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#friendshipsforlife Rotaract

Club of Westminster


learn from

inspirational people!

Exclusive interview with Stephen Roberson CEO of the Big Issue Foundation

2nd Edition - Spring 2014 Your voices will be heard at the UN. Rotaract Club of Westminster brings the Rotaract International MUN to London

WRIPP 2014 Let the photographs become your words & join the fight against kerosene lamps

KidsBuild takes off Let’s sail together!

















FROM THE AUTHOR Dear all, Welcome to our #friendshipforlife Spring Edition! Can you feel it yet? The air assumes a different character in Spring. After months of cold and humidity, it finally becomes bright and the wind blows with less urgency. The trees seem ready for spring blossom, nature’s own confetti. The sky seems bluer and the sun is anxious to begin shining brighter. Change is on the horizon and Rotaract Club of Westminster, like the rest of the world moves on with the times. We cannot afford to rest. Thanks to our members’ support we are able to touch the lives of thousands less fortunate than ourselves. Thank you to everyone who contributed. Rotaract Club of Westminster welcomes spring with a remarkable contribution to the End Polio Now campaign, a great start of KidsBuild, WRIPP 2014- international photography competition not to be missed and an invitation to Rotaract MUN 2014. Our members embrace the age of volunteering, friendship and mutual support. Rotaract Club Westminster is dependent on the goodwill of its most dedicated members, who firmly believe in the human power to Light Up Our World. What makes our club extraordinary is its keenness to enable young people to pursue a new interest, explore their hobbies or come together in a great collaborative adventure. In this issue, you will catch a glimpse into our vibrant club and see the difference we can make in the community we live in. I urge you to read it!


Rotaract Club of Westminster




Alex joined the Rotaract Club of Westminster in 2013 as the IT Director of the Club. He has since participated in many of the Club’s projects such as KidsBuild, the RGBI national conference, and WRIPP.

Ana-Maria is one of the club’s newest members, after joining us in 2014. She has been an invaluable member of the club ever since and to prove this, she has written many of the articles in this newsletter.

Annique has recently joined the Rotaract Club of Westminster. She has immediately shown great interest in the club’s projects.

He enjoys working with the club to help it develop and has played a key role in bringing this newsletter to life.

Find her articles in the news section and keep an eye out for her as we anticipate she will do great things for the club in the years to come.

When he is not Rotaracting, he enjoys photography and exploring the world around us.

She has contributed to the Role Models section in our newsletter and assists the team in organizing the end of year gala.



Marina is a 24 year old professional from Germany. Since October 2013 she has been living in London and works in sales and marketing. She loves to travel and getting to know new cultures and traditions.

Marion has once again proven she is a true Rotaractor. She has organised many of the Club’s events and we have recognised her efforts by giving her even more work to do. She has recently been ellected to be our next year’s president and we wish her a great year to come.

Marina has contributed to the travel section of this issue and has written the article on Kölle Alaf.

In this issue, she has written an article in the travel section that is a must read!



ZSÓFI KULCSÁR - WESTMINSTER ROTARACT PRESIDENT Members of Rotaract Club of Westminster are full of passion, enthusiasm and amazing ideas and it is a privilege to be part of this exceptional club. Friendships for life are born by sharing the same values, ideals and by working together in making this world a better place. Challenge yourself, try new things, join the movement, aim to be exceptional: Join Rotaract!

JAMES LOVATT - ROTARACT CHAIRMAN Welcome readers, I hope you are enjoying hearing about the news from Westminster as much as I am! Back in November 2011 I was first introduced to this club and have been astounded by what it accomplishes and the varied number of activities that it gets involved with ever since. The 35+ year history of the club means that I’ve bumped into past members a number of times in various Rotary clubs and it never fails to please me to hear the stories from previous years. Those members all contributed to what you have today and it makes me proud to share the story of Rotaract and what the club is achieving today. Being part of a global network is engrained in Westminster’s mentality and I certainly felt that diversity and positivity that comes with a mix of cultures during my time as a member in 2012/13 before I moved up to Warwickshire to join the HQ for Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland. It’s a club I loved being a part of and one I hold as an example to others that are looking for a benchmark of excellence.

THOMAS DEINET - WESTMINSTER EAST ROTARY PRESIDENT Rotaract Westminster and the Rotary Club of Westminster East share the same passion for local service projects. We are delighted to work with the Rotaract Club of Westminster on so many occasions, including the current KidsBuild project at St. Marylbone Parish, which was initiated by the Rotaracters. We look forward to many more opportunities to collaborate!

NAN MCCREADIE - RIBI PRESIDENT I am constantly amazed at the energy if the members if Westminster Rotaract. The diversity of their members and the varied programmes they are involved with are great. Organisational skills are matched by enthusiasm. Keep going; we need you all.


Rotaract Club of Westminster


ONE DAY I STOPPED BY TO TALK TO A BIG ISSUE VENDOR... The two minute chat revealed the unfortunate story of a man who lost both his home and family support. Nevertheless, there were a few lessons he learnt from this experience, which is why he decided to stop blaming the world for his failures. In other words, he realised that ‘externalising leads only to denial’. Therefore he looked inside himself and found the strength to do something differently and he is not the only one. Last year alone, the Big Issue Foundation worked with over 3,000 individuals to enable people who are homeless to retake control of their lives. It is impressive how these people do not expect anyone to do something for them, but they themselves take the opportunity to escape from a long and severe ‘recession’. According to the government there were 2,414 people reported by local councils across the country sleeping rough on any one night in 2013, up from1,768 in 2010. In the light of the dramatic figures published by the Government we are reminded now, more than ever, of the significance of our homes, our sanctuaries that provide us a sense of hope thanks to the good memories created there and the protection we feel once we walk through our door. Therefore, let’s regard homelessness beyond the idea of rooflessness. A home is not just a physical space, it also has a legal and social dimension. Homelessness is about the loss of all of the above. It is an isolating and destructive experience and people who are homeless are the most vulnerable and socially excluded in our society. Next time you pass by a Big Issue Vendor, think that the bright red vest hides a life story, which is worth saving. Maybe, even say hi! - Alex Calcan


NEWS KIDSBUILD KidsBuild is set to play an important role in supporting the Sir Simon Milton University Technical College which will be established in Westminster close to Victoria by September 2015. KidsBuild is uniquely positioned to raise interest in technical hobbies and professions in schools and youth clubs, and over 100 children in London have already participated in KidsBuild projects.

We are very excited about this recent progress of KidsBuild on the official stage and it shows that RCWE and Rotaract Westminster are at the heart of the local community standing ready to serve and address real issues spot on. Did you know that you can directly support the various RCWE initiatives including KidsBuild, and have the chance to win yourself! Join the RCWE 100 Club, a great way to help us with our efforts in the local community and abroad. - Thomas Deinet

By working with Westminster Council and the Sir Simon Milton University Technical College, we can broaden the scope of KidsBuild, reach more youngster, involve local corporates/ sponsors in transport and construction, and most importantly, devise a meaningful path for youngsters to discover technical professions and local educational institutions. The objectives of the Sir Simon Milton Foundation are very much aligned with what we are seeking to accomplish with KidsBuild: Helping youngster achieve their potential, in particular those from less advantaged backgrounds, and promote good citizenship by encouraging volunteering, educational activies, guidance and mentoring. I love the moment when kids realise that using a few common tools and a bit of elbow grease, they can build their own ‘toys’ that will actually float and work as intended. - Alex Calcan

The reason why I am so enthusiastic about it is because most importantly, we are not only building boats, we are shaping the future of young engeneers. - Andreea Caraveteanu


Rotaract Club of Westminster

NEWS ROTARACT MODEL UNITED NATIONS 2014 The Rotaract Club of Westminster was chosen to organize Rotaract Global Model United Nations 2014 in London, same location where 68 years before the first UN meeting was taking place to ensure world peace, security and economic development.

voices heard, challenge themselves and take ownership of the true values of being a Rotaractor. Standing by similar goals and commitments, the very internationalism of Rotaract coincides with the main UN principles – tolerance, peace and empowerment.

Model United Nations conferences are academic conferences structured similarly as United Nations sessions where participants assume the role of representing a country and debate current important political, social and economic issues.

Led by Secretary General Adam McLaren, Cambridge University student and Project Manager Zsofi Kulcsar, President of Rotaract Westminster, together with a committee of volunteers, the conference will be taking place on 4th -7th September 2014. The applications for chair are open until 11 April and the delegate applications will open soon.

A platform created by the Romanian team from Baia Mare last year, Rotaract MUN represents a great opportunity for young achievers across the world to have their

- Ana-Maria Paun

END POLIO NOW Rotaract Club of Westminster raised money for 1460 vaccines at The World’s Greatest Meal event, in a final push with Rotary International, World Health Organization, UNICEF, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate poliomyelitis, a lethal disease which causes paralysis. Rotaract Westminster organized the 22nd February event joining Rotary and Rotaract clubs around the world in the World’s Greatest Meal. The fundraiser gathered club members, friends and family at the Rotary Club’s London Headquarters

to enjoy pizza, popcorn and drinks galore in a cinematographic setup. As part of the campaign, talented members of the club composed and recorded a ‘polio song’ entitled “This Close” which was presented at the event. Rotary International first began the fight against polio in 1985 and ever since, Rotary and Rotaract clubs around the world have helped to vaccinate 2.5 billion children against the deadly polio virus. End of March saw India being officially declared as ‘polio free’ marking the success of the international End Polio Now campaign. - Ana-Maria Paun


NEWS KIDSDANCE After the successful establishment of KidsBuild, the Rotary Club of Westminster East is now launching its latest invention: KidsDance: Dancing is well known for its many health benefits for people of all ages. Besides being fun, dancing helps to build overall body fitness, reduce stress and improve the overall mental and emotional well-being. For children and youngsters, dancing is particularly enjoyable: it helps develop balance, build confidence, and encourage expressive skills. More importantly, dancing allows children of all ages, abilities and background to come together and build relationships and develop a passion for a fantastic hobby. RCWE KidsDance Scholarships Through its collaboration with the ZooNation Academy of Dance (ZAD), the RCWE has developed the new RCWE KidsDance Scholarship. ZAD is the “not for profit” education arm of the ZooNation Dance Company, which focusses on developing Hip Hop Dance as an art form and dancing genre. The RCWE KidsDance Scholarship enables children and youngsters in need (for example less privileged backgrounds, with disabilities etc) to gain access to dancing lessons and allow them the chance to have all the benefits

of dance, as described above. The RCWE KidsDance Scholarships will not be exclusively tied to ZooNation, and can be implemented in many different contexts. Why does RCWE support this? Rotary is less and less present in the local community, in particular in large cities such a London. At the same time, there are many people in need, and in particular youngsters, who lack opportunities, role models and safe environments to develop social skills and meaningful interests. Hip Hop dance is modern, appealing to youngsters, and with very little effort, we can accomplish a lot. Summary of benefits: 1. We can make a difference in underprivileged children’s lives. Individuals receiving the RCWE KidsDance Scholarship will be invited to come to visit the Rotary club (with their parents) to meet the club members. 2. KidsDance is well suited to attract media attention, helping to raise awareness about Rotary and RCWE beyond our usual network of members and friends. Rotary will again be present in the local community, where it is most needed (and currently least present). 3. The club can attend performances of the youngsters as part of the club’s social agenda. Past experience has shown that this is a lot of fun! 4. It fits well with RCWE’s existing portfolio, which includes KidsOut, KidsBuild, RotaryAct and Pimlico Puffins. 5. It helps RCWE to attract new members, rebrand Rotary as a modern organisation, and a “cool place to be”. - Thomas Deinet


Rotaract Club of Westminster

NEWS WESTMINSTER ROTARACT INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT Members of Rotary and Rotaract Clubs have now the chance to show off their artistic skills in the field of graphics and imagery as part of the Westminster Rotaract International Photography Project or WRIPP in short.

Whether you just like snapping away selfies and whatnot, or you are a well respected photographer, the time has come you put your passion and talent above self and fight for a good cause – combat poverty and promote socially and environmentally sustainable development across Africa.

Inspired by the next year’s Rotarian theme – ‘Light Up Rotary’, the topic provided is “Light Up Our World”, urging participants to push the limits of their creativity. Partnered up with the international charity SolarAid, WRIPP aims to raise awareness on the dangers brought by the use of kerosene lamps and promote the clean and renewable energy of solar lamps. Over 500 million Africans do not have electricity and a high number of people use toxic kerosene lamps which cause dangerous respiratory diseases and death. The competition was officially launched on 1st April and entries can now be submitted via the official website The cost of entry for amateur category is £5 and £20 for professional category. The money goes to the social enterprise Sunny Money which reach remote rural communities in Africa selling solar lamps for little cost and time. - Ana-Maria Paun



EVENTS june 3rd new member induction the most important part in any rotaractor’s Life... come aLong to be part of this event and see what it means to be caLLed one of us. #friendshipsforLive

june 15th running project join us in this exciting and active project to support the ongoing efforts of the big issue foundation. the run wiLL take pLace in richmond park and you can come to encourage your favourite rotaractor or even participate by running yourseLf!

june 17th Last meeting of the year aLL good things must come to an end, and this is no exception. after a year fuLL of exciting projects, uniQue experiences, highs and Lows, it is time to wrap it up and take a break. at Least, that’s the pLan...

june 22nd dragon boat race after comin in first for the Last two years, it is time once again to show them who’s the best! come aLong and cheer for our westminster rotaract dragon boat racing team. do you have what it takes?

june 28th rotary & rotaract end of year gaLa Last year was amaZing, this year wiLL be better! this edition wiLL aLso reveaL the winner of our photography competition wripp. #wripp14

september 4th to september 7th rotaract internationaL mun it aLL started with a dream and now rotaract gLobaL modeL united nations is at its second edition. over 120 participants are expected during the four day conference in London. your voices wiLL be heard at the un!


Rotaract Club of Westminster



TRAVEL OLÉ, OLÉ EN FRANÇAIS! What comes across your mind when thinking about France? Paris, magnificent architecture, berets, baguettes, croissants, cute boys, French kiss and many other things? But did you know that traditional events such as the Ferias take place in the southwestern and southeastern parts of France? You hear about them a lot in Spain, but what about in France?

find bodegas all over the city in case you get thirsty (outdoor nightclubs and bars). During the day, bull runs and abrivados enhance the hustle and bustle on the streets of the city. You will ask, what is an “abrivado”? Word coming from Provence, it consists of letting the bulls run in the streets, surrounded by herdsmen on horses.

Let me then tell you a bit more about them and how unique they are … First of all, you have the “fetes de Bayonne” which takes place in the city of Bayonne (southwestern part of France) and gathers about 1.5 million visitors. Just as in the Navarre area, in Spain, the common outfit is to wear white with a red scarf and belt. Two bullfights take place and many activities are organized during that time. Finally, in many small villages of a few southern departments, local “ferias” are organized with bull runs and abrivados. They usually last 2 or 3 days and different groups of people create their clan. All of these parties usually take place from June to August and are unique to watch. If you travel to any of these areas, make sure not to miss them out!!! Olé olé … Then, you have many ferias organized in a southeastern part of France and the largest one is in Nimes, city well known for its rich history, dating back to the Roman Empire. The feria de Nîmes is a popular festival centered on bullfighting held each year. Two types of feria take place in Nîmes – the Pentecost Feria and the Harvest Feria – the Pentecost Feria attracting nearly a million visitors over six days. This year, the Feria celebrated its 62nd anniversary, being a strong tradition in the region. It creates excitement throughout the city. Also, you can


Rotaract Club of Westminster

- Marion Greenbaum

TRAVEL NARRIO NARRO – KÖLLE ALAF In February it was again time for the fifth season in Germany, better known as carnival. Many people in Germany wait all year for this festival to begin. But what’s the story behind that tradition?

most cities have street parades especially for kids when they can present all the beautiful costumes that they created in school. In the evening another important parade takes place, the Hemdglunker.

The most famous carnival celebrations take place in Cologne. But also in the south west of Germany there is always a lot going on during the so called Alemannische Fasnet. The tradition is to dress up and go out and celebrate. Carnival officially starts at 11:11pm on the 11th of November but especially during three to four weeks before it ends different guilds host and organize different events, masked balls, street parties and most importantly parades. Carnival is based on the Roman traditions of servants and slaves being master for one day. Each community or city has its own Narrenbaum during that time, a tree that is about 30 metres high and that only has branches at the top and which is decorated with colourful bands. The streets are also decorated with colourful garlands of old scraps. During the parades sweets get thrown into the crowds, the different guilds organise little pranks and people shout the typical cry Narrio Narro in the south or Kölle Alaaf in Cologne.

For this parade everybody wears nightdresses and carries torches. After the parade the big celebrations start and people go from pub to pub and listen to the typical folk music.

The last week of the period is the most important and busiest week since the street carnival officially starts that week. The three most important days during this week are the so called G’schmutziger Donnerstag, the last Thursday before Ash Wednesday on which women assume control, Rosenmontag, Monday before Shrove Tuesday, climax of the German carnival celebrations, and Aschermittwoch which is known as Ash Wednesday.

The night before Ash Wednesday the communities organise the so called Fasnachtsverbrennung. The tradition is to officially „burn carnival“ and people go for one last drink.

On the day of the G’schmutziger Donnerstag the big celebrations start. Schools have big parties and the guilds go from school to school to release them from school and invite them officially to the festive. In the afternoon

During the following weekend there are always more parades, masked balls and parties A very important day is the Rosenmontag since especially on this day many communities organise parades and it’s the last big day of celebration before the season is over.

After all the celebrations people need some time to recover, but in reality they all can’t wait for the fifth season to return. - Marina Schmidt


ROLE MODELS STEPHEN ROBERTSON - CEO OF THE BIG ISSUE FOUNDATION Welcome to our role models section where we speak to inspirational professionals who can give us inspiring individuals’ advice. This time we had the pleasure of gaining pearls of wisdom from Mr Stephen Robertson, CEO of The Big Issue. Mr Robertson kindly agreed to be the news rather than create it when he allowed an intimate interview in his dreammaking life changing organisation.

Motivation The real motivator for me in this space is about equality of access for people in a democracy. I think that there are many groups of individuals who for whatever reason are excluded from the opportunities that other people may have. Sometimes, in that space you have to fight hard to get a voice heard in order to do your part of getting justice done. So for me it all comes from that space of - everybody deserves a chance, everybody deserves an opportunity and it is often wrong to exclude people on the basis of prejudice. I firmly believe that in our society the thing that makes our country strong is the diverse people that are within it. Thus, we should seek to understand, celebrate and enhance opportunity where it is not easily found. Vision

Inspiration I spent a number of years working in retail and you always work hard. Profits get made but at the end of the day they go to private business. What gets me up in the morning is working hard, making money for a really good charity and knowing it is spent really well on really good things. So my inspiration is trying to do as much as I during in and out of my day to improve the lives of homeless people, which I think, is a really amazing organisation. I am proud to work here and I am proud to work with the people I work with.


I suppose my vision is grounded in reality and I don’t think that there is a moment where work in this space will stop needing to be done. There are various issues that drive people to the brink. Some caused by economics, some caused by society, some caused by themselves and the actions that they take. So, I would never say that we are or I am naive enough to say that things will completely change. In fact things are actually getting worse. Consequently, we have to fight as hard as we can to counterbalance that. Where do you see yourself as an individual in the next 10 years? I suppose if I cast myself forward it is difficult to think that I will find something else that is going to make me happier. So whether it is the Big Issue Foundation or somewhere else, I see myself trying to use the skills and knowledge I have acquired to the best of my ability in this space in particular.

Rotaract Club of Westminster

ROLE MODELS Where did you think you would end up 10 years ago? I did not envisage this; 10 years ago I was running all of SHELTER’s commercial operations that contributed money towards the charitable pursuits that were not fundraising. So I was running a chain of charity stores, an Internet Christmas card mail order business and SHELTER training, which is commercial business that sells training to housing professionals. I didn’t particularly think that I would move from a large organisation and role my sleeves up in a small organisation. I found though that’s the best decision I made. The benefits of being in a small organisation are the good things that happen, you can lay some small kind of claim to being part of and the bad things that happen you are absolutely responsible for because there are few places you can hide from them. I think the difference is that I am much more connected to everything that we do and I can see the impact of everything that we do. When someone offers you a job it can be because A there is some kind of problem and

B they think that you are the one who can fix it. The temptation when you are in a new role is to prove that the decision to appoint you is correct and the impulse can be to do the things that you can do. However I got out of my comfort zone and looked at my skill set and did the things that were furthest removed from me. I learnt to do the things I had to do quickly because I did not rest back on the things I knew I could do easily... so my position was like ‘I don’t know but will learn’. I will learn with you and hopefully I can add value. Letter to younger self... I would probably write a letter to my younger self in my early 20s when I had just started working I guess. I think I would tell myself ‘be prepared to imagine the unimaginable’. I would also tell myself ‘be prepared to follow chance, circumstance and opportunity. I have always put myself out there and not been afraid to put myself forward, things have come as a result. - Annique Clopon

15 Rotaract Club of Westminster sponsored by Club of Westminster East


Spring 2014  

The spring edition of the Westminster Rotaract club newsletter