Even before devastating earthquakes hit Nepal and surrounding territory in April and May of 2015, the plight of numerous children in that Himalayan nation was desperate. Many young children were being sold by their parents to work in Indian factories; young girls were often forced into prostitution. The Blue Butterfly Foundation, created by Lauren Yanks, has helped save over 2,000 children from trafficking, the use of force or fraud to cause humans to provide labor or sex against their will. In this radio interview, Ms. Yanks tells the powerful story of how the Blue Butterfly Foundation was founded and named. She urges listeners to become aware that their pursuit of evermore inexpensive items and food is contributing to this international tragedy.
The ongoing Vassar project for improving education, health, women’s economy, water purity, and forests in Chermaitre, Haiti, is described by the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Vassar-Haiti Project, Lila Meade, and Vassar student Sarah Oliver. Andrew and Lila Meade founded the project in 2001, partly in a response to the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Its original goal was simply a lunch project at a school in poverty-stricken Chermaitre, but it has evolved greatly. So far more than 350 Vassar students have been involved. The project has also attracted the attention and considerable help from the Poughkeepsie-Arlington Rotary Club. One of the major sources of funding is an annual art show and auction featuring work by native Haitian artists.
RadioRotary co-hosts Jonah Triebwasser and Sarah O’Connell interview Rotarians Pat Green and Gail Dejmal of the Monroe-Woodbury club about their participation in Project Amigo and about the humanitarian activities of their Rotary club. Project Amigo consists of a number of ways that Rotarians and others can improve the lives of the rural poor in Colima State, Mexico, many of them migrant workers. It began informally in 2984 when California Rotarian Tom Rose lost his way in Colima and came upon the small village of Cofradía de Suchitlàn. Recognizing the unmet needs of the villagers, Rose and his wife Susan Hill began to provide assistance, which eventually blossomed into Project Amigo, which today brings volunteers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to Colima to help with literacy projects, health projects, and more. One way volunteers, such as Pat Green and Gail Dejmal had helped is participating in “work weeks,” that are devoted to eye care or literacy. Also discussed on the program are some of Monroe-Woodbury’s projects, such as ringing the bells for donations during the holiday season.
RadioRotary co-host Jonah Triebwasser, in Sydney, interviews Rotarians from the United States who are also visiting the Convention and others who work with Rotary. Kurt Johnsen from the New Windsor-Cornwall Rotary in Orange County, New York, describes the Rotary Foundation and its progress in the fight to eradicate polio. His wife, Ana Johansen, talks about E-Club 7210, which—although based in District 7210 has members from around the world—provides credits for a Rotary meeting via the Internet as well as doing community service. Past District Governor Ernie Montane, from the Tucson Sunrise Club in Arizona recounts how a visit to West Africa some years ago led to 88 Rotary clubs working together to provide clean water and other services in Togo and Niger. Montane was at the Convention a day early to participate in WASRAG (the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group). Liz Odell was representing ShelterBox, the compact box that supplies tents and supplies in disasters. Rotarian Floyd Hammer, from Iowa discusses the origin of Outreach, which began as a construction project at a leper-care facility and not, among other projects, packages three kinds of meals for needy people all over the world. Cat O’Brien reports on Rotary Peace Fellowships, master’s degree and professional programs centering on peace that are paid for by the Rotary Foundation.