A look at Rotary projects around the globe to assist community organizations

United Nations, England, Sri Lanka all countries have contributed hugely in raising money for important issues through rotary clubs

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United Nations

The longest “shot ski” is a friendly competition between the rotary clubs in the ski resort towns of Park City, Utah, and Breckenridge, Colorado. Shot glasses are used to hold shots of whisky, and participants raise them simultaneously to compete. In October, the Park City Sunrise Rotary Club reclaimed the top spot when 1,363 revellers gathered along a street to collectively sip rye whisky (or apple cider) from hundreds of shot skis arranged end to end. According to club member Connie Nelson, the event raised more than $43,000 for grants to support neighbourhood organizations. She acknowledges that while on a “reconnaissance” trip to prosperous winter resorts, she and another club member, Mike Luers, were inspired by the Colorado club. “Their main street was closed for a festival. I looked at Mike and he looked at me and we said, ‘We can beat that,’” she says. The festive affair is “branding for our Rotary club,” Nelson adds. “We not only sell out but we have people on a waiting list to try to get on the line. It’s not just to sample the alcohol. It’s about the getting together, the unique community sharing.”


In Honduras, where academic attainment is low, about 40% of teenagers do not attend high school. To tackle the problem, the Rotary clubs of Tegucigalpa Sur and Peterborough, Ontario, joined together. The clubs, who have previously worked together on initiatives, built a teacher training centre in the municipality of Lepaterique in 2018 and provided educational supplies including books. Most recently, the clubs collaborated with the nation’s Ministry of Education and a nonprofit organisation to train elementary school teachers in literacy. “Sixteen-hour workshops are being held on a rotating basis with 160 teachers” representing 62 schools, says Marie Press, a member of the Peterborough club. “The feedback has been incredibly positive.”


As part of its centenary celebration, the Halifax Rotary Club constructed a picturesque overlook atop the town along the historic Magna Via trail. Markers including the Wainhouse Tower, Borough Market, Square Church spire, Halifax gibbet (a re-creation of the guillotine’s 16th-century predecessor), and the Town Hall—which was created by Sir Charles Barry, the man behind Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament—are all illustrated on panels. QR codes take users to the club website’s landmark descriptions. “The views are magnificent and span the horizon,” says Ken Robertshaw, a past governor of District 1040. The $25,000 project, dedicated in late June, was funded by sponsoring businesses and individual donors, including Robertshaw, who contributed in honor of his late wife, Pauline. The Town Council agreed to maintain the overlook. “Given the history of the site, it seemed like an appropriate place for us to build something that celebrates the rich heritage of the town,” Robertshaw says.

Sri Lanka

For a group of teenage Sri Lankan actors who take their Shakespeare very seriously and have the backing of Rotarians, the world is their stage. Tens of thousands of people have taken part in the All Island Inter-School Shakespeare Drama Competition for almost fifty years. Known as the “Shakes,” almost a thousand children participated in the September competition last year, which was sponsored by the Colombo YMCA and the Rotary Club of Colombo North. The organisers selected eight plays for the ensembles to perform thirty-minute sequences in. “They are judged mainly on acting, and marks are also allocated for direction, teamwork, and effects,” Club President Lasika Jayamaha says.

By: Gursharan Kaur

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