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Rotary Celebrates 100 Years

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - Rotary is the first service organization created for service to mankind. This was in Illinois in February of 1905. Since then the concept of service to others has spread to over 1.2 million Rotarians in 31, 000 clubs in 166 countries worldwide.

Rotary’s first 100 years of service are filled with great milestones and turning points that have helped to define Rotary International. One of Rotary’s most significant developments was the creation of The Rotary Foundation of RI, whose programmes and projects have brought dignity and hope to millions of people round the world. Having started in 1917, the Foundation has since grown largely through the efforts of Rotarian contributions, and the Foundation has been able to provide more than $1.4 billion in grants for projects in more than 165 countries.

It is through the Foundation that Rotarians are helping to overcome hunger, poverty, disease, and illiteracy through a number of programmes and projects. Rotarians themselves provide support for many of these projects through financial contributions to The Rotary Foundation.

Perhaps the greatest achievement of Rotary’s first century has been through the PolioPlus programme, a rigorous programme that was launched in 1985, to rid the world of Polio. The programme is on its final leg, with moves to wipe out the poliovirus in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. It is only a matter of time before polio is eradicated forever because of the work of Rotary and its global health partners. By the time the world is certified polio-free, Rotary’s contribution to the global polio eradication effort will exceed US$600 million.

The Humanitarian Grants Programme is another special Rotary Foundation programme which supports Rotary club and district projects developed to address basic human needs worldwide.
The Ambassadorial Scholarships programme is the world’s largest privately funded international scholarships programme. More than 36,000 men and women from 110 nations have received Ambassadorial Scholarships to study abroad. During the 2003-2004 Rotary year US$16.1 million was committed to this project.

Locally, Rotary in St. Lucia has been just as active, with three clubs providing service – The Rotary Club of St. Lucia, The Rotary Club of Gros Islet and The Rotary Club of St. Lucia (South). These clubs have provided assistance in a number of areas under the themes of education and literacy, human development and health.

Many students have benefited from scholarships and have therefore been able to attend secondary school. Vocational service seminars have been convened at the UWI Centre and elsewhere. Additionally, Career Guidance talks and booklets have been delivered to Secondary School Students islandwide by Rotarians. Annually, Rotary has donated Vocational Awards to students for academic excellence at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, while Rotary Foundation Scholarships have been awarded to young adults wishing to study at universities overseas.

Throughout the years there have been contributions to the programmes of LUSAVE, the Dunnotar School, the Arthritis and Lupus Association and the School for the deaf.

The Victoria Hospital has received Mammography X-ray equipment. Artificial limbs and wheelchairs have been donated en masse to disabled persons island wide. In our own fight against the spread of polio, polio vaccines have been administered island wide.

An annual “Doctors in Action programme has been instituted whereby a Rotary health Clinic is provided free of charge to various disenfranchised communities island wide. Through this project, trained Physicians contribute their expertise towards the overall enhancement of health in St. Lucia.

The donation of the Mobile Blood Bank to the Ministry of Health has made a huge difference to the services of the Blood collection unit in St. Lucia, as members of this unit can now visit otherwise remote and or inaccessible areas to receive blood from potential donors.

The Salvation Army’s “Meals on Wheels” programme has become more efficient through the donation of a vehicle to help in the delivery of food items to deserving persons. Donations of groceries and other equipment have been made to the Marion Home, Adelaide and Francis Memorial Home, Malgretoute, St. Lucy’s Home, Corner Stone and the Children’s Home at Ciceron over the years as annual projects.

More recently, Rotary St. Lucia is engaged in the refurbishment and reconstruction of the Maternity wing of the St. Judes Hospital at Vieux Fort. This is being done in collaboration with a Rotary Club from the USA.
In addition to hands on projects that ultimately redound to the benefit of community at large, Rotary encourages the long-term development of teens and young adults through the Interact and Rotaract clubs. These clubs provide a forum where young people meet and from an early age, hone their leadership and organizational skills in a number of areas.

These are among the sterling projects that Rotary St. Lucia has engaged in, all done in the true spirit of Rotary, “Service Above Self.” And as we count down to the actual anniversary date – February 23rd 2005, Rotary has much to be proud of. We look forward to the next 100 years of Rotary in St. Lucia.

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