ShelterBox aid arrives in Ecuador, Japan

(Video of an early report on both stricken nations.)

ShelterBox logoShelterBox was among the first non-governmental agencies (NGOs) to get aid to those made homeless by recent earthquakes in Ecuador and Japan.

Two quakes in Japan and one in Ecuador killed hundreds of people, injured thousands, and caused billions of dollars in damage late last week. Within 48 hours, an assessment team arrived to begin coordinating efforts. ShelterBox already had aid positioned in neighboring Colombia, as well as in Panama and Bolivia, which can be quickly transported into the country, but when such efforts are undertaken donations are needed to immediately replace the equipment so the organization remains able to respond to the inevitability of disasters elsewhere.

In Ecuador, the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck Saturday night killed more than 400 people, with 2,500 injured. Those figures are expected to rise as rescue and recovery efforts continue.

In Japan, the quakes hit the southwestern part of the country, killing dozens and causing landslides that obliterated homes, businesses, and highways.

In addition to ShelterBox, Rotary District 4400 in Ecuador and District 2720 in Japan have each created a disaster relief fund to coordinate other types of donations and in-kind aid.

At any one time, ShelterBox is juggling multiple active relief efforts. For example, even before the most recent Ecuador and Japan disasters, it was working in Madagascar and Bolivia after both were devastated by massive landslides and flooding.

Our club already has made its 2015-16 contribution to purchase five ShelterBoxes (at $1,000 each) this year, but obviously there is no limit to what we can contribute. If you have not donated to ShelterBox this year but wish to join those who have,  please check with our club’s ShelterBox Liaison Bill Dowd or treasurer Murray Forth for details.


Another deadly attack on polio work in Pakistan

THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES -- A Pakistani health worker, accompanied by an armed security guard, administers polio vaccine to a child in Peshawar in February.
THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES — A Pakistani health worker, accompanied by an armed security guard, administers polio vaccine to a child in Peshawar in February.

Yet another deadly attack on police serving as security for polio immunization workers in Pakistan has taken place. Terrorists gunned down seven policemen in two separate attacks in Karachi today. The details are available here.

Security police and medical and volunteer staff have become frequent targets of forces trying to stop the immunization program in Pakistan and Afghanistan. the last two nations on earth where the deadly disease is endemic.

Earlier this week, this website reported on the release of $35 million to continue the anti-polio efforts led by Rotary International.

Here are links to reports on some earlier atrocities in just the past few months:

Bomb near Pakistan polio center kills 15
Taliban assassins target Pakistan’s polio vaccinators
Attacks hamper Pakistan’s efforts on polio


RI removing barriers to membership

Screen shot 2016-04-12 at 3.42.19 PMIn practice, many Rotary clubs around the world have long done away with the various limitations imposed on the number of people from any one business category that may be inducted into membership of each club. However, a quota system and formal listing of professional categories remains on the books.

Now, that is changing.

It didn’t take long for the Rotary Council of Legislation to come up with something new. In the second day of its annual meeting, it redefined qualifications for membership in Rotary International.

Following up on the first-day theme of “flexibility,” the council quickly approved simplifying entry qualifications. Its proposal would replace a series of qualifications with a new definition that a club be composed of “adult persons who demonstrate good character, integrity, and leadership; possess good reputation within their business, professions, and /or community; and are willing to serve in their community and /or around the world.”

Presenters say the measure will grant clubs the responsibility and authority to choose their own members without a checklist.


Bringing medical high-tech to low-tech world

By Carlos Frum
PDG District 6440 and member of the Northbrook, IL, Rotary Club

The line went around the block and people still were coming! It was 2003, and my first trip to Guatemala as a translator for a medical team. Upon my return, I realized that we have no idea in the United States how difficult it is for people in poor countries to get basic health care.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t even have access to simple X-rays.

After several more trips, I resolved, with two other past governors from Rotary District 6440, to do something about this. Bruce Baumberger, Pam Kerr, and I started a project to install 29 digital X-ray systems in remote clinics in Guatemala. We called the project HealthRays™.”

Guatemala’s Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) signed a memorandum of cooperation with us, and we formed a committee in 2011.

The problem in Guatemala is not the lack of equipment, but the absence of trained radiologists to serve these clinics. The answer is to send the X-rays via the internet to physicians located far from the remote clinics, who then can read and interpret the images. Years ago, the memorandum assisted in the development of a simple digital X-ray system that can be operated by high school graduates with only two weeks of training.

What attracted me most about this project was that although it was difficult, it had the potential to help millions. And, we are making headway. We have funding for nine units, operational teams in the U.S> and Guatemala, and a list of supporters that continues to grow.

We started with a pilot installation instigated by a Rotary member with experience in radiology. Parts came from two suppliers, and the unit was installed by a third. It took us four years to complete, but we learned a lot.

Currently our system, with software, installation, spare parts, and warranty, comes from a single source and the manuals are in Spanish. The PAHO trains operators and, with local Rotary members, ensures the clinics are upgraded to the appropriate standards by the public health ministry.

We have participation from 14 districts in Guatemala, Taiwan, Venezuela, and the U.S., so the future looks bright! We still are looking for partners. Visit our website, and contact us if you would like to help.


How mentoring expands the Rotary experience

Clara Montanez
               Clara Montanez                      (Rotary Images photo)

By Arnold Grahl
Rotary News

When Clara Montanez was a student, she never heard the word “mentoring.” The idea of having a role model help you pursue your ambitions was unfamiliar to her.

“You basically chose your career based on personal interest and hoped you could find a job,” says Montanez, senior director of investment for Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. “I went the route of getting married and having children first, and started my career later in life. I had no model for how to do that.”

That changed for Montanez the day a friend invited her to join Rotary.

“Frankly, I was dragged into Rotary. I didn’t see a connection at first,” says Montanez, who’s been a member of The Rotary Club of Washington, DC, since 2003. “But, then I met several women, including Doris Margolis, who took me under her wing and started mentoring me on how to get more involved. I began seeing the value in having someone I could count on as a mentor, and I have become more of a leader in our club, in my community, and at work.”

Montanez, who is Rotary’s alternate representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), says Rotary has given her a platform to mentor young women as they balance career and family, as well as manage the challenge of repaying student loans. According to , the student loan debt burden weighs more heavily on women because of the persistent gap in pay between women and men.

“I think Rotary has given me access to young people, like Rotaractors, and they are ready to accept guidance because Rotary is a safe place to reach out and get advice,” says Montanez.

Similarly, Jackie Huie, a member of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, MI, recognizes Rotary’s mentoring power. In 2007, Huie’s club created that matches high school juniors and seniors with a mentor in the field they’d like to enter. The program started with 40 students at one high school and expanded into a number of schools across the area.

“I got a letter from a girl who came from a poor background, and through the program, she got a chance to meet with an attorney in town,” says Huie, who is president of JohnsonRauhoff, a multimedia company that fosters creative thinking for artists. “It inspired her and gave her confidence to go to school and study law. She got accepted into four law schools, and is on her way to becoming an attorney.”

Besides the investment in young people’s futures, mentoring brings clubs important community recognition. For example, Huie’s club has 150 members, a large number for a club that doesn’t hold membership drives, she says.

“Everyone in southwest Michigan knows about Rotary,” says Huie. “We had a student who wanted to be a CEO for a large corporation. After we arranged for him to meet with the CEO of Whirlpool, his father was so impressed with the whole program that he joined Rotary.”

Many of the program’s early participants went on to form an Interact club, and there now are more than 200 Interact members at four area schools. Forty of them will travel to the Dominican Republic this summer to install water filters and take part in a medical mission.

“It’s important for Rotary to make an investment in young people,” says Huie. “My own daughter is in Interact because of my membership in Rotary. I think her world is broader, and she looks at the world differently. We all do, because of what we’ve learned through Rotary.”


Being a ‘Rosnarian’ can expand your networking

Screen shot 2014-02-20 at 2.59.31 PMNo, that isn’t a typographical error in the headline.

A “Rosnarian” is the insiders’ term for an active Rotarian who belongs to Rotarians On Social Networks Fellowship (ROSNf).

The group, recognized by Rotary International, is an online fellowship of Rotarians around the world to network via Facebook, Twitter and other social media and to assist individual Rotarians and Rotary Clubs in expanding their expertise and reach.

ROSNf’s statement of purpose:

Our mission is to promote Rotary fellowship, service and public relations utilizing all the tools available on social networks.

Social networking is invaluable for building and reinforcing Rotary friendships, with the ability to share snapshots of your personal life in a non-intrusive way that enable you to find more in common with other Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interactors and Rotary alumni. It also provides a free, easy and effective way to share your Rotary story with the wider world.

ROSNF is not just a website. What sets us apart from other computer-based fellowships and Rotary-related groups and pages is that we provide comprehensive education and practical training and support about social networking, for all levels of experience.

Go here for the full details on ROSNf’s programs, membership application, and more.

And, scroll down for a chart of ROSNf websites.