General Interest session and the chance to visit the Rotary Community Showcase. With a strong culture and a vibrant
energy, Manchester is the perfect place to explore at your leisure while joining Rotary to connect with members, build new relationships, exchange ideas and have fun in the process. l
For more information on Rotary’s 2017 conference or to join us in Manchester on April 7-9 visit: rotarygbi.org ROTARY // 25
ROTARY IN ACTION
More than just a boat ride
There is something magical about any boat trip but when the boat has been specially built to give people with disabilities a day of relaxation and fun, it takes ‘messing about on the river’ to a new level.
his is certainly true for the tens of thousands of guests with disabilities or lifelimiting illnesses who, for 26 sun-dappled seasons, have enjoyed a day on the Gloucester-Sharpness Canal thanks to The Willow Trust. This is more than an excellent day out; the many guests who enjoy it do not have to pay a penny. The Willow Trust, based in Cirencester in Gloucestershire, provides day trips on the canal for people with disabilities across a very broad spectrum. Around 7,000 people enjoyed the peace and calm
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of canal cruising during the 2016 season, which runs every weekday from early April to late October. All costs were covered by fundraising and donations, including annual donations from Friends of Willow Trust, a wide range of organisations, individuals and charity groups and local Rotary clubs. Liz Rowland of The Willow Trust told us, “On a Willow Trust boat there are absolutely no barriers to who can be our guest; not age, nor any type of disability. Our guests and their carers join the volunteer crews and professional skipper of the Spirit of Freedom II or the Leonard rotarygbi.org
It is highly rewarding to have enabled our guests to do something that, in normal circumstances, they could not do.”
Matchan for a day on the water which, for some, will not have been experienced before. “Both boats were built to be highly stable and on-board we have a large electric lift so wheelchair users can also go up to the helm position and steer the boat they are on. The boats have long picture windows and an outside seating area and as our website shows, there are sometimes theme days such as the Pirate Day. The photos tell the story of how much our guests enjoy their time with us. “When we talk about disability at The Willow Trust, we don’t interpret what that means. We started in 1989 and our first boat would cost £130,000. It was built in the Spring of 1991. That order was based on £5 that we had received as a donation and we then had to raise money for each of the payment stages. People spread the word.” There is no doubt that the funding of two boats, two full time qualified captains, rotarygbi.org
as well as the maintenance and running costs is a challenge and, as Liz said, “We need to continually raise money and we have to go forward optimistically. With two boats out and money not falling from the sky, we greatly appreciate the kind people who support The Willow Trust.” The Willow Trust relies on 100 or so volunteers to keep their daily week-time cruises going during their seven-month long season. About 10 per cent are members of local Rotary clubs and one is Richard Belliss. Richard has been a Rotarian for 25 years and was President of his Cotswold Tyndale Club for 2006/7, during which The Willow Trust was Richard’s chosen charity. Richard interrupted his holiday to speak to us about not only what ‘Willow’ means to the guests but also to volunteers who give their time and effort to make the canal cruises so popular. In fact, so popular that every day of the 2016 season was booked and reservations for 2017 are already coming in. We asked Richard to explain how he became involved with The Willow Trust and it turns out this is a family affair. Richard told us, “My wife, Di, has supported The Willow Trust for over 20 years and when I retired ten years ago I was able to give some of my own time, too.
We have around 30 guests on each trip and three or four volunteer crewmembers and, of course, our Skipper. As volunteer crewmembers, we are trained well so we can assist guests and deal with any emergency, should one arise. Even taking the helm, if need be. “We ensure our guests are comfortable and have a great day out, cruising along from about 10.30am and then stopping for a picnic lunch before returning home at around 3pm. The restorative nature of being on water gives enjoyment and relaxation to our guests and their carers.” Richard continued, “Other local Rotary clubs, as well as mine, donate to the funds which are so important to The Willow Trust. The donations also come from other organisations and individuals, of course, and are greatly appreciated. This is why our guests do not have to pay. Personally, I enjoy it particularly because I am interacting with people who have varying disabilities or life-limiting illnesses, and no one is excluded due to money. It’s rewarding to make their time with us as pleasant as possible.” l
For more information on The Willow Trust visit: willowtrust.org ROTARY // 27
ROTARY IN ACTION
Meet & Greet
A new member talks about his Rotary experience FACT FILE Name: Phil Broeders, 52 Club: Ellesmere Port Member since: 2014 Occupation: Runs an opticians
Q: What were your perceptions of Rotary
before you became involved? I knew very little about Rotary. I knew it did work for charity and was involved in polio vaccines but that was about it.
Q: What impressions did you take away from
your first few Rotary meetings? How friendly the people were. Ours is a mixed group and that certainly made the meeting a more positive experience. I was put at ease straight away and really enjoyed the chat and banter around the table. However, I also got the impression that there was a lot going on in terms of events, fundraising activity and the like. It’s a relatively small group but certainly punches above its weight in terms of money raised, events organised and ideas to help charities.
Q: How do you find the time to fit in Rotary
with other hobbies and interests? I have no idea! Work takes up a lot of my life at the moment but I try to get along to the meetings and just help out where I can.
Q: What do you personally get out of being
a member? So much. There is the feeling of putting something back into the local community and helping people. Ours is a very friendly club so we always seem to have an enjoyable time when we get together and it creates another social circle to enjoy. I have a very busy life and it’s good sometimes to go along to a Rotary meeting and just chat about life and people rather than business. Also, I have gained a few new customers!
Q: What do you tell people who are interested
event you have been involved with and how did you find the experience? We support lots of different local charities. One that sticks with me is where a local school organised the cleaning of a war memorial and developing a mural about World War I. The children involved came to the club to talk about what they’d done and what they’d learned. A very uplifting experience.
in the organisation and want to know more about it with a view to joining? Come along to the meeting and enjoy yourself. Meet the members and see how you feel after that. Rotarians are just ordinary people who do extraordinary things for the community. I have met some amazing people in Rotary who give up their time to help others nearly every day with no desire for recognition or reward. Wouldn’t the world be better if more people did that? And Rotary gives people the opportunity to do it.
Q: If we granted you a wish to change
Q: If I asked you to sum up the organisation
Q: What has been the most inspiring Rotary
something in the organisation what would it be? I would say to have a balanced membership of men and women in every club.
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How did you find out about Rotary? One of my customers, Bill Leslie, invited me along to a meeting. I say ‘invited’ but I had little choice in the matter – he insisted that I came along. At the end of the meeting he said, “You will, of course, be coming to the next meeting?” – which I did. After the second meeting it was then, “You will, of course, be joining?” – which I did.
and your enjoyment of it in just a few words what would you say? Having fun and helping people.
Rotary around the world Rotarians across the world join with their communities to make a difference. We highlight just a few events helping to change lives for the better.
Pumpkin launchers prep for Estancia Rotary Punkin Chunkin It’s not uncommon to see locally sourced produce rocketing across the sky in Estancia during punkin chunkin season. This autumn tradition is the sport of hurling or chucking a pumpkin solely by mechanical means as far as possible using scratch-made cannons and catapults, watching the high-velocity gourds explode on impact in distant clouds of dust. Now in its 21st year, the Estancia Rotary Club invites locals to gather each autumn to take part in the competition, as well as raise money for local causes. Signs outside the main drag herald the small town as the “Punkin Chunkin Capital of New Mexico.” Rotary organisers saw some 3,000 visitors, along with 40 food and craft vendors attending for the latest spectacular. Angie Coburn, Secretary of the Estancia Rotary Club, commented, “It gets bigger and better every year.” This fall saw ten punkin chunkin contraptions competed, including the Widowmaker, The Judge and Bee-Dazzled, each able to catapult a pumpkin nearly a mile into the distance. One resident who loves this silly slice of Americana is 39-year old Emet Chavez, who finished second in the distance competition in 2015, and had his eyes on the top prize for 2016. When asked why he joins in every year he simply said that it is not just down to the bragging rights, but the students the event supports too. The annual gathering will raise funds towards college scholarships for National Honor Society students at Estancia High School. The event brings together the farming community, with neighbours, schoolchildren and friends all there to join in the fun. l 30 // ROTARY
Rotary clubs walk to kick polio out of Nigeria To mark World Polio Day the Rotary Club of Lagos-Palmgrove Estate, in collaboration with the Rotary Clubs of Ilupeju Central, Lagos Island and Igbobi Central, carried out a walk across communities in Lagos, Nigeria. The clubs came together to help create awareness of polio and called on parents to take their children to the nearest primary health centre for a polio immunisation vaccine, while urging the government to create more awareness and extend the same to rural areas since the vaccines are free. The Chairman of Polio Service and Blood Donation, Santosh Kakade, said the sudden outbreak of polio again had called for more sensitisation in Nigeria. Rotarian Dr. Wale Ogunbadejo called on every Nigerian, especially nursing mothers, to co-operate with the health officials and ensure that Nigeria is removed from the remaining three polio endemic nations in the world. Also, as part of their World Polio Day celebrations, clubs aimed to bring together 4,500 students from various schools to try and break the 4,200 human mosaic record, to heighten the awareness of ending polio in Nigeria. Santosh Kakade, added, “We want to beat the Guinness World Record of Human Mosaic using the End Polio Now campaign, by increasing the current record of 4,200 people to 4,500.” In a related development, the Rotary Club of Amuwo also staged an awareness campaign through the media on plans to eradicate the disease. They called on members of the public to donate towards the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) polio funds. l
Rotary International launches punctuality campaign in Accra The Rotary Club of Ghana has launched a time-management campaign dubbed the “Punctuality and Time Management Project” in Accra to help instill discipline and promptness among Ghanaians. The project seeks to cause a significant attitudinal change towards time management through planned activities with the media, corporate partners and other stakeholders. Speaking at the official launch of the campaign, Rotarian Sam Worentetu described the attitude to time management as a worrying and increasing phenomenon amongst the country. According to him, many people in and outside the country were noticing this situation and they wanted to improve the image of Ghana. The South Korean Ambassador to Ghana, H.E Lyeo Woon-Ki who was the special guest of honour at the event urged Ghanaians to work hard to ensure punctuality and be “masters of their own time,” as the effective use of time has a direct influence on the nation’s development. The project is to be rolled out across the whole of Africa and Sam commented, “As the partners in this endeavour, we have no illusions about the challenges ahead of us in the execution of this project but we are strengthened in the knowledge that our legacy will be beyond measure in its impact on our community.” Some of the activities lined up for the project will include advocacy and publicity campaigns in the media; Rotary and public platforms; time management activities in secondary and tertiary institutions across the country; and promotion of branded items such as time towers. l rotarygbi.org
ROTARY IN ACTION
Aleppo to Norwich
Aleppo to Norwich A young Syrian refugee has moved halfway across the world to further her studies and eventually help her country. She related her harrowing story to me.
very day we are bombarded with news stories concerning Aleppo in Syria and each story concerns war, terrorism, death, injury and the plight of Syrian people. I wanted to find out what it is really like so one Saturday afternoon I sat with Enana Alassaf to talk about her personal plight and that of her family. Her story is of hope for the future but we discussed what is happening right now in that war torn country. I started by asking Enana about her journey from Aleppo to the University of East Anglia, “I was an undergraduate in Pharmacy at the University of Aleppo, and in my third year of my five year course war broke out. My parents did not want me to go to university and they put a lot of pressure on me not to go because it was very dangerous as I could get bombed. Where I lived we could get bombed and the shooting and shelling was continuous but I did not have any other choice because if I wanted to transfer to continue my studies they would not take me in. I didn’t have a choice, to risk my life or gain my degree. In my fourth year it was horrible and on the way to the university there was shooting everywhere and bombs were going off in front of you, behind you and all around. At university some students were protesting and the army would go in and arrest anyone. The army would come in and start hitting students and go through breaking equipment, this happened most days.” Watching and listening to accounts on the news channels is one thing but hearing this first hand is another and I found it very disturbing but Enana was by now in full flow and went on, “My family live on the fourth floor and one day we heard the army on the third floor yelling and shouting. They entered a friend’s house beat the mother and broke all the house up took away the two young men for posting pictures of the free flag on Facebook. We heard the next day the army had tortured them next to our house and then shot them dead.” When Enana finished her degree in Aleppo she married but wanted
Enana Alassaf intends to study in cancer research when she can get on a course for her PhD
It is horrible they have to live in basements and corridors. Only yesterday my mother and sister missed a barrel bomb by two seconds, it exploded behind them.” to continue to study and applied for many scholarships. She eventually was offered one by the Asfari Foundation and told me, “That was the happiest day of my life.” I asked about her husband Mohamed Eldaly who was running his own pharmacy in East Aleppo. “The pharmacy being in the east meant we had to cross checkpoints every day to reach it and we were often taken away and questioned which was very scary so we decided we could not go there any more. After that I worked in the hospital pharmacy as a volunteer and also as a health worker.” Enana came to the UK on her scholarship leaving her husband in Syria and tried to arrange for him to join her here, “My husband went to Lebanon to apply for a visa leaving everything behind. He did not think he would get one but within a week he was
granted a visa to come to the UK. We left everything behind in Aleppo. He could not go back to Syria because he might be arrested so he came straight to the UK.” Mohamed is now learning English and hopes to do a master’s degree in molecular sciences at the University of East Anglia and then return to being a pharmacist. I asked about Enana’s family who are still in Syria, “It is horrible they have to live in basements and corridors. Only yesterday my sister had an appointment at the dentist and she and my mother missed a barrel bomb by two seconds, it exploded behind them.” Enana speaks to them whenever she can get a good connection and it seems that happens almost every week. We did talk about the future and I had to ask if Enana and Mohamed had hope. She replied, “Of course we do worry about the rest of the family but my husband’s family is large and he worries even more since they live in a place with crossfire all the time. They cannot afford to move out of Aleppo to another place so they are forced to stay.” Enana Alassaf intends to study in cancer research when she can get on a course for her PhD and she mentioned to me that most Syrians who leave their country want to give to the country they now live in. I know from speaking with her she certainly does but she wishes for a time when the fighting stops and she can return to her family. l
For more information go to: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ enana-assaf ROTARY // 31
ROTARY IN ACTION
FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY Earlier this year saw the sad passing of boxing legend, Muhammad Ali. We spoke to Rotarian, Peter Griffiths, who was given a unique opportunity to get close to the world’s greatest.
eter Griffiths, a member of the Rotary Club of Falmouth spent his younger years working as a press photographer and foreign correspondent. In January of 1980, Griffiths accompanied three-time heavyweight champion of the world Ali on a tour of Africa and in honour of his recent passing he is now releasing his never before seen pictures of the trip. The eight day trip was organised by the then US President Jimmy Carter in an 32 // ROTARY
attempt to encourage African countries to join America’s boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, with Peter travelling with Ali to Senegal, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Ivory Coast and Liberia. Griffiths explains, “In January 1980 Ali and I, three of his aides, and a small State Department delegation, clambered aboard the US presidential jet, sent by President Jimmy Carter. “The trip started at Dar es Salaam (then
the Tanzanian capital). As usual, crowds on the tarmac chanted ‘Ali, Ali, Ali’.” The pictures, which were taken in Dakar, Senegal, include shots of Ali boarding the US presidential jet, signing autographs and greeting fans and even a picture of Griffiths that was taken by Ali himself. “I recall he was articulate, pleasant, quite funny, and reasonably knowledgeable. He was naturally interested in the countries we were to visit,” Peter recalled. “We shared, with others, quite a few dinners and one of his aides revealed he liked talking to me because I had no knowledge of, and no interest in, boxing and never asked about it.” Speaking of one of his fondest memories of the trip Griffiths added, “In Senegal, we were received by the cultured and pleasant President Léopold Sédar Senghor, who was the first African elected as a member of the Académie française. He and Ali, who both enjoyed writing poetry, recited their poems to each other on a beach under palm trees.” l To view the full gallery of Peter’s images of Muhammad Ali from the trip, visit his portfolio here: griffopix.com rotarygbi.org
JOIN LEADERS EXCHANGE IDEAS TAKE ACTION Take action: rotarygbi.org
ROTARY IN ACTION
en’s Sheds is an initiative that was set up in Australia in 2007, the model was adopted in the UK in 2013. It was identified that some older men felt like they lacked purpose following retirement, the scheme was primarily designed to bring together communities of men all in a familiar place – the garden shed. The initiative draws on each individual’s skills such as carpentry, building, metalworking or even building a car and the Sheds allow men to get together for companionship, but also to use their skills to do good in their community – mirroring the work of Rotary. It was only natural that the two organisations would work together, and many clubs across Great Britain and Ireland have supported Men’s Sheds in one way or another. One club that has close links with a Men’s Sheds is Caterham Rotary Club, with its support of a project, which is now in its third year and run by retirees. The Shed is run from The Douglas Brunton Centre, Caterham on the Hill and most recently they were approached by Hillcroft School, Caterham to support its conservation project by making bat boxes, insect ‘hotels’, notice boards and bug boxes. They also hosted visits from groups of the children to show them how the items were being made. As the months progressed the project needed a purpose made canopy “extension” to the front of their shed in order to provide more cover for outside work including the use the electric power saws and sanders. Funding was required and that is when their leader Paul Gregory decided to approach Caterham Rotary Club who had helped originally to fund the purchase of electric tools for the project. As a result he was delighted that they had been granted £500. Paul commented, “We are very grateful to Caterham Rotary for their generosity and we have now been able to purchase a good quality twin wall roofing section, rain water goods and timber, all from local suppliers.”
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Toiling away for the community Retirement can be a daunting prospect, from waking up in the morning with your day planned out to having felt like you’ve lost your purpose. That’s why one organisation has been set up to reduce isolation in men and improve wellbeing in retirement.
Men's Sheds provide an outlet to keep active
Across the UK there are currently 334 open Sheds and 84 in the planning stages. They are opening at an average of three new Sheds per week with an estimated total of nearly 7,000 local Shed members. Anne Oxley, Director of Services at UK Men's Sheds Association, comments: “We often heard from men that their spare time was going to waste when they still had so much more to give or that they didn't have reason to get up in the morning. Retirement can be a lonely place and you can feel like you've lost a sense of camaraderie and your feelings of being needed. Women have lots of social networks to get involved in after retirement, but there was a void for men who wanted to make use of their vocational skills. “Men's Sheds provide an outlet to keep active and get back the feeling of being able to have something to offer. I now hear from our members 'getting involved is better than any
form of medicine' and 'the Sheds have given me hope'. “Our membership organisation perfectly complements Rotary and we'd be keen to see more clubs link up with their local Shed and do some great work in the community.”l
A LOT OF SHEDS Across the UK there are currently 334 open Sheds and 84 in the planning stages.
For more information on how you can get involved and support Men's Sheds visit: menssheds.org.uk rotarygbi.org
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LATEST NEWS FROM AROUND GREAT BRITAIN & IRELAND
Guest Editor: Paul Jackson ROTARY // 37
HAITI SUFFERS AGAIN THREE ORGANISATIONS STARTED BY ROTARIANS ARE RESPONDING TO THE DISASTER AFTER HURRICANE MATTHEW HIT THE IMPOVERISHED ISLAND OF HAITI IN OCTOBER.
n 2010 a devastating earthquake hit Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world; more than 220,000 died with three million people affected. Recovery has been a long and slow process, and in 2016 along came Hurricane Matthew causing more death and destruction to the country. Three charities, started by members of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, are responding to this disaster. The first thing that you realise is that whilst these charities are ready to go at an instant, it just isn’t that simple. When either working direct, or with other associations, the first step is to collaborate with the Haiti Government, who are understandably in a state of shock and suffering from a collapsed infrastructure and unclear communications. Nothing happens until an official invitation is sent from the Government. In 2010 ShelterBox shipped a large number of boxes into the Haitian airport very quickly, which ended up as a field hospital right there in the airport. Later, ShelterBoxes were distributed to 28,000 families and even to this day many are still being used. Started by the Rotary Club of Helston-Lizard, Cornwall, Rotary has contributed over 40% of
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ShelterBox’s revenue since it started in 2000. Among ShelterBox’s suite of aid is the box costing £590, which includes an aid package of a water filtration device to give a household safe drinking water, mosquito nets to combat the spread of other diseases, and a host of devices and equipment to keep a family safe for a period of time. This time ShelterBox had the advantage of significant aid pre-positioned in the area, including 369 tents and 77 complete ShelterBoxes, which were stored in the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince. A further 1,310 ShelterKits, mosquito nets and water filtration equipment have been shipped from Panama, and 323 ShelterBoxes hitched a ride with the Dutch Navy to Haiti via Curacao. Andre Bloemink, a ShelterBox Response Team (SRT) member from Canada, commented, “Haitians are helping Haitians as best as they can. With previous operations the response often inadvertently promoted reliance on others as opposed to self-recovery. With an already challenged infrastructure, public health and uncertain political situation, the idea is to assist locals as best as we can to support a proactive recovery in the weeks and months ahead.”
Water-Survival Box is also on the scene and is an entirely voluntary project founded and managed by the Rotary Club of Chelwood Bridge in Somerset. Started 10 years ago in the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed over 225,000 people and devastated coastal areas surrounding the Indian Ocean, it has already responded to 49 disasters – with Haiti now totalling 50 – by providing humanitarian aid for more than 100,000 people, working with its sister charity Humanity First. The charity provides a rapid response for families who have no access to safe drinking water and since 2010, when 810 boxes were sent to Haiti, Water-Survival Box has enormously improved the period of use of the filters. The new filter box costs £150 and can now deliver 100,000 litres of clean water - 20 times the capacity of the previous kit. This represents 10 litres every day for each member of a family of five for some five years - or 10 litres a day for 100 people for three months, essential in a refugee camp situation. 500 were recently sent to Syria and at least 500 boxes will arrive in Haiti. With considerable support from Rotary, Water-Survival Box has been one of the
"THE IDEA IS TO ASSIST LOCALS AS BEST AS WE CAN TO SUPPORT A PROACTIVE RECOVERY IN THE WEEKS AND MONTHS AHEAD.” 'Opportunities to Serve' projects since 2008 with 95% of the £1.5 million raised so far coming from Rotary. The third charity helping on the ground is Aquabox, established 24 years ago by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth, Derbyshire, which provides boxes containing water filters and emergency supplies that can be used in areas during times of crisis. Following the earthquake Aquabox has responded by shipping 18 community units, each one with a capacity of 360 litres per hour, with a life of at least one million litres. Aquabox is intending to ship 500 Gold boxes costing £80,000 and every Gold box, which weighs 23 kilos, has up to 70 items including a water purification unit capable of producing a minimum of 60 litres per hour with a life of no less than 100,000 litres of potable water. This corresponds to the amount needed by a family of five individuals for at least five years. It launched as a charity in 1992 and is now shipping 2,500 boxes annually all over the world. Its revenue since its foundation is £5 million with an estimated 80% coming from Rotary clubs. From acorns come oaks and Helston-Lizard, Chelwood Bridge and Wirksworth Clubs can justifiably feel proud of their achievements.
FOR MORE INFORMATION shelterbox.org watersurvivalbox.org aquabox.org ROTARY // 39
GOOD TIDINGS WE BRING W
BRINGING COMMUNITIES TOGETHER AND RAISING MONEY FOR CHARITY, THE ROTARY SANTA SLEIGHS ARE ENJOYING THEIR BEST YEARS EVER.
ith each festive season, various Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland embark upon a mission to spread Christmas cheer far and wide throughout their local communities. Often clad in Christmas outfits and full of festive enthusiasm, Rotarians and volunteers climb aboard a motorised Santa Sleigh and spend the lead-up to Christmas travelling around their local neighbourhoods, entertaining children and parents alike. Spreading the Christmas cheer does not stop with simply entertaining the community, however, the Santa Sleighs also go a long way to raise money for various charities by collecting donations as they travel through the streets. Last year, clubs recorded their most successful years to date, with more money raised for worthwhile causes than ever before. For the Coventry Rotary clubs, led by the Rotary Club of Coventry Jubilee, it was a particularly special year as it saw in the 10th anniversary of its Santa Sleigh. With the promise to be bigger and better than ever, the clubs
kicked off their operation at Willenhall Primary School, Coventry in front of several hundred thrilled children and parents. Never ones to disappoint, the clubs celebrated the anniversary in the best way possible by breaking the £100,000 donations barrier midway through their travels. In that year alone, they were able to raise £23,500 for seven different charities, including The Air Ambulance Service, the Coventry Winter Night Shelter and Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice. The clubs have worked tirelessly for each of the charities over the years, and the money raised has helped support the refurbishment of an outdoor play area at Zoë’s Place, which included more toys for the children and a much needed shelter to protect them from the elements. The Santa Sleigh activities span the whole of December with all areas of the country covered. It’s a huge undertaking, with Coventry alone covering 25 areas across the city with 400 shifts undertaken by both Rotarians and volunteers to ensure that nowhere is missed. It’s not just out on the street where the community can get involved, the clubs have also launched a Coventry Santa Tracker Facebook page, which has earned over 9,000 likes. Warren Offer of the Rotary Club of Coventry Jubilee, commented, “It’s been a fantastic tool for us to share with everyone when and where the sleigh is due to arrive in their neighbourhood. It’s caused great excitement and we have more engagement than ever with a record number of likes and comments, including pictures of the sleigh’s progress through the city.” Just down the road from Coventry, the Rotary Club of Halesowen and Rowley Regis was also celebrating a hugely successful year of Santa Sleighs. With an early start in mid-November, the club embarked on its campaign at the Halesowen Town Centre Christmas lights switch-on, to an audience of thousands. From then until 22nd December, every day was filled with one or more
“THE CHILDREN ABSOLUTELY LOVE THE EXPERIENCE AND IT IS DEEPLY SATISFYING FOR OUR MEMBERS TOO. SUCH A LARGE OPERATION INVOLVES A LOT OF VOLUNTEER TIME BUT IT IS HIGHLY, HIGHLY REWARDING.”
appearances throughout the local community – at schools, shops and housing estates. Raising thousands for worthwhile causes, the club enjoyed a wonderful year of collecting more donations than ever for the charities of its choice. With a focus on helping local charities, the largest single donation made by the club was to Halas Homes, a care centre for people with learning disabilities. In the time since, Halas Homes has put the donation to very good use, contributing towards the cost of a new minibus. As well as providing domestic care, Halas takes its residents on trips and days out away from the centre. It’s crucial that they have a safe means of travel that is large enough to accommodate the wheelchairs used by many of the residents. With not one, but two Santa Sleighs, the club spent weekends stationed at large stores, including B&Q, ASDA, Tesco and Toys R Us, maintaining the festive atmosphere as people did their Christmas shopping.
Weekdays were spent touring the roads across the town, with communities coming out of their homes to meet Santa and donate to the cause, bringing everyone together in a mass of Christmas excitement. Advancing spectacularly down the roads, the larger of the two Santa Sleighs was adorned in twinkling LED lights and playing only the best Christmas records, making it a sight – and sound – to behold. Brian Stokes, Sleigh Master, Rotary Club of Halesowen and Rowley Regis, comments, “The children absolutely love the experience and it is deeply satisfying for our members too. Such a large operation involves a lot of volunteer time but it is highly, highly rewarding.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION Discover what’s happening in your local area visit: rotarygbi.org/club-finder facebook.com/CoventrySantaTracker
SNOWDOGS BY THE SEA
ive Rotary clubs and one Rotaract club in Brighton and Hove have got on board with a public art extravaganza in the city, raising funds for a local hospice. The Snowdogs by the Sea event has seen 44 giant Snowdogs spring up across the town, each sponsored by local organisations and decorated by local artists. The Snowdogs, which feature in the Christmas classic The Snowman and the Snowdog, were then auctioned off to raise tens of thousands of pounds for Martlets. Martlets is a local charity which provides vital care for individuals suffering from terminal illness, whilst also giving much needed support for their friends and families. The auction funds are vital to allow Martlets to continue to provide some of their 24/7 support services. Rotary Brighton & Hove’s Snowdog, entitled Merry-Go-Hound is inspired by a classic carousel horse and also contains a nod to Brighton’s connection with the Mod culture of the 1960s.
BIDDING FOR A BETTER FUTURE
ambridge Rotary Club has played a part in tackling one of the globe’s most critical problems, by raising over £25,000 in a charity auction in support of children and families impacted by the war in Syria. The club will split the proceeds from the event both locally and internationally between the Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign and Rotary project partner ShelterBox. The Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign is a voluntary group working in the city that helps to provide refugees with housing and other essential items such as food and clothing, as well as liaising with other local organisations to facilitate key services such as English translations and child fostering opportunities. This ensures all those arriving in the area after fleeing the war are welcomed
and integrated into society. Items up for auction included works of art, signed sporting memorabilia and a selection of tickets, tours and shows and the event even received royal approval, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge passing on their best wishes. Tony O’Mara, a member of the club who led the event commented, “We've seen with dismay the tragic images of the bleeding and lost little five-year-old boy in the Syrian ambulance. Could this poor child in other circumstances have been a member of one of our own families? “The refugee crisis is one of the biggest issues facing the world today, so to be able to make a difference is great. What is particularly rewarding is that by supporting two charities we’ve been able to make that difference in our own community as well as overseas.”
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As Mike Evans, a member of Stafford Castle Rotary Club who has been instrumental in bringing this huge collaboration to fruition, explains the loans make a huge difference, “Typically loans vary from as little as £100 to £3,000 so a little can make a huge difference to individuals or small groups. The benefits can be widespread such as being able to afford better nutrition, health, housing or paying for children’s school fees, maybe employing other local people and extra money percolates out into the local community for wider benefit.” To date, approximately 6,000 business owners, family members and additional employees have benefitted from the programme.
ver 1,200 small businesses in developing countries have been kick-started thanks to the efforts of 30 West Midlands Rotary clubs. In total over £56,000 has been loaned through microfinance charity Lendwithcare, empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty, giving entrepreneurs the responsibility to manage their business ventures with commitments to loan repayments. The beneficiaries include women like 19-year-old Mishell Pizanan from Ecuador, who has bought pigs to rear, 1,000 chickens to raise and feed with her $2,000 loan. The opportunity to have a stable income allows Mishell to support her young baby and study accounting at university at the weekends.
MAKE A DIFFERENCE WITH A FESTIVE FEAST
wmbran Vale Rotary Club’s annual Christmas pudding extravaganza has once again been raising funds and awareness for good causes ahead in the run up to the festive season. Over the past five years the club has raised over £71,000 for nominated charities, which this year is Meningitis Now. Funds raised from the appeal will help Meningitis Now continue providing support for individuals, families and communities impacted by the disease, as well as funding life-saving research. Steve Dayman, Executive Founder of Meningitis Now commented, “We’re really grateful to Cwmbran Vale Rotary Club for choosing us as their charity for this year’s pudding appeal and their generous support of our work. “Their efforts make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.” 500,000 people living in the UK have had meningitis and around 9,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. One in ten people will die and at least a third of survivors will be left with lifelong after effects, such as hearing loss, epilepsy, limb loss or learning difficulties. Puddings are sold in cases of 12 at a cost of £10 per pudding and make not only a tasty centrepiece for a festive feast, but a gift that really does make a difference. To find out more visit rotaryxmaspuddings.co.uk
HEAD OUT ON THE HIGHWAY
ssential renovations are taking place at Ireland’s largest paediatrics hospital in time for Christmas thanks to the efforts of Rotary clubs across Ireland and one member’s epic road trip. Daniel O’Reilly, from Monaghan Rotary Club has taken on the journey of a lifetime, as he was joined by three other intrepid explorers and took on The Arctic Challenge, a 2,000-mile journey from Norway to the Arctic Circle, but the team completed the trip on 40-year-old Honda mopeds. The Challenge was part of Monaghan Rotary Club’s ‘Be A Gift To Crumlin’ campaign, which has almost reached its €65,000 target to completely renovate the Parents Accommodation Unit at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin in Dublin. The improved bedroom unit, which relies entirely on donations, will offer hot meals
and overnight facilities for parents, guardians and families of children suffering from lifethreatening diseases and illness. “We were keen to do something positive for the community and those going through difficult times,” Daniel explained. “Our motto was ‘this journey is the destination’. We pushed the bikes to their absolute limits climbing hills and mountains that most cars would struggle with. “We had a few very scary moments and despite some stress the team are all still speaking! It was all worth it when we finally arrived in the Arctic.” As many as 25 different clubs across Ireland have raised funds for the campaign, and the club has also secured sponsors for important fire and noise proof doors at the facility, which will be fitted thanks to a team of Rotary community carpenters.
CAN YOU SPOT SHAKESPEARE?
he inaugural Shakespeare Duck Race organised by Stratford-upon-Avon Rotary Club’s Evening Group has helped ensure a local hospice can continue to provide vital services for children and young people in the area. The Shakespeare Hospice, named after world famous playwright who was born in the town, offers support for a range of issues for young people, including bereavement, assistance for young carers as well as those suffering from terminal illnesses. A thousand ducks were let loose at Lucy’s Mill Weir on the River Avon, with members the local community helping to raise over
£3,000. Local businesses also got involved and received specially designed ducks to reflect their company, pitting hairdresser, builder and nurses’ ducks head to head. There was even a duck dressed as the Bard himself. Despite the drizzle, nice weather for ducks you might say, spectators turned out in force to cheer the ducks to the finish line. Club member and project organiser, John Rees commented, “We wanted to create a fun event we could build on over the coming years. We were delighted with how the day went, despite the rain, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the people of Stratford who embraced the spirit of the race.”
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NEWS IN BRIEF JOINING FORCES IN GUERNSEY Eighteen local community projects and charities in Guernsey have received a boost of support thanks to a record-breaking year in the Saffery Rotary Walk, organised by the island’s two Rotary clubs. Over £57,000 was raised by the 39-mile walk’s 650 participants, which will benefit causes including Mencap and GSF Mental Health Fellowship.
SHROPSHIRE GARDEN’S NEW LEASE OF LIFE A memorial garden in Shawbury, Shropshire has been given a new lease of life, thanks to Shrewsbury Seven Rotary Club. An army of volunteers from the club have put in over 150 man hours to restore the garden which the club originally built more than 20 years ago. The garden looks resplendent for visitors to enjoy with new turf, borders and gravel.
SHINING BRIGHT IN WORCESTER Rotary clubs give local causes the platforms to shine and that was the case in Worcester recently as Worcester Rotary Club created a bazaar for 15 local charities to engage with the public and promote their good causes. The rental space was funded by the club, allowing charities to attend free of charge, as Rotary volunteers also provided guests with a hot cuppa and bite to eat.
ON YOUR BLOOD BIKE Two state-of-the-art blood bikes will hit the roads of Cumbria and Lancashire thanks to the fundraising efforts of Whitehaven Castle Rotary Club. Blood bikes are a life-saving emergency service transporting blood and medical supplies to hospitals out of hours. Club Secretary, Elly Day, commented, “This charity, run completely by motorbike enthusiast volunteers, is becoming increasingly important, especially in our rural areas.”
CONQUERING THE CHALLENGE Kevin Mosley of Newbury Rotary Club went the extra miles to support two causes close to his heart after completing a Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride. Kevin covered 972 miles and raised over £3,500 for Coram Life Education Thames Valley and The Alzheimer’s Society, the latter in memory of his late father, who passed away just eight weeks before the challenge began.
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MAKING A SPLASH
orty-eight rafts took to the waters of the River Dart to take part in this year’s River Dart Struggle, hosted by the Totnes Rotary Club. The 10-mile course, which includes a host of precarious weirs, drops and obstacles proved a tricky test for the teams, who put their inventive and exciting raft creations to the test. The teams, made up of between two and ten plucky and intrepid racers, helped raise a total of over £10,000 for the club’s nominated charities whilst bringing the community
together for a day of fun and excitement. Prizes were awarded not only for the quickest teams, but also for the best dressed raft, which included a team of World War Two soldiers in a Spitfire inspired raft, a team of ‘Cool Runnings’ style Jamaican bobsledders and even some monks and nuns. Falmouth Rotary Club also took part in its ‘Shelterboat’, put together almost entirely from used ShelterBoxes, but unfortunately the craft sprung Titanic-like leaks and had to be withdrawn after completing almost the entire course.
DON’T THROW THOSE TOOLS AWAY!
t is often said that one person’s rubbish is another person’s treasure and that has proved to be the case at Ilkley Wharfedale Rotary Club’s annual recycling day. The club collected hundreds of unwanted items from members of the public and as club member Marten Koopmans explains, the donations make a huge difference, “All these items will be refurbished and put back into use. The people who donated this unwanted equipment can be very pleased that it will be used to change people’s lives in the third world – giving people sight, mobility or employment.” The collection consisted of a variety of items that will be collected by a series of charities for refurbishment and redistribution to those who need it most.
This included a huge amount of tools, sewing machines and other workshop equipment which will be delivered to WORKAID, a charity which helps over 8,000 people a year in developing countries break their cycle of poverty. Donations are bundled into kits and distributed to Africa, where carpenters, builders, dressmakers and more are able to earn a living by setting up their own business. Over 100 bicycles were also collected, which will be used for a project by the Margaret Carey Foundation which has a number of bicycle workshops based in prisons. Prisoners refurbish the bicycles, meaning their time is used productively to develop new skills and give something back to society.
CHICHESTER PRIORY SPOTS YASMIN’S TALENT EARLY
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unior skier Yasmin Cooper has just returned from the training trip of a lifetime after receiving years of support from Chichester Priory Rotary Club. Yasmin’s talents were first recognised back in 2010 when she was a winner of an award and bursary, jointly sponsored by the club, at the Young Sports Achievement Awards in West Sussex. Yasmin has used the bursary to help fund her training and equipment costs, which have certainly paid dividends after winning no fewer than eight medals at the National Junior Championship in France earlier this year. The Winter Olympic hopeful has just returned from Chile, where she was able to experience some of the best training conditions of her career to date. Yasmin was also competing in Chilean National Championships and the South American Cup where she clocked up five personal best times in 11 races across three different disciplines: Downhill, Alpine combined and Super G. Yasmin commented, “The club has followed my progress since giving me the award and has helped provide me with amazing support for my recent training trip to Chile and my upcoming season.” Rotary clubs have a long tradition of unlocking the potential in young people, including in a variety of sporting disciplines with many athletes reaching the pinnacles of their sport thanks to Rotary clubs’ support.
ATTENBOROUGH’S SEAL OF APPROVAL
Sir David Attenborough, one of the country’s most beloved broadcasters and naturalists, was on hand to cut the ribbon on the Rotary Club of Leicester’s huge community fundraising project. The club has raised a staggering £170,000 for a new visitor centre, which was unveiled in Bradgate Park, one of the county’s most popular public spaces, and looks at the rich natural and geological history of the area, dating back over 4.5 billion years. The centre is expected to attract half a million visitors per year, giving young and old the chance to be educated and inspired by what nature and the great outdoors has to offer. As you would expect, Sir David, who had many memorable visits to the park as a child, was delighted at the park’s new addition, “The park is surrounded by the city and villages and has remained wild and wonderful and it's a place I came to often as a boy. It can only remain as such if people living in the city, towns and villages continue to treat it as the precious resource it is. “We can only learn so much by observation, and a place like the visitor centre is vital to fill in the gaps, with information about the plants and wildlife that live here.”
Sir David’s association with the club goes way beyond when he initially launched the fundraising campaign two years ago, as his father was once a president of the club, which opened the centre as part of their celebration of serving the community for 100 years. The club’s current President David Brunton was extremely grateful for Sir David’s support, “We were delighted to have Sir David there at the start of the appeal, and when we asked if he would come back when it was completed, he said he would if he was invited - so we did. "The Rotary Club of Leicester has a long association with Bradgate Park and we are delighted to have built on that relationship by providing the new visitor centre to celebrate our centenary.”
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IT'S GONE VIRAL What is being watched, posted, liked, shared and tweeted around World Polio Day in the world of social media.
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An inspirational story
Celebrity supporters A number of celebrities were showing their support for World Polio Day across social media, including actress Heidi Klum. She shared a picture from her trip to India on her Instagram account, spreading the word and racking up over 34,000 likes!
360 degree journey to end polio now What is it like to be a child living with polio? Unicef UK Ambassador Ewan McGregor introduces us to nine-year-old Job, who contracted polio as a baby. Dive into the first of Unicef’s stunning 360 degree, interactive videos, released specially for World Polio Day, and see for yourself. Visit the Unicef UK YouTube channel at bit.ly/Polio360 to join Job on his journey.
“Polio changed the way I walk, but not what I can be.” World Polio Day produces countless inspirational stories, but few come close to Dennis Ogbe’s. He shared his experiences of polio and how he worked to regain the strength to walk again after his paralysis on the @USParalympics Twitter page. Dennis has become a national champion and Paralympian and also joined in Rotary’s Livestream event in Atlanta.
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Streaming to the world One of the highlights of World Polio Day was the live stream event in Atlanta, which this year saw the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention join Rotary International’s global event. Almost 100,000 people tuned in to hear from inspirational speakers the latest updates on the fight against the disease. Head to Rotary International’s Facebook page to relive the momentous event or visit bit.ly/WorldPolioDayLive.
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Immunising Ivory Coast World Polio Day is a great chance to catch up with the ongoing efforts to eradicate the disease around the world. Watch for yourself how Rotary and partners are keeping the disease at bay in the Ivory Coast by visiting the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Facebook page or heading to bit.ly/ImmunisingIvoryCoast.
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Twitter users will have received an education in polio thanks to @Gavi throughout World Polio Day using #poliofacts. Search for #poliofacts to join other Twitter users and discover the huge impact vaccination programmes are having all over the world. Check them out for yourself!
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This issue features interviews with two Rotary Peace Fellows, we talk to two of Team GB's heroes from the Rio and Olympic and Paralympic Gam...