This is a very difficult answer to explain in such a few short paragraphs, but let’s discuss some of the ways it impacts the world. Rotary can be described as an international organization with projects throughout the world. Many of these projects are considered international projects, but in a way, they are all local projects, supported on an international level.
This is the case since any project hoping to get a global matching grant needs to be a partnership with a host club, who will be instrumental in the sustainability of that project. In other words, if the Rotary Club of North Raleigh wanted to put latrines in Honduras, we would first have to partner with a club in Honduras. Once we get that partnership established, a needs assessment would be performed and from there, the necessary action would take place. The local club would be responsible for returning to the project after completion to ensure the latrines are being utilized and properly maintained, thus making it sustainable.
This is a major area where Rotary impacts the world. Another is the strategic partnerships it has with other organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Stop Hunger Now and Mercy Ships, just to name a few, which enables Rotary to make a huge impact on these various projects. With strategic partnerships, Rotary hopes to enhance its efforts in the major areas of focus.
Another great way Rotary impacts the world is through established opportunities such as Interact, Roteract, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) and Youth Exchanges. These are well established opportunities for youth to gain a better understanding of the world around them and can be a huge component of their level of success later in life. Many youth exchange students translate their experiences into a career internationally.
Our current youth exchange student, Cameron Joyner, is currently studying at the high school level in Venezuela. In addition to all of his studies and Rotary commitments while there, he has found the time to volunteer at a local orphanage. He recently spent two and a half hours at a local orphanage, playing with the neglected children. What a way to enhance peace throughout the world. Those young children will forever remember this experience where a young man came from North Carolina to spend some time with them. What better way to show these young people that they are important than to spend some of your time with them? Children want your time more than they want your money.
One way this club has been instrumental and made a huge impact has been via the Guatemala Literacy Project. With a fifteen year commitment to this cause, it has reached more than 130,000 students, giving them the opportunity for a brighter, more prosperous life through education. Currently, there are 185 schools that now have textbooks, 54 schools with a computer center and 33 with a Culture of Reading Program (CORP)…thanks to our involvement and the involvement of Rotarians throughout North America and the Grand Cayman Islands. This project is sustainable since the students pay a small user fee for these tools, which is placed in a bank account so after a number of years, the funds are present to replenish the tools for future students.
Rotary’s largest impact on our world is the eradication of polio from the world. The job is not yet complete, but we are getting very close to accomplishing this goal. Currently, there are three countries that are considered endemic, but even these nations are seeing a reduction in the number of new cases. With help from the WHO and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we will be successful in eradicating polio.
This is what makes Rotary an impressive organization. With 1.2 million members around the world, its impact is likely to gain over the coming years. Join the cause today…join us at the Rotary Club of North Raleigh.