INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Paralympian Steve Brown 06 One Drop 16 Peace Fellows 20 UNHCR 26 February/March 2016 www.rotarygbi.org ÂŁ2.95 The magazine of Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland
6 FACING THE F LOODS
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FROM THE TOP
Rotary International President K.R Ravindran in Seoul
Rotary’s support for flood victims in their time of need
MEET & GREET
A view from a dynamic new Rotarian
Be the next to join
IT’S GONE VIRAL
Catching up with the latest news from clubs around Great Britain and Ireland
What’s trending on social media?
ROTARY ONLINE rotarygbi.org or follow us on Facebook: /RotaryinGBI Twitter: @RotaryGBI LinkedIn: Rotary International in Great Britain & Ireland
CONTENTS Facing the floods
One Drop Peace Fellows UN High Commissioner for Refugees ROTARY IN ACTION
Paralympian Steve Brown Rotary Day Travel to Bournemouth Rotary Ride Bournemouth Conference
16 20 26
06 08 33 36 38
Nepal Water Project Rotary Around The World Literacy Box
24 28 45
Cover pic: Children enjoying a 'fireman's lift' in the centre of Carlisle ©Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd
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Talk from the top... ROTARY INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT 2015/16 I KR RAVINDRAN
Shine bright in Seoul When you travel for Rotary, you travel with a different sense of perspective and a different sense of purpose. There is an awareness of being part of something larger than yourself.
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n life, sometimes the experiences that matter the most are the briefest. They pass in the blink of an eye: a few days, a few hours, a few moments. They are the experiences that illuminate the landscape of our memory, shining brightly even years later. They are the moments in which we see, suddenly, something we had not seen; we understand something we had not understood; we forge a connection we had not expected. For me, this has been a Rotary year like no other. I have been around the world, traversing countries and continents. I have been to places I had never seen before, and I have returned to familiar places and seen them, as for the first time, through the lens of Rotary. When you travel for Rotary, you travel with a different sense of perspective and a different sense of purpose. There is an awareness of being part of something larger than yourself. When you board a plane or a train, or leave your home in the dark hours of early morning, you may be leaving for lands unknown – but at your destination, there will be no strangers. There will be Rotarians, waiting and welcoming. There will be work to do, something to learn, and perhaps something to teach. There will be connections to forge, friendships to build, and memories to carry for a lifetime. This year, I have been the traveller, and Rotarians have welcomed me around the world. A few months from now, from
28 May to 1 June, I invite you to step into my experience: allow me to welcome you to Seoul for our 107th International Convention. The Koreans have a saying: 로 보내.................................. In English we would say: “When a person is born, send them to Seoul.” For Seoul is a city of opportunities: a wonderful destination with rich traditions, modern conveniences, and a culture unlike any other. But I ask you to join me in Seoul not only for all of this, but also for the experiences you will have there with your fellow Rotarians. For a brief moment in time, you will experience Rotary as I have experienced it: in all its diversity, all its warmth, and all its potential. You will be greeted as an old friend by people you have never met; you will share your thoughts, even without a shared language. You will learn with wonder of what Rotary has achieved, and leave inspired to achieve even more. Before this Rotary year comes to its close, I ask you to do what I have done: to leave your homes, to board your flights, to travel toward the unknown with an open heart and an open mind, confident that Rotary will welcome you. Join me, and your fellow Rotarians, as we Connect with Korea – Touch the World.
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ROTARY IN ACTION
Pitch to Podium! After falling from a balcony, and being left unable to walk, Steve Brown discovered a passion that led him to the 2012 Paralympics. He will be sharing his story at Rotary’s conference and in this edition we found out how sport motivated him on the road to recovery.
en years ago Steve Brown experienced a spinal cord injury after breaking his neck following an accident at the age of 24, leading him to undergo a series of lifesaving operations and months of recovery in hospital. Although he survived the extensive surgery, Steve was left paralysed from the neck down. During this time his physiotherapist introduced him to Wheelchair Rugby, and when he was discharged from hospital he signed up to the London Wheelchair Rugby Club. After years of hard work, determination and sacrifice he set his sights on the Paralympics and he went on to lead the ‘Parade of the Heroes’ through London, representing all the athletes working towards London 2012. His training continued and so did his drive to improve as an athlete and as a leader, and the reward for all the pain, sweat and tears was the pinnacle of any British athletes’ career this generation, captaincy at the London 2012 games. Steve explains: “During my rehabilitation in 2005 I was introduced to wheelchair rugby and it was something I’d never even heard of before, but it really helped me build my
Steve Brown playing Wheelchair Rugby - © Photographer, Andrew Crowley
In 2012 the Paralympics served as a real inspiration for many around Great Britain and Ireland, for my sport people either didn’t know of wheelchair rugby or they were too nervous to join in.” strength back up. Also, it really helped me to be part of a team and I was incredibly proud to be able to lead us to the Paralympics.” Steve went on to discuss how, after suffering from an accident, anything can provide a form of rehabilitation and skills from one interest can be transferred to help your development: “If you enjoy something enough it can really help to assist you to get back on track. Sport was always my passion and after my accident the hospital encouraged me to practice table tennis, and it really helped with my balance and was a skill that helped me get on with day to day tasks.” Since the London games in 2012, many sports have seen an increase in interest, and Steve told us: “Wheelchair Rugby has seen a 45% rise in people participating, and nine new clubs have been formed across the country. “In 2012 the Paralympics served as a real inspiration for many across the country, for my sport people either didn’t know of
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Wheelchair Rugby or they were too nervous to join in. The games helped people overcome their fears, and it makes me really proud that I could be involved in a force that has done so much good.” Steve went on to explain: “I never thought I’d compete in anything like it, and to be able to be involved in the biggest sporting event to take place every four years, and one that took place in my home town, was a fantastic achievement for me and never something I imagined would be possible.” Steve is taking to the stage at Rotary’s conference on Saturday at 9.30am to discuss the highs and lows following his injury, and how his injury has allowed him to achieve all that he has. His full story is something not to be missed.
For more information about Steve’s talk at the conference visit: rotarygbi.org stevebrowngb.com www.rotarygbi.org
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ROTARY IN ACTION
A day to remember! Tuesday February 23 is Rotary Day and marks the anniversary of when Rotary was first founded in 1905. Every year, Rotary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland join clubs overseas to mark the day. We take a look at how some will be celebrating.
n Cardiff city centre an ‘End Polio Now’ electronic billboard will be proudly displayed across Cardiff ’s Capitol Centre for the day, a premier shopping centre in the Welsh city, organised by the Rotary Club of Cardiff Bay. Situated on a bustling corner of the Welsh capital and adjacent to a bus station, the billboard will be visible from the busy streets nearby and will be a great method to raise awareness for polio eradication and the part Rotary is playing. The huge rolling advert will feature a young girl and polio sufferer, who has been forced to use crutches, along with the Rotary logo and information about how members of the public can donate. The picture will portray this terrible disease and the young girl’s smile perfectly captures the world’s spirit and commitment to continue fighting to eradicate polio from the world. Meanwhile in Gerrards Cross the Rotary Club of Misbourne Matins will be coming together to hold the longest Rotary meeting to mark the occasion. The meeting, which will start at 6am and run until midnight, will be held in aid of End Polio Now and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. If a long meeting sounds a bit of a slog the Rotary club members want to make it anything but. The day will be made up of a number of different sessions and will feature talks from a range of speakers including the Executive Director of the British Youth Opera, David Balcombe, prospective triathlete Paralympian Andy Lewis from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire talking about his hopes for Rio 2016, and Chairman of Rotary International Global Polio Eradication Advocacy, Judith Diment who will be giving an insight into the progress made in polio eradication. Finally, new for this year, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland has launched an International Man and Woman of the Year award, which will be presented to someone who has led and inspired others by giving outstanding humanitarian international service.
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An electronic billboard will be proudly displayed across Cardiff’s Capitol Centre
The young girl’s smile perfectly captures the world’s spirit and commitment to continue fighting to eradicate polio from the world.” The winner will be announced on Rotary Day and the presentations will be made at Rotary’s Conference in Bournemouth in April. We have outlined just a snapshot of what we know Rotary clubs around Great Britain and Ireland will be getting up to on this year’s Rotary Day. Share your Rotary Day events on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #RotaryDay2016 and let the world know how you are celebrating.
For more information visit: rotarygbi.org
he first Rotary meeting was • Theld between three business
acquaintances in downtown Chicago on Rotary Day in 1905
ince then Rotary has gained • Sover 1.2 million members belonging to 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas
ROTARY IN ACTION
Support floods in
Support floods in When storms hit at the end of last year the rain and winds battered homes and businesses in the north of England and Scotland causing devastation. We report on how Rotarians and volunteers across the country took part in a wide scale rescue, support and clean up mission.
n the run up to the festive season last year rains and winds of up to 70mph hit the North on a massive scale, with rivers bursting their banks, water levels reaching record heights, flood barriers breached and thousands of homes being flooded and left without electricity. Homes were unliveable and businesses destroyed as rainfall hit a record high with flood defences unable to offer sufficient protection. Over 5,000 homes suffered from water damage, leaving many homeless for Christmas Day and food shops in the area recording major stock damage. To help families affected by the floods the government announced £50 million funding for those across Cumbria and Lancashire, with each family being able to claim up to £5,000 from their local authority as a contribution towards their losses. Once the scale of the events was realised a relief fund was set up by the local Rotary clubs in the areas affected to help with the rehabilitation in the community. Rotarians and local people made donations to help assist with flood relief and Rotary set up a nationwide Donations Trust to help with the long-term community reconstruction. It is not just donations that Rotary has provided. Rotarians across the country have put in countless man-hours helping to clean premises that have been damaged, as well as providing clothing and shelter – with some travelling miles across the country to lend a hand. Wendy Aldred, representing clubs in North East Cumbria, watched the floods on television as she was visiting the Midlands and immediately saw fellow Rotarians spring into action, with calls of “what can we do to help?” An online meeting of Rotarians
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Mops at the ready
in the area was held to assess the damage, identify what was required and learn what clubs were doing. She explains: “In the Carlisle area, where I live, four clubs worked together to support the operation of the Joint Agency Emergency Evacuation Centre and then the Distribution Centres. The Distribution Centres were donated items including clothes, food, cleaning products, toys, bedding, toiletries and household items. “Working with a team of volunteers from many organisations, a whole range of emotions was present. Hearing the stories of those asking for donated items, people with nothing, uninsurable houses, rented properties with no contents insurance, and people embarrassed to be asking for this kind of help, was so sad to hear.” It isn’t the first time the areas have been hit by floods, with storms taking hold in 2005 and 2009, but the floods last year have been more widespread and damaging with Cumbria being worst hit. Wendy continued: “North Cumbria has been through this twice before so some areas were able to react very quickly with previously agreed joint agency approaches supporting the flood relief efforts, then moving onto the recovery stage. Whilst www.rotarygbi.org
©Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd Round the clock rescue operation in Carlisle
lessons can always be learnt the approaches on the whole worked. What was very different in 2015 was the use of social media, a very useful tool in getting messages out.” One Rotarian who has been affected by the floods both in 2005 and again recently was Belinda Artingstoll of the Rotary Club of Carlisle Castle, who after the floods 10 years ago thought she would be safe. She told us: “After the flood defences were built in 2005 the last thing I was expecting was to get an automated severe flood warning message on my phone on the night of 5th December. Even then I really didn’t think it would happen to us again. “Despite that I did take what I thought of as sensible precautions and moved my car to another street and moved as many of my belongings upstairs as possible. My car only just escaped, the street it was in flooded at one end but luckily my car was at the other.” Belinda was away in 2005 and had not experienced the floods first hand, she went on to explain: “I managed to stay calm throughout, the power went off mid morning on the 6th December, and up until that point I was still online getting support www.rotarygbi.org
Hearing the stories of those asking for donated items, and people embarrassed to be asking for this kind of help, was so sad.” of fellow Rotarians and friends. “At 4pm we left our home by boat, as we didn’t fancy spending the night without food, heat and a working toilet. The emergency services were amazing throughout, the mountain rescue team who brought me out were very funny and joked: “Just because it looks like Venice, don’t think we’re going to be singing like they do on the gondolas.” There was a great sense of local spirit.” Since the floods, Belinda has been inundated with support from Rotarians, with two allowing her to stay with them while waiting for temporary accommodation. Others have offered storage space, spare furniture and gifts of baked
goods to lift her spirits. She comments: “In 2005 I wasn’t a Rotarian, but this time it has provided me with a real boost. It’s not just Rotarians who have been fantastic but also acts of kindness like the church ladies standing in the freezing cold to serve us hot drinks, the Muslim guys from Lancashire who came to help, and the young farmers who put out sandbags.” She concluded: “I expect to be out of my house for up to a year but again, having been flooded before, I know what to expect and that does make it easier. Of course there will be frustrations along the way but there are people a lot worse off than me and so I am always looking for the silver lining.” Over in Kendal, the River Kent has a reputation of rising very quickly when there is significant rain in the hills, but usually the fields to the north of the town carry the overflow water. An online riverside camera showed that the levels were rising to a dangerous height and soon the flood warnings were issued. The waters began to hit the town like a tidal wave, with residents given very little time to evacuate and in total 2,700 ROTARY // 11
ROTARY IN ACTION
Support floods in
© Picture-Jonathan Gawthorpe
Eight-year-old James Spencer helps clear up the flood damage in Tadcaster
xxxproperties were swamped with water. The worst flood previously on record in the town was 1898, but this was exceeded by 75cm in December 2015. As with many communities, there was a magnificent support effort. Members of the Rotary Club of Kendal attended the flood relief centres and assisted where possible. The two clubs, Kendal and Kendal South Westmorland, went out on the streets to collect and took £7,000 in one day followed by many more generous donations. Tim Keegan, of the Rotary Club of Kendal, commented: “In total we raised over £17,000. The bulk of this was passed to Cumbria’s Community Foundation, mostly ring-fenced for Kendal and the immediate area. Kendal may have appeared in the media with Appleby, Carlisle, Cockermouth and Glenridding, but we must not forget the smaller communities near us, which were badly affected. “We were also able to give to the Kendal Food Bank. They were blessed with great generosity from Kendalians and further afield. People were amazingly generous and many told us that they trusted Rotary to make sure the money they were giving was being well used.” 12 // ROTARY
People were amazingly generous and many told us that they trusted Rotary to make sure the money they were giving was being well used.” Arthur Jones, responsible for clubs in the Lancashire and Cumbria area, knows only too well how devastating the damage can be and how Rotary once again has played a significant role in support for those hit. Arthur commented: “The relief work is a multi-agency approach with Rotary playing an important role of providing man power to help run reception centres and distribution centres in the affected areas. We have two Rotary Resilience Officers in our district, one per county, and I thank them for their hard work in liaising with other agencies to achieve an effective working relationship and to ensure appropriate responses. “I would also wish to say a huge thank you to all clubs in the local area for their immediate offers to help and the response from across the country is amazing and
shows why Rotary is so effective offering a true example of ‘Service Above Self ’.” The rain and winds in northern England and Scotland persisted well after the holiday period and more cities and towns were flooded, including Yorkshire with the city of York and the Calder Valley succumbed to extensive flooding. Rotarians once again were out and about helping the emergency services and were very much ‘hands on’. The Rotary clubs covering the area have raised over £20,000, which will be match funded by the government and used for longer term projects helping communities in York and the Calder Valley get back on their feet. One aspect of the relief effort that locals found encouraging was the help from the Muslim communities in Leeds, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent who travelled to bring soup and food to those who suffered and the aid workers. They also offered a much needed and welcome helping hand in cleaning up. Rotarians are renowned for their can do attitude, reacting to disasters and tragic events all over the world, not only with donations of money but also on the ground help. When disaster hits closer to home the Rotary action is just as effective with Rotarians taking action for their community.
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What they say... ROTARY PRESIDENT 2015/16 I PETER DAVEY
We care enough to help
one of us like to see people suffer heartbreak, but the emotion is stirred even more when this happens at a time when most of us are in celebration. The dreadful floods that hit families, businesses and communities in December were such an event. Seeing family homes ruined with soaked possessions out on the streets, over the holiday period, was particularly harsh. We are lucky to have our emergency services to help make us safe and to react at the initial event and as circumstances changed and developed. We also have established insurance companies and other agencies to help with the financial aftermath. As usual local people, whether in organisations or just acting as individuals, rallied round and helped their neighbours as much as they could and a real sense of community always surfaces in such situations and we are all grateful for it. I was particularly proud to see
so many local Rotarians among the groups doing their utmost to help. Those of us not in the immediate neighbourhoods of such disasters feel that we want to help too and are always keen to provide funds by contributing generously to the appeals set up, meaning the local sense of community reaches much wider. We all feel the hurt and the need to help our neighbours, local and distant, in whatever way we can. At these times the value of community is brought sharply into focus, it is there all the time but we may not notice or value it when all is well – we might take it for granted. Like any other organism, our community needs constant nurturing and support, it needs to be appreciated, and it needs to be kept topped up. Our community needs people who care enough to see what we could collectively do to make things better, care enough to join in, to play our part, to just not leave it to others. When we have an idea for something
that could be done it is easy to say “they should”, whoever ‘they’ are but we can all do something and we can all contribute our skills and a little time to help develop an idea or a solution. Understanding the sheer enjoyment that comes from being part of a team caring enough to want to help a community somewhere and having the ideas to find solutions and the energy to implement them is the driver for many Rotarians. There is nothing quite like being part of such a team. I am glad that I became a part of this great community. I am firmly of the belief that we Rotarians should be eager to build communities of the future by giving more people the opportunity to share that enjoyment. If, dear reader, you are a true Rotarian why not share the opportunity now, if you are not a Rotarian please take a look at rotarygbi.org. You won’t be disappointed.
©Cumbrian Newspapers Ltd
Floods in Cumbria
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WHAT THEY SAY
The Big Interview ALLAN BERRY
Cirque du Soleil walks on water We wanted to look at a truly innovative way of helping people out of poverty with water and we found it when I spoke with the CEO of One Drop.
combination of access to safe water and hygienic sanitation is a prerequisite for success in the fight against poverty and hunger. It allows young people to be educated, communities to be sustainable in growing their own crops and food, results in better health thus reducing maternal and child mortality, as well as a myriad of diseases. I spoke to an organisation that takes a different approach to getting safe water to communities and people. One Drop is an international non-profit organisation created by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté in 2007. Its mission statement says ‘At the core of our mission is water as a transformative force to improve living conditions, as well as give communities the ability to care for themselves and their families, sustainably.’ Bearing this in mind I discussed this with Catherine Bachand its CEO, Catherine has held several senior positions in the Canadian Government and in 2010 led the Transition Team to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from Vancouver 2010 to the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC). She has negotiated several multilateral legacy agreements with the International Olympic Committee, the City of Vancouver, the Canadian Olympic Foundation and the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC). In 2011 she joined One Drop and became its CEO in 2012. I started by asking Catherine what had made her join One Drop and the answer I found quite amusing: “I’ve spent my whole life in water, and on water, I’ve been a 16 // ROTARY
If it were just an engineering challenge then the problem would have been solved years ago.”
lifeguard and I am an advanced scuba diver, so I’ve always had a close relationship with water. In my portfolio you will see I’ve spent time in federal politics concerning issues transboundary with water and then when I went to the Vancouver games, as chief of staff, many issues concerned water. When the games were over the founder of Cirque du Soleil and One Drop, Guy Laliberté, approached me to create a very unusual Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO). “He wanted it to be entrepreneurial, to be managed like a business and to take the same actions in reinventing One Drop as he had done with Cirque du Soleil in reinventing circus. He wanted us to figure out where we could add value for the water sector. So that is how we restructured and I would call it the new One Drop. Although the organisation was created in 2007 we relaunched in 2012 since I took over in 2011 to do fundraising.” I then went on to talk to Catherine about the reasons behind setting the organisation up in the first place. What was Guy’s objective? Catherine told me: “For Guy, choosing water was the most powerful agent of change that there is globally and the most effective way for entire countries to lift themselves out of poverty. Until they have access to water and sanitation it is
hard to do anything else.” The impression that One Drop’s website gives is that they operate in just a few countries so I asked Catherine about that and was somewhat taken aback when she reeled off a long list of countries but went into a little more detail such as: “We have projects in various phases of development such as implementation, consolidation and monitoring of the results. We monitor the success of a project over a period of 10 years.” That is impressive by any standards and Catherine went on: “If you look at the projects we have they are in Nicaragua, Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Mali and India and all are in the various stages but the big challenge is sustainability of the infrastructure. We know that with various organisations, the infrastructure fails in possibly up to 75% of cases within 12 months. If it were just an engineering challenge then the problem would have been solved years ago. To ensure sustainability we have to deliver these programmes in accordance with local cultures, traditions and needs. This is where I think One Drop delivers something unique to the sector. I think we are the only NGO that focuses on social arts to transform the knowledge, behaviour and attitude in relation to water.” One Drop uses an easy formula for sustainability ABC: A: Access, B: Behaviour, and C: Capital and when they come together it makes a project viable and sustainable. Since this sounded so different to me, and as Catherine says it is unique, I asked her to expand. What she came up with www.rotarygbi.org
ÂŠPictures courtesy of One Drop
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zzzwas certainly different: “Wherever we are working we do what we call a ‘Cultural Diagnostic’. We are going to try and really understand between 100 and 200 determinants in addition to what other organisations call ‘the wash base line’. We look at local culture, practices, religion, taboos, literacy and the way they structure their daily life as a community and how they conceive water as a resource and based on that we will identify the key behaviours that are problematic and then we identify the best social arts tool to address the issues. For example theatre is a great tool.” Now this approach to me was quite different from anything I have heard before but Catherine went on to give me an example: “We can address taboo subjects that other NGO’s cannot address so through theatre we inspire people to change, we address the whole community from young to old, literate and illiterate, we bring the community together to watch the play and then have a discussion and a structure behind this.” Catherine went on to tell me about a Bollywood film they had released in India with the underlying message of water to explore safe water and sanitation issues: “To make those 18 // ROTARY
We can address taboo subjects that other NGO’s cannot address so through theatre we inspire people to change.” behaviours aspirational, we do use music and puppetry, TV shows, radio shows and an endless array of mediums to get our message across. We inspire change.” We talked about sanitation concerning young females and Catherine explained: “These are complex issues to explain but we can do it visually and consider it important to keep young girls in school and being educated with access to good sanitation.” These are all good reasons for the UN to award One Drop the UN-Water ‘Best Practices Award’ for their project in Odisha, India. As always, I asked Catherine how Rotarians have helped and she explained they have a very good connection within Rotary through the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group (WASRAG). The group has helped on various projects where One Drop has identified a need
and WASRAG has helped implement the project through clubs and supported with Global Grants from The Rotary Foundation. One large project they are working on now is in Mali supplying safe water to over 50,000 people. Whilst talking with Catherine she told me that Rotary clubs across Nevada and California held an event called One Night for One Drop and I’ve heard rumblings about this being repeated in Paris and in other large cities across the world, for instance in Seoul for the 2016 Rotary Convention. I must admit to finding talking with Catherine Bachand fascinating and enthusing but more than that I found out WASRAG was there helping in a big way. Now that is encouraging with Rotarians helping to lift large numbers out of poverty. I was impressed.
For more information visit: onedrop.org/en wasrag.org onenight.onedrop.org/en www.rotarygbi.org
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WHAT THEY SAY
The Big Interview ALLAN BERRY
The Rotary Foundation brokering peace Rotary International has been running the Peace Fellows programme for almost 10 years. I spoke with two fellows from Great Britain and Ireland to find out how they benefited.
Dr Erinma Bell MBE
t is quite an accolade when The Rotary Foundation is recognised on the Forbes list of the top 50 US charities. Forbes takes into account several factors when assessing a charity and the main one is private donations. Private donors wish to know that their donations are used effectively and The Rotary Foundation concentrates and spends money in the six areas of focus. One of those areas is Peace and Conflict Resolution. Every year The Rotary Foundation selects 100 young people from around the world and funds academic fellowships, which cover tuition fees, accommodation, travel, internships and field studies, or scholarships at selected peace centres. To date Rotary Peace centres, of which there are five, have trained over 900 fellows for careers in Peace and Conflict Resolution. To get a perspective on what a Peace Fellow does and how being a Rotary Peace Fellow has helped change lives I chose to track a few down from the UK and Ireland and get the information first hand. This seems a very simple task but from the nature of their work it proved a bit of a challenge. Eventually I did catch up with a couple and managed to spend some time talking with them about their personal journeys as Rotary Peace Fellows.
Dr Erinma Bell MBE
For more information visit:
•chrysalisfamilycentre.wordpress.com • actionaid.org • stratagemint.com/index.php •rotary.org 20 // ROTARY
I spoke first with Dr Erinma Bell who was selected for the class of 2010 after being sponsored by the Rotary Club of Manchester Breakfast. Erinma is based in Manchester and had set up and was running an organisation dealing with gun and knife crime in Moss Side, Manchester. Erinma explained: “I’m a community activist and I had set up an award ceremony in the community called the OSBAs (Outstanding Social Behaviour Awards). I
The Peace Fellowship course helped me to put into context what the model is of the work that we do.” was told, who are we to give out awards and I answered: “We are who we are, if it gets the kids off the streets by being awarded, it helps.” I wanted sponsors for the awards and was told Rotary has money and to go and ask them, so I did. It was then they told me about the Peace Fellows and asked me to apply.” However, Erinma was in for a shock since they told her the course was for three months at Chulalongkorn University: “I asked them where that was and was told it was in Bangkok, Thailand. I had to look it up on the map and found it was half way around the world.” Erinma told me it was a three-month professional development, certificate programme at the Peace Centre there. She went on to tell me about her time there: “Originally 27 of us should have been there but we arrived just at the end of riots in Bangkok, so some had dropped out leaving just 17 of us. At first I questioned myself as to what I was doing there as it seemed to be dealing with macro Peace and Conflict Resolution solving massive gun and crime challenges, but I then thought in my urban area ours was just as big, with four fatal shootings a week, so if we did not solve the problems then it had the potential to be huge. The Peace Fellowship course helped me to put into context what the model is of the work that we do.” When Erinma went on the course she was helping to run two organisations in Manchester, Chrysalis, which is still in operation, and Carisma, which was set up in www.rotarygbi.org
Rotary Peace fellows, 2015
Moss Side to combat gun and knife crime. Carisma has since been absorbed into the main organisation, Chrysalis. I found Erinma a pleasure to speak with, her enthusiasm was infectious and just talking with her would brighten anyone’s day and as she said: “I’m a doer” and that she certainly is.
I then went on to speak with Ryan Gawn from Northern Ireland, who is now working in Johannesburg. Ryan currently works for ActionAid and had popped back to Northern Ireland for the annual holidays, bringing his three month old son to meet the family. Ryan was one of the first groups of Peace Fellows and initially had a challenge, which to most people would seem somewhat daunting. He wanted to go to the Universidad del Salvador in Buenos Aires, so he had to bring his Spanish up to a level where he could understand the lectures. That’s why he took a year out working in Chile, first as a teaching assistant and then editing a newspaper in Santiago. Ryan wanted to be a Rotary Peace Fellow and was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bangor, and he spoke very highly of his mentor within the club. We went on to discuss the course and he replied: “There are several angles to respond to, it gave me a good intellectual foundation on conflict and that in itself is two pronged, the certification also opens doors for me when I say I have a Master’s Degree in IR (International
There is no way I would have been able to live and work in New York normally. It was a tremendous opportunity.” Relations), which is now essential. The course gave me many insights such as listening to a lecture on peace from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and hearing about the Falklands conflict from an Argentinian point of view. South America is an area of the world I am very fond of but does not get a lot of attention.” Whilst on the course time is taken out for an internship and Ryan says he was fortunate to be able to work in the Secretary General’s office at the UN in New York, and he worked with Kofi Annan on the reform of the United Nations. Ryan says: “To say what Rotary gave me, there is no way I would have been able to live and work in New York normally. It was a tremendous opportunity.” One of the important elements of Ryan’s year was getting his thesis published. His subject was ‘Transitional Justice and Truth’ drawing on experiences in South America, South Africa and Northern Ireland. Ryan says: “My work has been cited in several publications since and used in evidence in enquiries, had I not had that Rotary experience I would never have been published.” I went on to talk with Ryan about his
work with ActionAid and his consultancy company, Stratagem International. Ryan comments: “I’ve worked with the Foreign Office in Jalalabad, Afghanistan and Islamabad, Pakistan as a diplomat. I’ve been trying to spread my wings across corporate, government and charity and now I work with ActionAid as Head of International Communications. They are represented in 46 countries and I am responsible for the reputation, campaigns, policy work and how we communicate in all of those countries.” We briefly discussed Stratagem International, which is Ryan’s part time role and I was amazed at how he fits all this in. He has worked with his old boss consulting on Iraq and Syria and he has worked on the Northern Ireland peace accord. He worked with groups on the discussions in Geneva on Syria and is advising on the post Assad situation there. Ryan closed the interview by saying: “The Rotary Peace Fellowship has helped in two areas, conflict resolution and international affairs.” After speaking with these two people there is no doubt that a Rotary Peace Fellowship delivers and we have two excellent examples with one in a local community and the other on the international stage. Without the patronage of The Rotary Foundation these Peace Fellows would not have been able to do the work they have. It was a pleasure to speak with them and experience their passion and enthusiasm for what they do.
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One hundred year wait for water Fresh drinking water is something we often take for granted, as many of us have to walk just a few steps to get it. For the people of Maikot, Nepal they have been faced with a backbreaking two kilometre round trip to a well until Rotary stepped in to help.
ver 18 months ago the Rotary Club of Church and Oswaldtwistle took on a major project to help the local people of Maikot, Gorkha district in Nepal, by pledging to install a fresh water system in the village. Villagers had to travel over half a mile just to get fresh water, and the return journey meant they needed to make their way back up a steep hill in scorching temperatures carrying containers of water. George Blenkinship, the Club International Chairman made contact with the Rotary Club of Gorkha to consider ways to help, and the possibility of installing a water pump was identified. The President of the Gorkha club, who had been a pupil at the school in Maikot village, discussed the idea with the Nepal Government Water Supply Department and they were given the go-ahead. As part of the project George visited the village to see first-hand just how vital the need for the water system was and it soon became apparent how much of a difference this would make to the villagers’ lives. George commented: “The whole village turned out to see me when I arrived, they quickly realised that soon water would be brought straight into the village, instead of them facing long treks to collect it. They told me it was a practice that had been carried out by villagers for hundreds of years, and it really goes to show how much we take fresh water for granted.”
Villagers making the most of the new water system
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Carrying containers before the installation systems were installed in Maikot
The whole village turned out to see me when I arrived, they quickly realised that soon water would be brought straight into the village.” Plans were drawn up to build a water system and also to build toilets at Maikot School, which totalled £45,000, a sum that neither the local Rotary club nor the villagers had a chance of raising due to poverty in Nepal. George held meetings with the Hyndburn Rotary Clubs which included Great Harwood and Rishton and Accrington to see how they could raise money through fundraising and discussed the possibility of a Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation. Many local Rotary clubs pledged support and through a variety of events £20,000 was raised. Activities such as a grand “WATERWORKS” fundraiser at Ewood Park Football Stadium , Blackburn took place and was a huge success raising over £9,000. The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International then provided a Global Grant to make up the balance for the project, a total of £45,000.
Unfortunately, earlier last year the project experienced a major setback when the country suffered its devastating earthquakes. When the news hit, further funds were raised by local Rotary clubs to help provide immediate shelter to the villagers in Maikot. A total of 36 temporary classrooms were also built in the village’s Gorkha district allowing children to return to school within three months of the disaster. Work to complete the water system continued in August and fresh water is now being received into the village. The second part of their task is also underway as they have now set to work on building the school’s toilets. The villagers knew from George’s first visit that their lives would be transformed and they too are now fortunate enough to walk just a few steps to enjoy privileges they had long hoped for.
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WHAT THEY SAY
The Big Interview ALLAN BERRY
The refugee crisis in Jordan
Often they leave behind aunts, uncles and cousins and are in a state of great grief when they arrive.”
For more information visit: unhcr.org innovation.unhcr.org/labs/ 26 // ROTARY
ver the last weeks and months we have been bombarded with information concerning refugees fleeing war zones in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and some African countries, crossing into Europe from North Africa via Turkey to Greece. However, there is another humanitarian tragedy playing out in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) was set up in late 1950 to handle such crises as those in the Middle East. In this part of the world there are refugee camps in Jordan and Turkey but not Lebanon. I spoke with personnel from UNHCR and decided to focus on one aspect of the challenges that they face every day and that is the provision of safe water and sanitation. Jill Hass is from Ontario and is what is termed a Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Officer at Al Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan, reckoned to be the fourth largest city in the country and home to over 80,000 refugees mainly from Syria. There are three more camps in Jordan, Mrajeeb Al Fhood, Cyber City and Azraq. Quite a number of refugees, over 80% in fact, live in the urban areas of Jordan. Jill explained: “The sheer size of the Za’atari camp throws up several challenges and one of the top priorities is getting safe water to all of these people.” She went on: “We used to bring tanks of water into the camp and distribute it but now we have three artesian wells or aquafors and we pump water to public tanks throughout the camp. The refugees usually have to walk up to 50 metres to a stand pipe to obtain water for their daily use.” I have spoken with a number of people in the water and sanitation field for other articles and asked Jill what I thought
© UNHCR Media
We take a view of the refugee crisis in one country through the eyes of people on the ground working with UNHCR
UNHCR talking to refugees
was a straightforward question and that is how they get rid of the wastewater from the camp. She was surprised and said: “That one is a hard sell since people can’t wrap their heads around it. It would be irresponsible of us to deliver the water and then not collect the waste water as quickly as possible, which we do.” Jill also explained that there are what she called wash blocks throughout the camp. “The wash blocks house communal latrines, showers and laundry facilities and water supply is restricted to 15 litres per day. A family is rationed to 35 litres as the norm but in Ramadan this can rise to 50 litres.” The water being pumped into the camps is tested frequently to ensure it is safe and a water supply is now being connected so the refugees, almost always the women, will not have to fetch water from a standpipe each day. I went on to ask about the general living conditions since I had visions of row upon row of UNHCR tents and Jill told me that tents were being replaced with trailers without wheels as a more permanent dwelling. We then went on to discuss the general plight of the refugees. Jill informed me: “The Syrian people are very family orientated, but they are fleeing the bombs in their own country. They are not well off and some sell belongings such as their mother’s www.rotarygbi.org
© UNHCR Media © UNHCR Media Children play at a refugee camp in Jordan
wedding ring and jewellery to afford to make the trip to Jordan. Often they leave behind aunts, uncles and cousins and are in a state of great grief when they arrive.” We did go on to talk about the life expectancy of the camps and as Jill told me: “Many of the camps have existed for many years now and the life of a camp is usually around five years, but I can see these camps lasting between 30 and 40 years and they will probably be handed over to the government at some point.” One of the things I did not know but found out when looking into the working of UNHCR is that they have a division called ‘Innovations’ and I wondered why would they require an innovations section, so I asked Corrine Grey who is the Innovation Engagement Officer based in Geneva. Obviously the first question I asked was why would a refugee agency have an Innovation Officer. Corrine replied: “In 2013 it was decided that innovations was part of the response strategy and innovations is really a process. We focus on the end user to generate a solution and we generate solutions that really have them in mind and are designed to meet their needs - we keep ourselves in a place of constant adaptation. The role of the unit is to find things that are happening all over the world with our 8,000 workers so we can share the innovative work someone www.rotarygbi.org
New homes being built in Jordan refugee camp
might be doing somewhere in the world. We also work with academics and businesses as partners to help us innovate solutions to a problem.” The Innovation Labs have several segments, which are Emergency, Learn, Link, and Energy. In our discussion Corrine told me: “There are over 20 million refugees in the world at the moment and 55.9 million internally displaced people (IDP).” That’s a staggering number. As always when speaking with Jill and Corrine, and I also spoke with an aid worker called David in Ethiopia, I asked how Rotary could help. All are fulsome in their praise of the organisation and they recognised that
some members volunteer but donations were mentioned by all three of them. Jill Hass also mentioned UNICEF, who are the suppliers of materials and food aid. The final words come from a refugee and father of six, Mohammad Olayan in Za’atari who said: “When we first came we were living in a tent and there were no services. Now we have two caravans, and there is electricity and proper sanitation.” Mohammad said he was considering going back to Syria and went on: “We don't want to run away for the rest of our lives. Maybe it would be better to die quickly in Syria than the slow death we face here." l ROTARY // 27
Rotary around the world All over the world members are serving communities to help improve lives. We review just a few projects where Rotarians are making a difference across the globe.
The Rotary Club of Sakthi Mahalingapuram and Agarwal Eye Hospital have planned to screen all students in the Uthukuli and Vijayamangalam regions for defective vision and provide necessary treatment to those deserving. They started off with providing free spectacles to 44 students at elementary and high schools in Vijayamangalam, after recently conducting their first eye camp. The Sakthi Auto Component Limited has now evinced interest in conducting a series of eye camps by teaming up with the Rotary Club. Charter President of Rotary Club of Sakthi Mahalingapuram and Senior Vice-President of Sakthi Auto Component Limited, M. Mylsamy gave away the spectacles to students in the presence of Rotary Club president K.M. Natarajan, and Secretary U. Periyasamy. Headmistress of the high school Sumathi and Headmaster of elementary school Krishnamoorthy also took part.
The Rotary Club of Banjul recently handed over a science laboratory to the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE). Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Rotarian President Fatou Bah said it was an honour for her and her organisation to be part of another special occasion regarding the Rotary Science Laboratory. She comments: “We in Rotary believe that this project will go a long way in enhancing the education of our young people in science and technology, and thus promote the achievement of one of our government's laudable objectives in education that is, well educated cadre of students in the sciences.”
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Dictionaries for Third Graders Mt. Iron 2014
Guam’s five Rotary clubs continue to work hard to support the community through efforts to improve the island’s quality of life. Many of the projects have had a direct impact on the community. The Rotary Club of Guam donated concrete for 20 benches used by the Guam Transit patrons, while the Rotary Club of Tumon Bay renovated nine pavilions at Gov. Joseph Flores Park, in Ypao, replacing wooden roofs with concrete. “We renovated the Hagåtña tennis court restrooms and plan to refurbish the park area,” said Michelle Bordallo, President of the Rotary Club of Guam. “We have developed a summer programme for middle school aged kids in conjunction with the GCA Trades Academy to teach children how to use tools with the hope of imparting trades skills and the pride of creating something with their hands.”
Are book dictionaries outdated and useless in this era of computers, spell check and Wikipedia? Not according to teachers in the Quad Cities, whose third grade students will once again benefit this year from the Virginia Rotary Club’s Dictionary Project. The Rotary Club has been partnering for eight years to provide more than 2,500 dictionaries to local elementary schools in the Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert and Mountain Iron-Buhl school districts, along with Marquette School in Virginia. Rotary Club members had reached out to teachers in the area to see if dictionaries are still relevant, to which the answer was a resounding yes! While most schools have computers, teachers said there is still a need for the dictionaries to teach things like alphabetising, spelling, word definition and composition. l www.rotarygbi.org
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Meet & Greet
We speak with some of our new members to find out why they joined Rotary and hear some of their experiences. FACT FILE NAME: Andrea Lord AGE: 53 ROTARY CLUB: Towcester OCCUPATION: S elf employed web designer also covering social media, corporate branding and marketing support.
had been aware of Rotary as an organisation for many years. When I was at school I took part in an interschool debating competition run by the local Rotary club. However, I was not particularly aware of what Rotary did except raise money. Iwas looking for an organisation to join and I contacted my local Rotary club as I had tried the WI and other local groups but I did not feel that they were the right fit for me. I had no idea what to expect at my first meeting. However, I was delighted by the friendliness and welcome I received and enjoyed the conversation topics, wit and humour of the meeting. It was by going to several meetings that I really began to understand what my local Rotary club does for our local community. It is true that Rotary is a huge, international organisation and there is a great deal of information to be found on the internet. However, personally I am much more community based and seeing some of the projects that we work on locally and how these help the young, vulnerable and disadvantaged is what spurred me on to become a member. The highlight for me is actually being a Rotarian and the friendships and focus that it involves. I was proud to be part of the Last Night of the Proms event that we run annually, and recently we took out a group of Adult Carers for lunch and they had a thoroughly good time. It is through projects like these that I see the value of Rotary and the returns for investing time and energy into such projects. I can only speak from my personal experience, but I think we need to publicise to the world more about what we do. Communicating what each club does locally is important and should help to attract new members as well as promote social events. Personally I think people join Rotary because they are looking for a means of putting something back
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â€œRotary is just part of what I do, I probably do something for Rotary most days of the week, maybe for five minutes maybe for an hour.
into society. I will sometimes say to people they may be interested in Rotary and should attend a few meetings. I talk about what our club does in specific terms and mention the wider opportunities within Rotary International. Outside of Rotary, I love to spend time walking my dog and making the most of the fabulous countryside around where I live. I am a member of a local quiz group and a theatre going group as well as our local Am Dram club. I am an avid bookworm and enjoy cooking. Rotary is just part of what I do, I probably do something for Rotary most days of the week, maybe for five minutes or maybe an hour. Being a Rotarian is part of who you are and in my view your life is richer for including Rotary activities in it. To sum my experience up in a few words it would be wellbeing, friendship and reward. l
To find a club near you visit: rotarygbi.org/club-finder www.rotarygbi.org
ROTARY IN ACTION
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ROTARY IN ACTION
Travel to Bournemouth
Bournemouth has four Blue Flag beaches
Rotary likes to be beside the seaside To many Bournemouth conjures up fond memories of childhood holidays and long summer days spent on the beach. As Rotary’s conference is heading to Bournemouth this year we discover what the town has to offer.
otary International in Great Britain and Ireland’s conference has a jam-packed offering of informative sessions and interesting speakers. If you’re planning to make more of your visit there is also plenty on offer in Bournemouth, voted the best coastal resort in 2014. Bournemouth has a wealth of activities for those interested in arts and culture, and the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum is the ideal spot to enjoy an afternoon. Built by Merton Russell-Cotes as an extravagant birthday gift for his wife, Annie, it celebrates the couple’s passion for art and travel, world cultures and natural history. The house was one of the last Victorian houses to be built in England and was completed in 1901. Situated on Bournemouth’s stunning cliff-top over-looking the sea, the exotic seaside villa has been sealed in time creating a unique atmosphere in the most dramatic setting. During the conference the Victorian Puppetry Exhibition will be held, depicting a popular pastime for the seaside town, Punch and Judy. Surrounded by rolling countryside, Bournemouth enjoys 2,000 acres of parks and gardens located in the centre of the resort. The Lower, Central and Upper Gardens are Grade II listed and date back to the Victorian era. We mustn’t forget that Bournemouth is famed for its stunning beaches, with a
The Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth is a must visit
beautiful seven-mile stretch of coastline that first became popular amongst Victorian holidaymakers. It features four Blue Flag beaches, two iconic piers and almost 2,000 beach huts that overlook the sea, as well as the resort’s distinctive land trains and cliff lifts. The Fisherman’s Walk Cliff Lift has even made it into the 2015 Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s shortest funicular. There is also plenty to keep ‘outdoorsy’ types amused, from paddle boarding and sea kayaking at the UK’s first Coastal Activity Park, to more leisurely pursuits
on the area’s scenic golf courses and lush bowling greens. Let’s hope we start to see the first of the spring sunshine when Rotary descends on the town. With a sublime mix of evocative Victorian history alongside modern living, Bournemouth is a bustling yet picturesque destination with a wealth of accommodation and activities to suit all enjoying this year’s conference. l
For more information visit: bournemouth.co.uk ROTARY // 33
Join Leaders, Exchange Ideas, Take Action in your Community
Interested in what Rotary does? Want to know more? Do you want to find out how to become part of the organisation? Associate Membership
Associate Membership is a way of trying us out by becoming an associate member of a local club with the intention of eventually becoming a full member.
Corporate Membership is for groups within a company wishing to take on social responsibilities locally and internationally. It is also a chance for a group to become involved with community matters and concerns.
Satellite Clubs are clubs attached to and supported by an existing club. The members arrange venues and times for meeting that meets with the majority of members.
Membership of an eClub
eClubs allow for members to attend meeting online rather than in person. Members from all over the world meet at a time to suit the majority. Many meetings are recorded for viewing when convenient for the member. Fitting your Rotary membership in and around a family work routine makes attending meetings a lot easier. There are other options like membership of a Rotaract Club for 18 to 30 year olds and Interact Clubs in schools are becoming popular as well as RotaKids for youngsters at primary school. The options for being involved with Rotary have never been better and are limitless.
To find out more about Rotary go to:
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ROTARY IN ACTION
Rotary Ride 2016! After launching last year, the Rotary Ride is back for 2016. We take a look at how one of the four national prostate cancer charities supported has used the money raised last year, and hear from a brave man who shows us why raising funds and awareness is more important than ever.
Robotically assisted surgery
Technology for treatment “The funds raised have made tremendous difference to our work,” explains Prostate Scotland Director, Adam Gaines. “The money has supported three core activities - raising awareness about conditions of the prostate, providing information and support for those who have been diagnosed, and helping to bring the latest robotassisted surgical programmes to Scotland.” Half of the money raised has gone to the latter cause, the need for which is demonstrated by Dr Mustafa Mulla, a doctor from the West of Scotland who was recently told that he had a serious prostate condition. At present no Scottish hospitals yet have the equipment to undertake this procedure, so Mustafa travelled to London for surgery and he has now devoted himself to raising funds to ensure that soon it won’t be necessary for Scots to travel hundreds of miles to obtain the most advanced form of surgery. He and his family have already raised £12,500 towards the robotic programmes, which, with £2 million from the Scottish government, and the money raised by Rotarians, means that the 36 // ROTARY
£2.86 million target is now within sight. Robotically assisted surgery is just one of the procedures to have radically improved survival rates for those suffering from such issues. Twenty years ago, most people diagnosed with prostate cancer died from the condition – today 80% survive. If momentum with donations and awareness raising can be maintained, then survival rates could climb to previously unimaginable levels. “If we build on this success, with 2016’s Rotary Ride, it will be an important step towards the day when 100% survival rates are achievable,” says Adam Gaines. Action for awareness My name is Alex McCartney and I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in January 2014. I had gone to the doctors because I was getting up to go to the toilet frequently during the night, and that wasn’t like me. When I got my diagnosis, I was quite shocked, I hadn’t realised I had symptoms that could be prostate cancer. I then had a blood test, which showed that my PSA level was 108.5, way above the four of a normal reading, so I saw an www.rotarygbi.org
Taking part in the Rotary Ride
Oncologist and started on hormone tablets straight away. They brought my PSA level down to 7.5 within about three and a half months. The Oncologist wanted it down below five so I could have radiotherapy – because the tumour is just outside the prostate I can’t have surgery. Then my PSA started going up and reached as high as 54 so I have had to start chemotherapy. I had my first infusion on Friday 4th December and I will have 10 sessions altogether, one every three weeks. I had two really bad days just after starting, I felt like a steamroller had gone over me but when I woke up the following morning I felt much better. My GP suggested visiting Maggie’s and the support has been tremendous. I go along to the Prostate Group and that has been great. We talk about everything and have guest speakers who give us lots of practical advice. It’s also really helpful just talking to other men who have been through the same things. They could let me know what to expect, which made me feel much less worried. They had www.rotarygbi.org
I thought that getting up more often in the night was just part of getting older. It’s important to know how serious it can be.”
survived this and so could I. My wife came along to a nutrition workshop when we found out I needed chemotherapy. The nutritionist talked about how my palate is likely to change and gave me lots of tips on healthy, tasty things to make. My wife has been tremendous. She has been there at every meeting I’ve had with the doctors. My younger son talks to me about what is happening, my elder son wouldn’t talk about it at first but he’s talking a bit more readily now, about the treatment side of things. The hormone treatment has brought side effects. I’ve lost every bit of body hair
and I get hot flushes. They were bad at first but are getting better. I just accept it all as a side effect of the treatment. We talk about all that at Maggie’s. One of the great things about Maggie’s is that no one treats you with pity, they treat you like yourself not like a patient. I would encourage people to take part in Rotary Ride. Awareness is so important. I thought that getting up more often in the night was just part of getting older, just an old man’s thing, or that I was just drinking too much juice during the day. It’s important to know how serious it can be. If I’d known I might have gone to the doctor a few months earlier, I don’t know if that would have changed anything but it might have and that’s why supporting charities like Maggie’s is so important. l
For more information visit: rotaryride.co.uk maggiescentres.org prostatescotland.org.uk ROTARY // 37
ROTARY IN ACTION
Rotary Conference pulls big hitter! The Today presenter John Humphrys completes a stunning line up for the Rotary Conference in Bournemouth.
he annual Rotary conference is shaping up to be a stellar event with John Humphrys agreeing to speak over the weekend. John is one of the anchormen on Radio 4’s Today programme, where he has interviewed many world leaders. He also presents Mastermind as well as documentary programmes and has written many articles over his long and outstanding journalism career. John joins an impressive line up of speakers to talk about The Kitchen Table Charities Trust (KTCT), which he founded 10 years ago. The charity feeds donations into the smaller and most effective charities working mostly in Africa. As they say: “The money we raise is fed directly to the smallest charities. We choose those whose work we can assess and monitor. I have either seen them myself or know someone who has and can offer an independent assessment.” Rotary clubs from the heart of the Midlands this year chose the Kitchen Table Charities Trust as their preferred charity, and Paul Jaspal will be presenting a cheque to John Humphrys for the money they have raised in recent months. John will also be holding an interactive Q&A session with the audience, where he will be taking questions on the work of the charity along with general questions about his life at the BBC and his career. In addition the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps has also been announced as attending. They will be performing a selection
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TV presenter John Humphrys
We have really worked hard to bring something extra and different to conference this year.”
of military songs from both stage and the big screen along with some more traditional military classics in a concert, which will be held at the Bournemouth International Centre, on the Friday evening. The concert is free to attend for anyone that has registered for conference and promises to be a night of fantastic entertainment. President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, Peter Davey, comments: “We have really worked hard to bring something extra and different to conference this year. On Saturday afternoon we are offering a choice of a packed line up of breakout discussions as well as varied entertainment including Eric Knowles, best known for his appearances on the Antiques
Roadshow, valuing antiques, fascinating underwater photography, dance, Shakespeare and classic TV excerpts. “We want to make it as entertaining and interactive as possible for Rotary members and the general public, which is why we are so pleased to have both John Humphrys and the Band of the Royal Logistic Corps to join us in Bournemouth.” The Rotary Conference is at the Bournemouth International Centre from Friday April 1 to Sunday April 3, 2016.
To find out more about conference or to register to join us in Bournemouth visit rotarygbi.org www.rotarygbi.org
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What they say... Gearing up for the future RI DIRECTOR 2015-17 I PETER OFFER
ell, we’ve said goodbye to 2015 and are into 2016, let’s hope it will bring peace and happiness and make the world a better place for all who are suffering in any way. Rotarians across the world and locally are doing so much to help displaced people when they arrive in their area and with the young people who need special help to overcome the terrible experiences they have witnessed in their country. Last year I attended three Rotary Institutes in Hawaii, the Philippines and then our own in Kenilworth. Some 350 attended from 22 countries and we were honoured to have Rotary International’s President Ravi from Sri Lanka and Trustee Bryn Styles from Canada, they joined my fellow Directors Per Hoyen from Denmark
and Eduardo San Martin Carreno from Spain. Eduardo and I are organising our 2016 Institute in Madrid, dates for your diary are Wednesday to Sunday November 23 - 27 2016. I was delighted that we could present Rotarian Judith Diment with a “Service Above Self ” award for her work with PolioPlus and getting Rotary accredited to the Commonwealth. Following our Institute meeting President Ravi went to Malta for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting to give presentations on the progress of the Polio campaign. Much emphasis at Rotary International is placed on membership that in some parts of the world is expanding, and in places like Great Britain and Ireland we have to continue our hard work to welcome new members.
For any club that needs help and advice there is now a great team in your local area and at Rotary to help you and I do encourage you to attend a Rotary GO meeting in your area. A committee under the Chairmanship of Mark Maloney, who chaired the very successful Sydney Convention committee, has been looking at the RI Convention and they have come up with some very good ideas for the future. Following the Rotary International Board decision to appoint a Deputy General Secretary I am now delighted to report that Michele Berg has been appointed to that post. She has been with RI for over 20 years and brings with her a wealth of experience, Jim Barnes has been appointed to take over her job as Chief Programs & Member Services Officer.
Rotary’s birthday and chats about The Rotary Foundation RI FOUNDATION CHAIRMAN 2015/16 I RAY KLINGINSMITH
hen I joined Rotary many years ago, the fireside chat was a popular, simple, and effective method of communication among Rotarians. One Rotarian would invite a small number of fellow members to his home to talk about the value of Rotary in their lives. The evening would provide fellowship and increase knowledge about Rotary programmes, including The Rotary Foundation. In some parts of the world, particularly Australia, they were called poolside chats, but the concept was the same. As the 111th anniversary of Rotary on 23 February approaches, I hope you will take the opportunity to spend the evening with some of your Rotary friends, men and women, to talk about Rotary, particularly the Foundation as it prepares for its centennial year in 2016-17. The anniversary falls on 40 // ROTARY
Some of the earliest members of the first Rotary club during a reunion at Paul Harris’ home.
a Tuesday this year, and as Tuesday nights are normally not heavily booked for social activities, there are many ways to celebrate. In today’s world, our chats about Rotary
may be held online through social media avenues or in person at homes, restaurants, or pubs. I encourage Rotarians around the world to commemorate both the birthday of Rotary and the 100th anniversary of The Rotary Foundation by inviting some Rotary friends to join together in fellowship and service for conversations about the organisation. Just as Rotary grew out of the idea of one individual, Paul Harris, individual Rotarians and clubs in a variety of ways can revive the idea of Rotary chats. Who will step forward to try the idea in their respective clubs this year? If it is you, please send me a note at rayklaw@ sbcglobal.net to tell me about your chat. By whatever name and method, our chats on 23 February about Rotary’s founding and the Foundation’s centennial will be good for our Rotary clubs!
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ROTARY IN ACTION
Literacy in a Box
A Box of Learning We regularly bring stories of Rotary organisations ‘doing their bit’ to help children out of poverty through education. Here is an example of one club trying to make a difference.
ducation is one of the ways to help lift children out poverty, as it can help children gain useful knowledge, and the skills they learn can help to improve their lives and as a result those of future generations. It is known that in excess of 20 million children worldwide cannot read and over 50 million do not have access to education. There are several box schemes within Rotary and one of these is Literacy in a Box. Literacy in a Box is the brainchild of the Rotary Club of Roborough, Plymouth and was started 10 years ago when the club was invited by Operation Sunshine to contribute basic school materials in a container going to Zambia. The club responded by filling two boxes, one going to Mfuwe in the eastern province of Zambia and the second box went to a school in Msoro, which is deeper in the bush and south of the first destination. We spoke with Ian Parker from the Rotary Club of Roborough and chair of the trustees to find out more about the organisation. Ian told us that on receipt of the boxes Florence Myopa, one of the school's head teachers, wrote to them to say: “The content of the boxes was exactly as needed, enabling the pupils to develop the core skills required to become literate and numerate. Some of the children have been rescued from street life and their lives changed because of education. You cannot go wrong in what you are trying to do.”
Thumbs up for a packed box
Celebrating new exercise books
A literacy box costs just over £300 to be filled and delivered. A box contains supplies of exercise books, pens and pencils, chalks and boards and a couple of fun items like footballs.” A literacy box costs just over £300 to be filled and delivered. A box contains supplies of exercise books, pens and pencils, chalks and boards and a couple of fun items like footballs. When speaking with Ian he told us: “The Literacy in a Box Trust has to date filled and dispatched over 800 boxes since 2006. The majority has gone to Zambia and we have also sent boxes to The Philippines, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nepal and Ghana. The demand is always there and we would be delighted if we could increase our output to 1,000 boxes each year. However, what we can do is limited by the funds coming in to pay for the boxes.” Several years ago a Rotary Foundation matching grant helped the trust and working with a Rotary Club in Zambia the club was able to send 72 boxes. Ian went on: “Across the family of Rotary we have had great support from Interact, Rotaract and Inner Wheel. Working with local schools is always a delight since the
teachers can see the benefit of our work and relate that to their pupils.” Literacy in a Box is aiming to get a consistent stream of boxes being filled by their club and have recently launched an initiative call Walk4Hope. This is a project to demonstrate to pupils locally the distances children in the developing countries have to walk each day to get to school. This organisation is an example of Rotarians seeing a requirement and meeting the need. The need is great but this club is certainly trying to do their bit and children have benefited from their generosity of effort, time and donations. The Rotary Club of Roborough is certainly helping to reduce that figures of 50 million children across the world without education access.
For more information go to: literacyboxtrust.org.uk ROTARY // 45
The Rotary Effect Catching up with all the news from Rotary clubs around Great Britain and Ireland
Water works wonders
he villagers of Tharaka in Kenya will no longer have to spend up to eight hours a day searching for clean water, thanks to work of the Rotary Club of Middleton, Manchester. Over the last seven years, the club has raised over £7,000, which combined with the fundraising of other clubs and a Global Grant from the Rotary Foundation has meant over £50,000 has been spent in the village of Tharaka in Meru, central Kenya. The money raised has enabled a kiosk to be built, collecting rainwater in a reservoir-style tank, which can be accessed by villagers through taps and can be stored until the dry season. Stuart Sawle, from the Rotary Club of Middleton’s Foundation team, commented: “Our first project was completed in 2011 so maintaining this relationship has made a real difference to the residents of Tharaka. Clean water is a resource that everyone
Villagers collect containers of clean water
should have access to, and the wider benefits this will provide the community are immeasurable.” To date, clean water has now been made available to approximately 1,800 people in the village, providing families with access to 80 litres of water per week. The club recently received a letter from the village, it said: “Clean water is having a huge impact. The amount of water-based illnesses in the village has decreased amongst our children. Many have also seen their school marks improve since they don’t have so much time off school due to these diseases.”
Prepping our future
oung people were given a chance to hone their interview skills with the help of members of the Rotary Club of Colchester Forum. The sessions, held at Thomas Lord Audley School, allowed pupils to take part in mock interviews which included them producing a CV, Record of Achievement and letters of application for apprenticeships, college places and full and part-time jobs. Students, who started off in quiet anticipation and some anxiety were hugely positive afterwards. Rotarians are encouraged to share their experiences
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through vocational service, and the advice offered to the young people will encourage them to approach real interviews with the same vigour and confidence. Organiser Cas Moorhen, a member of the Rotary club’s youth team, said: “Mock interviews are one of the most important things we can do to help a young person prepare for their future working life. Our aim is to familiarise applicants with the process and give them experience in having a challenging conversation with someone they have never met before and the feedback we receive proves this is valuable to the students.”
The chicken hut construction well under way
Hatch of the day
chools in Moshi, Tanzania are being provided with self-sustaining farming methods following the continued support from the Rotary Club of Haddenham and District. For the last ten years, the club has been working with partner Rotary clubs in the country and aid organisations to help build and improve facilities in schools for deaf children, in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. The latest project has delivered schools with two chicken huts, each stocked with 150 chicks and sufficient grain to feed them until they are ready to lay eggs. The eggs can then be used as nutritional food for the children or be sold at local markets to generate additional income, which will pay for more huts. Peter Jones, President of the Haddenham and District Rotary Club, said: “These projects have every chance of success and we have seen first-hand the benefits they bring to local communities. I know the governors, headmaster and staff of the school are very excited by the sustainable chicken project, which will be of great benefit to them all.” This is not the first project the club has introduced to Tanzania. They have also helped provide vital equipment to facilitate vocational training for people aged between 18 and 24 in the shape of woodwork and sewing classes. The programmes help the students to find a job and support themselves and their families when they leave education.
© Becky Lee
Applying the pressure
M Pounds for Pudsey
otary clubs across Great Britain and Ireland are always busy during Children in Need week, one of the year’s biggest fundraising events, and November 2015 was no exception. As part of a record breaking on-the-night total of over £37 million, Rotary clubs and members also topped their own previous best by collecting a total of £80,000 to help children in difficult and disadvantaged circumstances. Rotarians were granted access to Heathrow Airport Terminals 2,3,4 and 5 even collecting beyond the terminals’ security barriers. In total 265 volunteers from 27
Designing a kit for women in Pakistan
Days for Girls
roviding dignity, hygiene and education for every girl everywhere – that is the mission of Days for Girls, a worldwide project that involves volunteers coming together to make washable, reusable hygiene kits for girls in developing countries. Many girls are reluctant to go to school
Rotary gives Pudsey a hand
Rotary clubs, three Rotaract clubs and one Interact club were able to clock up over 1,000 hours across the airport. Roderick Whyte, from the fundraising team, commented: “People are always so generous during Children in Need, whether it’s offering their time to help collect or the members of the public who were so giving. We’re really grateful to Heathrow Airport for letting us host our collection there.” The collection was led by the Rotary Club of Misbourne Matins and an incredible £39,000 was raised.
during menstruation, thereby missing out large parts of their education. Also, often during this time women can’t trade in the market, thereby struggling to make a living. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of York Ainsty, Issy Sanderson has been running workshops for the past three years making free hygiene kits which are sent as far afield as South Asia and Africa. In addition to ready-made kits, manufactured with brightly patterned cotton, Days for Girls also provides templates and instructions for overseas communities to make their own kits from local materials. On the project, Issy commented: “These kits have an amazing impact. One of the really exciting things to come out of our involvement is that we have enabled small incomegenerating projects to start up, with women making and selling the kits particularly in market places in some African countries.”
edical students from Cardiff University teamed up with the City of Cardiff Rotaract Club to offer blood pressure checks and consultations as part of the Stroke Association’s Know Your Blood Pressure initiative. Held in Cardiff’s Capitol Centre, and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cardiff Bay, 232 people had their blood pressure measured, of which 76 were advised in need of consultation with their GP, and 10 were deemed severe and were advised to be seen within a week. The activity highlights why it is such an important initiative as high blood pressure exhibits very few, if any, symptoms, and is the one of the most severe risk factors for strokes. President of the City of Cardiff Rotaract Club, Charles Pope, commented: “If we have learnt one thing, it is that events like this are tremendously important, one in three of the members of the public we measured had blood pressure high enough to potentially cause significant damage.” The event highlights what a precious community asset young people engaging in social action can be, and since the event, many students have registered their interest to get involved with Rotaract and further Know Your Blood Pressure events in the future. The next national Know Your Blood Pressure day is Saturday April 23, 2016 and will be the 13th year that Rotary clubs have run blood pressure testing events in their local communities. It is estimated that around 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and around a third are unaware of this. At least 40% of strokes could be prevented each year if people checked their blood pressure and took steps to control it.
For more details go to: stroke.org.uk ROTARY // 47
Helping to change childrens lives Fly Dance performing their winning routine
Vale’s Got Talent
ighteen acts took to the stage for the sixth Vale’s Got Talent, organised by the Vale of Belvoir Rotary Club, all in aid of a whole host of charities and projects. To date, the annual talent shows have raised in excess of £20,000, which this year will support young and old in the local community in the form of a recently established Memory Café for dementia sufferers. Funds will also help the Dictionaries 4 Life and Life Education projects, which seek to improve children’s literacy and health awareness in schools. The venue for the event was Grange Hall, Radcliffe-on-Trent and the stage was set for a variety of acts including dancers, singer-song writers and a local Glee
Club choir. The four judges remarked on the incredibly high standards on show, and decided the winners of the event were ‘Fly Dance’ from Brooksby Melton College, Melton Mowbray, who electrified the room from the moment they hit the stage, with an act full of energy and acrobatic moves. Yolanda Offodile, the team’s spokesperson, commented: “Dancing with Fly Dance is like being part of one big family. Everyone is so enthusiastic about dance and our tutors push us to make it all happen.” Club President Mary Bridge-Collyns added: “Each year it is a very popular event in the local community. The talent in the Vale never ceases to amaze me.”
Students pack shoeboxes
record number of shoeboxes have been packed for disadvantaged children in the area, thanks to the Rotary Club of Rochford’s partnership with a local school. Pupils at King Edmund School have filled 132 shoeboxes with fantastic gifts, including toys and colouring books as well as useful household items like toothpaste and soap. Boxes can also be built specifically for babies and teenagers. Rotary Club President, Graham Jackson, said: “It’s always good to work with the King Edmund School on this annual project. The students kindly and very efficiently fill the shoeboxes, which the Rotary club is very happy to provide. The Rotary motto is ‘Service Above Self’ and the students have risen enthusiastically to the challenge.”
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Boxes are also decorated, to make the prospect of receiving one all the more exciting, and will be handed out to disadvantaged children in the local area by King Edmund School’s Extended Services Team and St. Mark’s Hall in Rochford.
Laying the foundations
Global Grant of £80,000 from the Rotary Foundation will help communities in Southern Malawi, by allowing 15 ‘Under Six Centres’ to be built for local children. The Rotary Club of Limbe in Malawi and a total of 29 Rotary clubs across Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire hosted the project, with donations totalling over £50,000. This represented the largest ever project undertaken in the area by Duncan Hamlett, the International Chair of The Rotary Club of Lunesdale. Duncan commented: “The three years work it has taken to bring this project to fruition have been worth the effort. I want to thank everyone who has made this possible.” Six of the centres will be new builds, with the other nine being established through renovation of existing buildings. The project means that 3,000 nurseryaged children will benefit from the delivery of quality, early childhood development services from 70 newly-trained volunteer caregivers. Children will have the freedom to learn and play in a safe and secure environment, while also having access to improved hygiene care, sanitation and effective cooking equipment to offer vital nourishment. Two centres will also have boreholes installed that will offer a clean source of water for the whole community. As a result of all this hard work from Rotary 3,000 nursery children’s lives will change enormously and the ripple effect will be immeasurable.
CHILDREN'S LIVES CHANGED Students with their packed shoeboxes
Students and elders enjoy a friendly chat
Having a friendly chat
A The Samson Centre and the new equipment
Creating connections from Kolkata
he Rotary Foundation has the great power of connecting clubs from all over the world, and through this the Rotary Club of Central Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) and the Rotary Club of Guildford partnered to obtain a Global Grant in support of the Samson Centre for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in Guildford. Over £26,000 was raised, with half being provided by Guildford and six Kolkata-based Rotary clubs, and the other half coming through a Global Grant. The Samson Centre provides physical and emotional support for sufferers of MS in the local area. The centre’s manager Jackie Payne explained: “We are currently working at, or
lowers were in full bloom recently at the Rotary Club of Hayle, as the celebrated Royal Horticultural Society’s Floral Designer Jonathan Moseley presented an evening of flower arranging at a special event in Truro. Over 100 people attended and enjoyed Jonathan’s running commentary and live workshop, where he created 15 different arrangements, which were then raffled off to guests to raise additional funds. The Children of the Andes School in Ecuador were the beneficiaries with a project run by the Quito Valle Interoceanico Rotary Club, with whom Hayle have a longstanding friendship. Over £750 was raised during the evening. One of the pupils at the school is six-yearold Jordana, who receives yearly sponsorship from the Rotary Club of Hayle.
close to full capacity, so the introduction of two new pieces of equipment in the physiotherapy suite will help meet growing demand for services.” The money has enabled the purchase of two pieces of equipment, a standing frame, which helps lift patients from a seated to a standing position, and a machine to aid patients’ ability to participate in regular arm and leg exercises to strengthen muscles. Rotarians in Kolkata were able to see the dividends of their fundraising efforts for themselves as the equipment presentation was broadcast to them through video calling service Skype.
Club Secretary David Raymer, commented: “The event was a real success. I’d like to thank Jonathan for his time; everyone enjoyed the creativity and visual splendour of his workshop, especially the lucky few who took an arrangement home with them.”
partnership between the Rotary Club of Chichester Priory and Chichester College is helping to address the problems of loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly in their community. The Bridging Generations initiative sees Health and Social Care students from the college donate their time to have a cuppa and a chit chat with elderly residents in the local area. The elderly participants have enjoyed the regular contact with young people while the students, many of whom will work with the elderly on a regular basis, are gaining valuable experience and skills for their careers. Feedback from both groups has been extremely positive, with one elderly person saying: “When I leave the college after a session with the young people, I feel much younger!” Principal of the college Shelagh Legrave, remarked: “Chichester College is delighted to be working with Rotary on the Bridging the Generations project. Reaching out to older people and linking them to our students is very important and the project has been very successful.” Since the project began, it has grown from a small group to approximately 20 elderly people and 30 students meeting during term time. The meetings are hosted in the college building, with the Rotary Club of Chichester meeting the costs of transport to and from the college.
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Jonathan with one of his creations
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Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland Rotary clubs are continuing to work together to help with the relief effort in the #CumbriaFloods and #LancashireFloods by collecting food, clothing and supplies.
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Published on Feb 1, 2016
Published on Feb 1, 2016
This edition of Rotary explores how Rotarians across the country have helped with the relief effort following the UK floods, as well as an i...