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From the pages of The Rotarian Magazine

Brazil

A Rotary Foundation District Grant helped fund a literacy project in District 4420 (part of Sao Paulo), where the literacy rate dropped from 55% in 2007 to 50% in 2011. Twelve clubs in the district set up 13 reading rooms in hospitals, community centers, and other public spaces. Each one, staffed by a monitor and tutor, offers books and toys for children ages 5 to 12. The project has received support from the Colegio Rio Branco, part of a Rotary club-supported education complex, and the local Municipal Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents.

Australia

Violence Free Families, a nonpro?t created with help from the Rotary Club of Brighton in Victoria, has worked to prevent domestic violence since 2009, and dozens of clubs across the country have supported the organization’s efforts. The rotary Club of Balwyn has donated close to $30,000 to fund the latest project: an online behavior-change program for violence-prone men that provides an alternative to traditional group therapy.

USA

On the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Lakota people in South Dakota, the per capita income is among the lowest in the United States. Since 2012, the Rotary Clubs of Brattleboro and Brattleboro Sunrise, Vt. have helped support the Lakota nonprofit radio station, a vital news source on the 2.8 million-acre reservation. The clubs’ annual International Film and Food Festival has raised $7,500 to buy equipment, as well as 85 refurbished laptops and six sewing machines for students and other residents.

Concert Benefits EPN

D-Squared Concert 2014On Sunday afternoon, member Debbie Davis presented her third annual musical concert to benefit the End Polio Now campaign of Rotary International. Funds received from the happy concert goers and others will be eligible for the double-match grant of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, thus tripling our club’s contribution!

Debbie paired herself with Mezza Soprano Deborah Rosengaus, creating the twosome dubbed “D Squared.” The duo wowed the assembled crowd with hits from Broadway shows featuring hits by Oscar Hammerstein, Lerner & Loewe, the Gershwin Brothers, Steven Sondheim and others. Debbie, a masterful pianist, played perfect accompaniment to the very talented singer who also shared delightful stories from her musical and personal past.

From “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” through a beautiful bi-lingual version of “Man of La Mancha”, Debbie and Deborah performed magically and left the audience completely enthralled. The show included a couple of crowd friendly “sing-a-longs” ending with “The Sound of Musics” “Edelweiss.”

Adding to the wonderful music was the unmatched hospitality of Rick and Doris Davis at their beautiful Silver Creek home.

Mark your calendars now so you don’t miss next year’s concert!

The Hunger Project

Although he’s an established Realtor in our community, Campbell Rotarian Rod Hibner actually addressed us today about one of his community service projects. Rod and his wife have been an active donors and supporters of the Hunger Project for more than ten years.

The Hunger Project aims to empower women and men to end their own hunger, focusing primarily in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

The project is less about providing direct hunger alleviation with shelters and food shipments, and more about enterprise development and enrichment. They have identified three critical elements to their success:

  1. Mobilizing people to build self-reliance.
  2. Empowering women. When women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits.
  3. Forging Partnerships with local government.

The Hunger Project has also collaborated with Rotary International and other local clubs in various projects, including restoring clean water services to the Jaldu earthquake epicenter in Ethiopia. Rod tells us that Rotary and The Hunger Project are continuing to investigate new projects, including international grant support and local club partnerships.

Rotary Partners in Service: Brazil

Every October, we welcome our Rotary District 5170 “Partners in Service” visiting from countries around the world.

Today, we heard from Henrique Vasconcelos, past district governor of Rotary District 4490 and the Rotary Club of Fortaleza-Alagadico, Brazil. Henrique was a Rotary Youth Exchange student to Pennsylvania in 1988. He is now a civil engineer working with civil construction and equipment rental since graduating from Universidade de Fortaleza.

gravataiHenrique gave a presentation on Partners in Service and the 3-H project at the Gravatai River in southern Brazil that was supported by Rotary donations from across the world. Gravatai is an 80km long river basin with the final 20 kms being heavily polluted as it passes through the cities of Cachoeirinha, Alvorada and Gravatai, before discharging into Lake Guiaba in Rio Grande do Sul the southernmost state in Brazil, en route to the Atlantic Ocean. The River is of central importance to millions who rely on it for drinking water and to carry away their sewage and industrial waste. The Rio Gravatai and its tributaries also irrigates large areas of intensive agriculture.

The Rio Gravatai is distressed by over abstraction by farmers in summer and by agricultural, industrial and sewage pollution, and dies (becomes eutrophic) in hot weather, killing the fish and causing a great stinks. Bankside communities and industry use it as a dump. Swamp drainage results in silting of its channels, and flooding of the lower reaches in the wet season. Riverside trees felled for firewood or building material cause bank erosion. The urban stretches of the river are an eyesore and unusable as a source of drinking water.

Minjhin Shieh – Buddhist Tzu Chi

The Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation carries out missions to help the poor and educate the rich while reverently accepting Buddha’s teaching of “expressing great kindness to all sentient beings, and taking their suffering as our own.”

Tzu Chi” means “compassion and relief.”

TzuChiAsianaBuddhist Tzu Chi Foundation is a non-profit, non-governmental, humanitarian organization registered with UNESCO. The foundation focuses on four major missions: charity, medicine, education, and humanistic culture, with programs for international disaster relief, bone marrow donation, community volunteerism, and environmental protection.

Tzu Chi USA was formed in 1984, with its first office established in Alhambra, California. Northern California executive Minjhin Shieh showed us a number of videos and discussed the impact Tzu Chi has had across the world including Haiti, New Orleans, and many other places. Shieh also shared news reports on Tzu Chi’s response to the recent Asiana Airlines crash at SFO.

Tzu Chi has responded with disaster and fire relief locally and across the country, funds regular medical clinics in the South Bay and Southern California, and operates schools serving elementary children through college students. Locally, they support student backpack donations, host a weekly breakfast at Campbell Middle School, and are bout to launch programs in the troubled Cadillac-Rosemary neighborhood of Campbell.