President-elect urges Rotary members to ‘Be a Gift to the World’


President-elect urges Rotary members to ‘Be a Gift to the World’

RI President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran announces his presidential theme for 2015-16, Be a Gift to the World, at the opening session of the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.
Photo Credit: Rotary International/Monika Lozinska

Using their talents, expertise, and leadership, Rotary members worldwide are asked to be gifts to the world this upcoming 2015-16 Rotary year.

Rotary International President-elect K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran called Sunday's address to incoming district governors the “most significant moment of my life.”

“All of you have been given so many gifts. And you have now been given this great gift: one year to take all your talents, all your gifts, everything that you are and can become — and Be a Gift to the World,” said Ravindran, revealing his presidential theme at the annual five-day training meeting in San Diego, California, USA. “You have one year to take that potential and turn it into reality. One year to lead the clubs in your district and transform the lives of others. The time is so short, yet there is so much to be done.”

Highlighting Rotary's biggest challenge, the eradication of polio, Ravindran said, “A future without polio is a gift that we have promised to the children of the world. And indeed it is a gift that we will give.”

Ravindran, a member of the Rotary Club of Colombo, Sri Lanka, used Rotary's successes in the fight to eradicate the disease as an illustration of the impact Rotary members can have in the world. When Rotary set a goal of eradicating polio 25 years ago, it was endemic in 125 countries, and more than 1,000 children were becoming paralyzed each day. Today, polio remains endemic in just three countries, Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. And in all of 2014, only 333 cases were reported. “We will battle on. We will prevail,” he said.

Ravindran discussed some of Rotary's other challenges, including membership.

“We have to find a way to bring back the fundamentals that built our organization: the emphasis on high ethical standards in all aspects of our lives, and the classification system that encourages a diversity of expertise in each club,” he said. “Too often these ideas are viewed as little more than inconvenient obstacles to increasing our membership. But they have been essential to Rotary's success, and we ignore them at our own peril.”

Ravindran told attendees that the focus on branding is essential to helping Rotary grow. “We need to reposition our image, which we recognize has faded in many parts of the world,” he said.

Rotary also needs to continue to raise funds for The Rotary Foundation, attract new members, and encourage greater participation from current members, he added.

“There are no easy answers to any of these questions. And yet the answers must somehow be found. We are the ones who must find them,” said Ravindran.

The president-elect closed his speech emphasizing that now is the time to make real change.

“You have one year to build monuments that will endure forever, not carved in granite or marble, but in the lives and hearts of generations. This is our time. It will not come again. Let us grasp it,” he said.

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18-Jan-2015                                                                                                                                    HOME

Man in iron lung discovers Rotary

Man in Iron Lung

Rotary e-club member Linda Elliott visits fellow member Paul Alexander in his home. Alexander is among a small number of people in the world today who rely on an iron lung to breathe.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Linda Elliott, a member of the Rotary E-club of District 5810.
One might think a man living with polio in an iron lung would know about Rotary. But it wasn't until Paul Alexander had a business meeting with a member in Duncanville, Texas, earlier this year that he learned Rotary fights to eradicate the very disease that left him almost completely paralyzed.”I was completely blown away by the idea. For all these years, I didn't know the work they were doing,” says Alexander, a practicing attorney in Dallas. “It's such a perfect fit for me.”
Alexander contracted polio during a major U.S. outbreak of the disease in the late 1950s when he was six years old, and almost died in the hospital before a doctor noticed he wasn't breathing and rushed him into an iron lung, an airtight metal tank that encloses all of the body except the head and uses regulated changes in air pressure to force the lungs to inhale and exhale. Alexander is among a small number of people in the world today still using an iron lung to assist his paralytic polio. The need for the 800-pound machines declined dramatically after the polio vaccine became widely available in the early 1960s.
In October, Alexander became a member of the Rotary E-Club of District 5810 during an induction ceremony held in his home, attended by Rotary's President Gary C.K. Huang through an online connection. Alexander is writing a book about his experience and wants to be an ambassador for Rotary promoting the benefits of eradicating polio.

Freed from the lung

For 10 years, Alexander never left the device or his house. But then he had a breakthrough, teaching himself to breathe on his own by forcing air into his lungs. That allowed him to get around in a wheelchair for up to eight hours.
“The first day I was outside the house was extraordinary. It was a 100 percent improvement,” he recalls.
Determined to go to college, he moved onto campus and with the help of a nursing assistant attended classes, earning a degree from the University of Texas. He eventually went on to earn a law degree, passed the bar, and practices civil and criminal law.
He has a computer keyboard and a touchtone phone by his head which he can manipulate with a plastic stick held in his mouth. When he goes to court for a case, he has assistants who help him. He's traveled farther from his home on rare occasions. The iron lung, which has wheels, is shipped to meet him at his destination.

Long lost connection to Rotary

His father was president of a Dallas Rotary club in the 1960s, but Alexander says he doesn't remember it. His introduction to Rotary began when he met Duncanville member Alexander Peralta. Peralta told the Rotary District 5810 governor, Bill Dendy, who immediately decided Alexander would be the perfect subject of a video his wife was making on polio eradication. Alexander agreed, and a film crew from the district's e-club came out to shoot the interview.
“I visited him weekly after that,” Dendy says. “One day, I said to him, 'Paul, you could be a contributing member of Rotary.' He asked me how that would be possible. And I told him with an e-club, which meets online, it would be very possible.”
Since joining Rotary, he's become a popular speaker in the Dallas Rotary community. He's already addressed two large gatherings and is scheduled to speak at the next district conference. The Waxahachie Rotary Club, which builds wheelchair ramps as a project, built him a new one when they heard he transports his iron lung to the hospital or for longer trips.
“It means so much to me to belong to this organization,” Alexander said during a phone call to his home recently. “I'm having a great time and staying awake at night thinking of ideas. So many people have come into my life. I never knew there were so many caring people out there.”

This week's Illuminator 16th January 2015

Important Dates for your Calendar in 2015

  • District Leaders Training – Taree – 14th-15th February 2015
  • District Management and District Finance meetings – 15th February 2015
  • Port Macquarie Sunrise – Amazing Mystery Tour – 22nd February 2015
  • Cluster 5 Celebration Dinner – Armidale February 25th 2015
  • Polio Plus Movie Night February 26 2015 – Tamworth 26th February 2015 Forum 6 Cinema – Sawtell 26th February 2015 Birch Carroll and Coyle Coffs Harbour Tickets $20 – Laurieton 26th February 2015 Laurieton Plaza Theatre
  • New England Tech Fest Armidale – 4th- 6th March 2015
  • District Conference Inverell 13-15th March 2015
  • RYLA – Yarrahapinni 21st-28th March 2015 (Rotary Youth Leadership Award)
  • RYAG Sheep – Walcha 25th- 29th March 2015 (Rotary Youth in Agriculture)
  • MUNA – Inverell 16-17th April 2015 (Model United Nations Assembly)
  • PETS – Tamworth 18th-19th April 2015 (President Elect Training)
  • District Assembly – Port Macquarie 3rd May 2015
  • District Assembly – Gunnedah 24th May 2015
  • Rotary International Convention Sao Paulo Brazil – 6th-9th June 2015

DG Jottings

Preparations are going very well for the District conference to be held in Inverell from 13th to 15th March 2015 with the Conference committee under Phil Goddard’s able captaincy putting the final touches to the program, they have worked hard and done a great job . All of the speakers and arrangements have been made as well as a great selection of meals and lunches/morning teas so I am sure we will be catering to everyone’s requirements.
Registrations have started to roll in and I would like to thank those who have done so already. Be sure to register early so as to avail yourself of the early bird discount. Many clubs and members have told me they have booked accommodation already so well done. If you are thinking of coming to this conference, slip onto the website and take a tour through the extensive program , I am sure you will be impressed. Max Walker and others will keep us very entertained. Hope to see you there.
Over the next few months, our District has an impressive array of youth activities which will be a benefit to the candidates and clubs involved. Long Term Youth Exchange Program  is happening now with Outbounders heading off on their exciting journey and inbounders arriving as well as students returning home. Make sure if you have a student that you have them along to the club and other clubs to hear their story.
Other programs that are happening now include National Youth Science Forum and we have a number of students attending Canberra . These students will return home so invigorated and positive and knowing what they will pursue in life. Great program.
Model United Nations Assembly , Rotary Youth Leadership Award , Rotary Youth in Agriculture SHEEP and other program are being presented over the next couple of months so look for the dates in the Illuminator or on the website calendar and please support these great program that are so beneficial for our kids. Support for these programs is essential so that they can continue to be viable
Presidential citation forms are something that should be dusted off as we come into the final 5 months of our rotary year .See how you are going with your club goals, and I am sure that your members would be delighted to receive this award.
Many club members will be undertaking District and Presidential training over the next few months. Presidents Elect and new club board members attending District Assemblies should be given support from their clubs for the work they will be doing. Good luck to all those becoming involved at club level, especially for the first time, you will really enjoy the ride.
The final six month period will be a full and rewarding time for all clubs, and a time that your club goals will all come together. Check them off and work on your club citation, you will be pleased when you receive your reward.
Greg Moran

Club Invoicing changes

We are aware that there have been, and will continue to be, many changes for clubs to adapt to. One of the largest is the change in the Club Invoicing that comes into effect with the January 2015 invoice.
To assist your clubs through the requirements, our office has prepared a presentation on the New Club Invoice and the changes that will be occurring, together with the inclusion of Rotary Down Under magazine subscription costs on the RI invoice.
The presentation is in the form of PowerPoint with an audio commentary, and can be viewed on YouTube at
If clubs have any questions regarding this process they should contact our office on +61 2 8894 9800 or email to Regards Joy Walker Acting International Office Manager Manager, Club & District Support South Pacific & Philippines Office Direct: +61-2-8894 9820 P.O. Box 1415 Parramatta 2124
Level 2, 60 Phillip Street Parramatta NSW 2150 Australia

ShelterBox Australia update

Current deployments: Gaza, Niger, Iraq, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sierra Leone and Syria. See
details below.
· There has been flooding in many displacement sites in South Sudan, causing many families to
have to relocate. The team is discussing a potential response with the relevant clusters.
The team has had a request to provide aid in Cameroon to around 45,000 families. Some of these families are refugees from Nigeria, others have been displaced due to conflict within the country. The operations team is currently working through the paperwork and then intends to send an initial 200 tents to Cameroon.
· The operations team has been talking to Plan about the ongoing Ebola crisis. ShelterBox is now looking at the possibility of sending tents to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The intended use for these tents is not currently within ShelterBox’s remit and the legal team is waiting to hear back from the Charity Commission to see if this can be changed to accommodate the request.
· The team has received a request for 400 tents in the northern areas of North Korea to help people affected by flooding and are currently planning to send Flex 3 tents and winterization kits.
· The operations team is monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka, as the country was hit by the same bad weather as Malaysia, but there is no immediate need for aid.
· The team is currently considering a request to provide aid to internally displaced people in Somalia.
Malaysia – flooding
Overview: Extreme monsoon rains have caused severe flooding in the north east of Malaysia and around 200,000 people are reported to have been displaced as a result.
This is ShelterBox’s first deployment in Malaysia, yet within days of the first team’s (Todd and Martin) arrival, they had been welcomed by Najib Razak, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, who has given his full support to ShelterBox.
Current team: Todd Finklestone (US), Martin Strutton (UK), Andrew Clouting (AUS), Jack Bailey (UK), Mike Peachey (NZ), Dave Nichols (USA), Per Dahlstrom (CAN) and Jimmy Griffith (NZ), Sam Hewitt (UK), Andrew Clark (UK), Torstein Nielson (NOR) and Ben Julian (UK)
Team 2 (Andrew Clouting and Jack Bailey) helped to establish a camp of 100 tents in Gua Musang in the north-east of the country.
The majority of the volunteers are now assessing the need for aid in the neighbouring district of Kuala Krai. Todd and Martin will be leaving Malaysia at the weekend.
Gaza – conflict
ShelterBox has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development to provide aid to people in Gaza following on-going conflict in the region.
250 boxes have been packed this week and will leave Cornwall on Monday. This batch will serve to test the pipeline before a further 250 boxes are sent.
Niger – flooding Last updated: Today
Overview: Heavy rains and subsequent flooding have affected Niamey, Tillaberri and Dosso regions amongst others.
ShelterBox are working with Plan who originally requested 2,000 ShelterBoxes. So far, 200 have been distributed, with more due to be drip-fed from prepositioned stock in Accra, Ghana.
ShelterBox signed an MOU with Plan and a shipment of 200 ShelterBoxes has been distributed in country. 368 ShelterBoxes have now arrived in Niger and are due to be distributed soon.

Pakistan – flooding
Overview: Areas of southern Punjab have suffered severe flooding throughout the last few months and a request was made to ShelterBox to help people through the winter.
1,000 shelter repair kits and 224 ShelterBoxes are en route by sea to Pakistan to assist flooding survivors.
Philippines – Typhoon Haiyan and Hagupit
Overview: Typhoon Haiyan, the largest storm ever to make landfall, struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013.
After the need for emergency shelter diminished, ShelterBox turned its attention to providing other types of aid to help communities rebuild.
ShelterBox is working in partnership with the international agencies Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development Handicap International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) on four separate projects to than 8,000 vulnerable people with a safe, durable home.
Toby Ash reported that all of the ongoing ‘build back stronger’ projects have stood up really well against Typhoon Hagupit. now back in the UK.
Plan has now distributed almost 2,000 tarpaulins to families affected by Typhoon Hagupit.
Iraq – conflict
Overview: Conflict in numerous governorates has displaced huge numbers of Iraqi people.
ShelterBox has prepositioned stock in Iraq and is working with ACTED to establish a camp to provide shelter for internally people (IDPs).
There are around 1,900 tents in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, which have all now been distributed.
The ShelterBox operations team is making provisions to supplement the existing stock of shelter Iraq with winterisation Sierra Leone – Ebola
Overview: Sierra Leone is one of three West African countries that have an outbreak of Ebola. Around 100 cases of the being reported daily in the country.
60 yellow and black ShelterBoxes have been used to contain foodstuffs on the private ship MV Gypsum Centennial. In SchoolBoxes have also been transported on the vessel, which will be delivered to the Sierra Leonean educational charity The mixture of items will then be distributed to people within areas affected by Ebola.
Syria and bordering countries – crisis
Overview: It’s been more than three and a half years since conflict broke out in Syria. Over 9 million people have been The majority remains within the borders.
ShelterBox has ensured distribution of aid through implementing partners including Hand in Hand for Syria (HIHS). Shelter kits, more tents, mosquito nets, water filters, water carriers, blankets, groundsheets, SchoolBoxes and solar lamps have sent to assist families in the region.
HIHS are continuing to distribute aid throughout the country including to areas in the Aleppo governorate and the Syrian/border.


This week's Illuminator 9 Jan 2015