How a simple school project in India became a global grant

Students sit at their new desks that were provided through a previous grant between the Rotary Club of Bikaner, India, and Kennebunk Portside, Maine, USA.
Photo Credit: Courtesy Cornelia Stockman, Rotary Club of Kennebunk Portside, Maine

Two years ago, U.S. Rotary members in Maine set out to improve the education system in Bikaner, Rajasthan, an Indian city near the border of Pakistan.

The Rotary Club of Kennebunk Portside chose Bikaner because club member Rohit Mehta was originally from the area and had connections there. Mehta put the club in contact with Rotarians in India to provide desks for four government-run schools.

But when community leaders returned with a request for more desks, the Maine Rotarians decided they had to think bigger. The Rotary Foundation had rolled out its new grant model, which required that the club do more than just purchase school furniture to qualify for global grant funding. Club leaders put their heads together and turned a simple project to provide school desks into a global grant project by adding a campaign to recruit new students and professional development for teachers.

“Because the new grant standards required further thought, a superior grant emerged,” notes Peter Johnson, Rotary Foundation chair for District 7780, which covers Maine. “Additional questions were asked, which boil down to, ‘OK, they need benches [desks] and you want to help them get their benches, but what’s going to happen with these benches?’ The standards dramatically improved the project’s scope, tone, and tenor.”

The Rotary clubs worked with School Management Committees — teams of school administrators, community leaders, and Bikaner Rotary members — to determine what each school needed most. They discovered that the children were unschooled and had never sat in a classroom before. So the committees decided it would be easier to get the students to commit to a three-day-a-week lesson plan. That left the other two days for the same benches to be used for teacher training.

“The teachers at the government schools are well qualified, but they provide an education within the framework of their stipulated syllabus only,” says Man Mohan Kalyani, project leader for the Bikaner club. “This does not include many things that are needed for the overall development of the students. So we set about supporting both teachers and students with these additional skills.”

The global grant will provide desks for 1,685 students. The training will target 240 teachers. In addition to instruction in basic subjects, the curriculum aims to improve students’ self-confidence, communication skills, leadership skills, and personality development. The clubs expect the program will have even better results than the earlier shipment of desks, which helped improve grades by 23 percent in the four recipient schools. Those results alone led regional authorities to select two of the schools as sites for annual examinations, meaning local students did not have to travel 15 miles to another city to take the exam.

Cornelia Stockman, a member of the Maine club, traveled to Bikaner early in the grant planning process. She said she was impressed by the level of commitment and professionalism displayed by the School Management Committees.

Stockman said local families who can afford it send their children to private schools with classrooms and desks. By contrast, students at the government-owned schools sit on the ground in an open area surrounded by security walls and gates. There is no compulsory attendance beyond sixth grade. The local education experts insist the students are more likely to stay in school if they have a desk to sit at, Stockman says.

Mehta is thankful the grant was able to help his native country.

“I thought it would be great if we could do something with a region that I had ties to,” Mehta says. “And good education is fundamental to the quality of life.”

Stockman said even though the process of expanding the project’s scope was not without bumps, the Bikaner community responded to every need as the grant application evolved.

“We had to go back to them three or four times, but every time we asked them to do something else, they did it,” she recalls. “They never gave up, and did everything necessary to meet the requirements of the global grant.”

Rotary News


Finishing What He Started

April marks the 60th anniversary of the announcement that Jonas Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was safe and effective; his work is playing a more important role than ever in securing a polio-free future

Dr Jonas Salk with one of the first children to receive the vaccine.

Dr Jonas Salk with one of the first children to receive the vaccine.

Some moments in history carry a greater significance than others. Sixty years ago on the 12th of April, a vaccine developed by Jonas Salk proved to be safe and effective in protecting children against polio. This gave the world one of the critical tools needed to begin the fight against the crippling disease. Since then, the polio programme has been one of the most successful public health programmes in history, reducing polio cases reduced by 99%. Now, the final 1% is tantalizingly within reach. As we commemorate Jonas Salk’s remarkable achievement, the vaccine that began this journey – the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) – is playing an important role in the final steps towards eradication, and ensuring that the virus will never be able to return.

An incurable threat

For thousands of years, polio was a leading cause of disability, arriving without warning and causing lifelong paralysis. Against the backdrop of increasingly devastating outbreaks in the United States, Jonas Salk was born in 1914. In 1916 alone, over 27 000 people were paralyzed and 6 000 killed in America.

In 1928, with ever-higher numbers of cases, iron lungs were introduced to help patients breathe, keeping many alive who would have died only years before. Yet, in many cases, this restricted otherwise healthy people to a life of reliance on these machines.

The discovery that changed the world

In 1908, Dr Karl Landsteiner discovered that polio is caused by a virus. This marked the start of several decades during which understanding of the disease began to grow, setting the stage for scientists to begin to work on a way to prevent it.

At the New York University School of Medicine in 1938, Dr Jonas Salk began to work on an influenza vaccine. Here he learned techniques that would later enabled him to develop the inactivated polio vaccine at the virus research program he launched at the University of Pittsburgh in 1947.

By 1952, Salk and his colleagues announced that they had developed an injectable vaccine against polio. Following small trials in the Pittsburgh area of the United States, Canada, the US and Finland launched trials on an unprecedented scale, involving 1.8 million children. Finally, in April 1955, Salk’s vaccine was declared “safe, effective and potent.” By 1957, cases in America had dropped by almost 90%, and by 1979, stopped altogether.

With the development of the oral polio vaccine (OPV) by Dr Albert Sabin in 1961, the world was given the tools to both stop outbreaks, and strengthen and build immunity to ensure that children could grow up without the threat of polio.

A global focus

Despite the dramatic impact of the vaccine in America, polio continued to affect some 350,000 people in 125 countries around the world. In 1988, driven by Rotary International who had become crucial advocates in the fight against polio, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined Rotary to launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Since then, the GPEI has supported governments to end transmission of polio globally. The combination of the oral polio vaccine and IPV led to the eradication of polio in the Americas, in the Western Pacific, and Europe. With the declaration of the WHO’s South-East Asia Region as polio-free in 2014, 80% of the world’s populations now live in polio-free regions – a public health milestone that was unimaginable when Salk first began his work on vaccines.

The role of the inactivated polio vaccine today

Now, on 12 April 2015, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the introduction of Salk’s IPV we are reminded of more than 10 million people walking today who would otherwise have been paralyzed by polio.

In the past six months, just two countries have reported cases of wild poliovirus: Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a polio-free world comes into sharper focus, Salk’s vaccine is once again demonstrating its importance. In 2015, 120 countries are introducing his IPV into their routine immunization systems (some countries, like Nigeria, already have). With the phased removal of OPV crucial in order to completely eradicate all polioviruses, reaching all children with IPV will be essential in securing the gains made against polio for future generations.

– See more at:

Presidents Elect Training Seminar Joblink Plus Tamworth – 18th and 19th April 2015

Gift to the World
Presidents Elect Training Seminar  FOR IN-COMING PRESIDENTS & PARTNERS
Joblink Plus Tamworth – 18th and 19th April 2015
N.B. Enter from Byrnes Lane at Rear of JoblinkPlus

‘If you have been a President before, your experience is really important and will provide important guidance to first time Presidents from other clubs.’

Day Time Dress: Tidy casual.
Saturday Night’s Dinner Dress: Smart Casual.

Time Details Presenters
11.30am Registration with Lunches provided Host Clubs (Tamworth)





District Trainer (Brian Beesley )

District Governor (Greg Moran)

DGE (Maurie Stack)

12.15pm RI President’s Address

Introduction – Dist. Leadership Team

District Strategic Plan

Presidential Citation


Governor Elect Maurie Stack


12.30pm Community Service Director Annette Mackay
12.45pm International Service Director Greg Moran
1.00pm Youth


Director Di Christian
1.15 pm Membership Development and Retention


Director Nick Wright


1.30 pm Ideas Exchange

Opportunity for Presidents to discuss how they may meet IRPE Ravi’s goals – and to compare notes as to plans for year ahead.

Divided into Cluster groups of (1&2) (3&4) (5&6) (7+8+9)

Assistant Governors to lead.

Maurie Brian and any Keynote Speakers to float

2.30 pm Accessing Grants

The smarter way to raise funds

“The Grants Guy” – Kieran Fraser
3.00 pm Afternoon Tea
3.15 PM Rotary Foundation Mark Anderson

Senior Coordinator Fund Development -Rotary Foundation

3.45 PM Rotary Foundation Goals for our year


Jo Wilkin; Maurie
4 PM


Using the RI Website


Ivan Burrell

Social Media – Rotary Down Under

4:30 PM Ideas Exchange   – Foundation, RI Website, Social Media, Seeking Grants

Clusters 1, 3, 5, 7, 9

Clusters 2 4 6 8






5.00pm End of formal session
6.30pm Pre-diner drinks Venue
7.00pm Dinner



Sunday 26 February 2011

     Time Details Presenters
8 AM Announcements


Trainer Brian
8:10 AM Partners Project

Rotary Australia Organ Donor Program


Deidre Stack


8:20 AM Compliance Finance Chair Michael Roohan

District Secretary Elizabeth Tollis

8:40 AM District Governor visits




8:50 AM Approval of District Budget


Treasurer Ian Croker
9 AM Public Image

Understanding the Media

Director Simon Chamberlain
9:15 AM Vocational Services Awards

Emergency Services Awards

Policeman of the Year Award

Teachers Recognition Dinner

Director Joyce Drury
9:30 AM Introduction to Basecamp


10 AM Morning Tea


10:20 AM Launch of Website Bruce Hemmett
10:35 AM District Celebration 15/17 April 2016 Maurie
10:45 AM Seoul Convention DGE Ian Jackson
10:55 AM RYLA and NYSF
11:10 AM District Assembly 3/5 and 24/5

and District Muster

11:20 AM Ideas Exchange

Clusters 1, 3, 5, 7, 9

Clusters 2 4 6 8




12:20 PM Closing Comments Maurie
12:30 PM Finish and lunch
Safe journey home

Other details: 
At all levels of Rotary we are aware of cost. For training of all our teams there is limited District finance to provide the basic training materials and unfortunately nothing to cover attendee’s accommodation or meals.  You can see from the program your training requires an overnight stay.  It is up to each Club to offer an attending President Elect a reimbursement of costs if that is required.  For this weekend the Total catering costs will be $70. This includes Saturday sandwich lunch, afternoon tea and Buffet Dinner plus Sunday morning tea and lunch.

If in an emergency you are unable to attend PETS, it will be necessary to contact DGE Maurie, asap. Mobile 0427 668 821 or

The workplace of tomorrow; Are you ripe for disruption?; What business are you REALLY in?



In this March Newsletter edition, Michael McQueen outlines 6 workplace trends of the future, explores the key indicators that you are ripe for disruption, and highlights the importance of knowing what business you are REALLY in.



The workplace of tomorrow

In this recent article for Business Insider Magazine, Michael highlights 6 key trends that will profoundly change how (and where) we work in the short- to near-term.From freelancers to radical flexibility, the workplace of the future will be a very different and exciting place. Are you ready for what lies ahead?

Are you ripe for disruption?

Disruption is defined as change that is revolutionary rather than evolutionary and it abounds in a modern era (consider Blockbuster video as a case in point).Michael was recently interviewed by ‘The Age’ for an article exploring which industries and business models are likely to be disrupted in the coming years – and how anyone can know if they’re ripe for disruption.

To read the article, click here.


What business are you REALLY in?

One of the biggest mistakes any business or organisation can make is to lose sight of WHO they are and WHY they exist and instead define themselves by WHAT they do.Looking at how brands like Kodak fell into this trap, in this video clip Michael highlights why being ruthlessly clear on what business you are in is vital if you hope to stay relevant as times change.

To watch the clip, click here.

AUS > 1300 701 915
USA > 1 888 841 7742
PO Box 334 North Sydney
228 Park Ave S #91164


Polio vaccinators make significant headway in Nigeria

A polio worker marks the side of a house in Kano, Nigeria, to indicate the children were not at home and a follow-up visit will needed to ensure they are vaccinated.
Photo Credit: Diego Ibarra Sánchez
More photos are available by copying this link into a new webpage

Nigeria is closer than ever to eradicating polio, riding a successful effort to reach children in seven northern states at highest risk for the disease.

“Rotarians have [gone] into remote areas of the country by car, canoe, motorbike, and even on foot to ensure every child gets the vaccine,” says Rotary’s Nigeria PolioPlus Committee Chair Tunji Funsho.

In Katsina state, members of the Nigeria PolioPlus Committee (NPPC) recently met with leaders of two communities notoriously opposed to immunization, mainly on religious grounds and in protest of the lack of basic health care. They persuaded the leaders to endorse vaccination by obtaining government assurance that mobile health camps would provide free checkups, medications, immunization against diseases besides polio, and other services.

“It was very encouraging to see the positive impact of engaging these leaders . . . witnessed by the huge turnout of crowds at the health camps and women willingly presenting their children for vaccination in households, quranic schools, and other locations,” reports the NPPC. “[The camps] are one of the proven ‘quick wins’ to untie the knots of persistent noncompliance in some settlements across the high-risk states.”

Along with Pakistan and Afghanistan, Nigeria has never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus. However, it has recorded only three polio cases so far this year (as of 3 June), down from 24 cases for the same period in 2013.

The NPPC began providing funding for the health camps in May. And in response to community demands for clean water, some Rotary clubs are sponsoring projects to install boreholes.

In high-risk states like Katsina, “the mere participation of community leaders, allowing their own children to be vaccinated or pronouncing the acceptance of OPV [oral polio vaccine] is enough to encourage community members to allow the vaccination teams into their homes,” says Funsho.

Rotary field coordinators are helping close immunization gaps in northern Nigeria by gaining public support from government and community leaders through providing technical support, and monitoring the quality of vaccination teams.

“In the security challenged areas, measures such as ‘fire walling,’ which ensures that children going in and out of Borno and Yobe states are immunized, have been put in place,” says Funsho. Teams of health workers and security agency personnel also use “hit and run” tactics to immunize children and withdraw in two days’ time or less, he adds.

The NPPC promotes public awareness of the need to eradicate polio through community billboards and posters, along with distributing T-shirts, caps, and aprons to health workers. And it has engaged national celebrities like musician and actor Sani Musa Danja to encourage vaccine acceptance in communities where pockets of opposition still exist.

In April, Rotary joined the Federal Ministry of Health in sponsoring the Nigeria Polio Summit. Governors of high-risk states, religious and traditional leaders, national and global health officials, Rotary members, and others focused on best practices in the country’s drive to become polio free.

Funsho and others are optimistic that Nigeria can stop polio transmission by the end of 2014, one of the goals of the . Rotary is a leading partner in the .

“The greatest challenge . . . will be the preparations for the 2015 elections,” said Dr. Oyewale Tomori, chair of Nigeria’s Expert Review Committee on Polio Eradication, in a recent . “Every election year since 2003 has been characterized by abandonment of good governance, and subsequently accompanied by a surge in polio cases.”

To help Nigeria seize the opportunity to end polio this year, Rotary released $7 million to the GPEI to in the country. And business leader and philanthropist has contributed $2.25 million to PolioPlus.

“The Nigerian government, now supported by the international community, is doing all that it can to eliminate the widespread violence, abductions, and terrorism,” says Sir Emeka, a member of the Rotary Club of Awka GRA and Rotary’s polio ambassador in Nigeria. “Peace would facilitate polio eradication, but we cannot sit by and wait until that time comes. We must do what we can to find ways to end polio now.”

Rotary News


No child should have to suffer from polio

By Isabeli Fontana

As a Rotary polio ambassador, I’m currently in India, participating in our vaccination program. I think everyone should have the best start in life, so as a mother, I made sure my two sons received the vaccine against polio.

The story of Rotary’s fight against polio is inspiring, and it always gives me hope to see the impact of Rotary’s work when I travel. For me, beauty is anything that makes you happy. The work of Rotary and health workers is certainly beautiful.

I can see the happiness in the faces of 500 schoolchildren when I visited their school in Uttar Pradesh. I also saw happiness in the eyes of the health workers who helped India become polio-free last year. I helped to vaccinate children as part of my visit. It’s so simple really — two drops to prevent a lifetime of suffering.

But I also felt sadness when I toured St. Stephen’s Hospital in New Delhi, the only place in India with a special ward to treat children suffering from the terrible effects of polio, before the disease was controlled.

No child should have to suffer from a preventable disease, and seeing the children in St. Stephen’s reminded me that the fight is not over.

It gives me great pride to know that the next Rotary Convention is in São Paulo where I live. I hope all the Rotary members visiting enjoy my wonderful country. I also hope they’ll join me in doing all they can to end polio. I want every mother to know that her children can have a beautiful, healthy life.

Rotary wins prestigious Silver Telly for AIDS documentary

A produced by Rotary’s broadcast media department that features Rotary member Marion Bunch and her work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in underprivileged African communities won two 2015 .

The prestigious awards are given annually to the finest film and video productions. Rotary’s documentary, “Rotary Family Health Days” received a Silver Telly, the highest honor, in the online video-documentary category, and a Bronze Telly in the online video-branded content and entertainment category. The documentary was shown by the South African Broadcasting Corporation and throughout Africa.

“What we tried to accomplish with the film was to get the good news and the good deeds out there so that the non-Rotary world can see it,” says producer Andrew Chudzinski. “It was a great collaborative project.”

The film documents the tremendous burden HIV/AIDS places on African families and communities. It covers the journeys of two women: South African grandmother Me Maria, who is raising her two grandsons whose parents died of AIDS, and Bunch, from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, who became a global advocate for AIDS prevention and the inspiration for after she lost her son to the disease.

“Because of that one single tragedy, my life’s journey changed dramatically, from a very engaged businesswoman to a warrior on AIDS and advocate of human rights,” Bunch told senior White House staff in October, when she was honored as one of 10 for 2014. A member of the Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Bunch is the founder and CEO of Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention, a group of members that collaborates with Rotary clubs and districts on health-related projects.

The Rotary Health Days project, now in its fifth year and supported by Rotary clubs in Africa, has grown to deliver free basic health care, including HIV/AIDS screening and other preventive services, to underserved communities in Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda. It began in 2010, when Ugandan Stephen Mwanje, then governor of District 9211, asked Bunch if the Rotarian group would organize a multisite, comprehensive health event.

“The tremendous burden on the families of those infected by HIV/AIDS — particularly for older people caring for their terminally ill children and raising their grandchildren, and for children orphaned by this disease — is incalculable,” says Bunch. “This is a story of people coming together to help fight this global killer and other preventable diseases.”

The award-winning documentary was a joint project of the public relations and broadcast media staff at Rotary’s world headquarters in Evanston, Illinois. In addition to Chudzinski, producer Vivian Fiore, video editor Todd Murphy, and executive producer Stephen Guenther worked on the film.

“We went through many different outlines, thoughts, and angles, and worked closely with Marion [Bunch] on it,” says Fiore. “It evolved into a better piece than we all imagined.”

In 2012, Rotary won a Silver Telly for its documentary “

Rotary News