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John Fuller
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Welcome to Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean, 7020!
E-Club of the Caribbean
Service Above Self
We meet Saturdays at 9:00 AM
Online, Atlantic Standard Time
St. Thomas, USVI  00802
US Virgin Islands
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Board Meeting
Sep 12, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Club Training by Club Trainers
Sep 23, 2015
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Guest Speaker - provided by Rtn. Keturah
Sep 26, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Board Meeting
Oct 10, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Visit by DG Felix
Oct 17, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Club Training by Club Trainers
Oct 24, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Club Assembly #2
Oct 31, 2015
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
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H. Wein Dimetros
September 15
Pabs Amoury
September 22
Howard Brown
September 26
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Peter Prendergast
September 23
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John Fuller
October 2, 2002
13 years
Denise West
October 4, 2013
2 years
Camille Seaton
October 28, 2011
4 years
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President's Message
Camille Seaton
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Dear Rotarians and Guests,
It is Basic Education and Literacy month and we have officially launched our Signature Project – The Butterfly Storybook.  Let us use the next couple weeks to encourage the young authors to showcase their talent and participate in our annual contest through their local Rotary club in District 7020.
We continue our celebration of Basic Education and Literacy month and look forward to continued presentations coordinated by Rt. Keturah.  This Saturday September 12, we continue with our monthly Board Meeting.
Remember the date:     Just a reminder – DG Felix’s visit – October 17, 2015 at 9:00am EDT/8:00am EST.  We are looking forward to seeing you all there.
The Ryan Hreljac story
When Ryan was 6 years old, in Grade One, in Ontario, Canada, his Grade One teacher told the class about the lack of water in some parts of the world.  Ryan was particularly touched by this story – and could not believe that children were dying because they did not have water.  After all, he had lots of water – from the kitchen tap, for his baths and showers – and he just could not believe that others did not have the same luxury.
He asked the price of a well, and the initial story was about $70 Canadian.  He went home, asked his parents for the money, and was told that he would have to work for it – do household chores and yard work and he could earn the money.
In about three months, he had saved enough for the $70.  Then, he learned that the cost was not just $70, but much more like $2000. 
He was not deterred.  He continued to work, went to his school mates, went to the local Rotary Club, and got a story in the local newspaper, and the money began to pour in. 
He was able to build a well in Uganda for a school.  The children in Uganda paired up with the children in Ryan’s school – and they exchanged letters and became penpals. 
(Later, through another part of the story, Ryan’s family adopted Ryan’s pen-friend, Jimmy, and now Jimmy is living in Canada with Ryan’s family.)
At age 9, Ryan was able to travel to Uganda to see his well for himself.  The community greeted him in a spectacular way.
They were so grateful for the water that they have declared that every July 27 will be a holiday for the school – to celebrate Ryan’s Well.
Since that start, many more wells have been built through the Ryan’s Well Foundation.
Years later, just in 2013, Ryan was able to return to the site of his first well.  In one community, the women showed him and his parents who travelled with him where they used to get their water.
It was a shock to think that people would actually consider drinking the water from such a polluted source. 
But that is what they did – and they are ever so grateful for the well that brings them clean water now.
It’s the powerful story of the ability of one person to make a difference – and in this situation, it’s the powerful story of one young child’s vision that he wanted to make a difference.
In attendance – Lou, John, Devorath, AG Manoj, Kitty

Young writers get published with the help of Rotary

Two winning story writers in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, proudly receive their autographed copies of “The Butterfly StoryBook 2014."
Photo Credit: Diana White, Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean

In Jamaica, 11-year-old Jordan Allwood reads his classmates a story about a lonely puppy who finds a new family.

The puppy grows into a big dog, enjoys walks along the beach, and survives a frightening autumn day when he is caught in a trap before being rescued by his family. Jordan's story is one of hundreds that were written by children ages 7-11 for a writing contest organized by the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean 7020 and supported by clubs in 10 Caribbean nations.

The best stories, including Jordan's, were published in "The Butterfly StoryBook," produced by the club and sold through Rotary members and others are encouraged to donate copies to school libraries. Proceeds are used to support other literacy efforts.

In July, Rotary International and the International Reading Association (IRA) selected the Butterfly StoryBook project and a summer mobile library project run by the Rotary Club of Ellensburg Morning, Washington, USA, to receive two $2,500 awards from the Pearson Foundation. The awards recognize projects in which Rotary clubs and local IRA-affiliated reading councils collaborate to strengthen literacy in local and international communities. Rotary and the IRA have been project partners since 2002.

Diana White, a past district governor and member of the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean 7020, says she got the idea for the story contest after a visit to the headquarters of Rotary International in Britain and Ireland (RIBI), which holds a number of well-publicized youth contests every year. White said a project that involved drafting rules and promoting a contest was perfect for the e-club. It turned to clubs throughout the district to solicit entries from local schools.

In 2013, the contest's first year, 200 children contributed stories. This year, 300 young writers took part. Each club selects three local winners, who receive certificates. Then a panel of judges from the e-club chooses 10 stories from among all of those to include in "The Butterfly StoryBook." Each of those young authors receives $50 in books.

"It's been a great shot in the arm for our club, which only just chartered last year," says White. "We tried to think of things we could do specifically that didn't require everyone getting together in one place. This project has been more successful than we could have imagined and has been a great source of pride for our members."

This year, the e-club provided a free copy of the e-book to the Jamaica Reading Association, an IRA-affiliated council, which used it in its annual Reading Week in April. The association signed an agreement with the club to further promote the contest throughout the Caribbean. Rotary clubs in the U.S. Virgin Islands purchased 500 copies for the Summer Reading Challenge held there. Clubs have also purchased copies to donate to schools in Canada, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, and the United Kingdom.

The contest rules required each story to have a Caribbean theme, because the e-club wanted to share the culture of the region while encouraging creative writing. University students in Haiti translated the stories into French and Haitian Creole free of charge. The books are also available in English and will soon be available in Spanish.

"I'm really excited how this has all turned out," says White. "We still have a long way we can go with this project. There's no limit how far these books can be promoted through the Internet."

The Rotary Club of Ellensburg Morning and the IRA council based at Central Washington University collaborated on the second project to receive a Pearson Foundation award. Mandi Laurent, a member of the council, got the idea for a bookmobile, or mobile library, after attending a conference on summer reading loss.

Volunteers from the Rotary club, the IRA council, the local Rotaract club, and the Ellensburg Education Foundation solicit books from a variety of sources, sort them by grade level, and accompany the bookmobile, a converted delivery truck, to its stops in low-income neighborhoods every Tuesday in July. This year, the education foundation raised $10,000 to purchase the truck it had been renting.

"We get a lot of smiles," says Laurent, who became a member of the Rotary club as a result of the project. "The children in these communities tend to be underserved, and many of them have very few books in their homes."

Many of the volunteers are educators, and they teach as they read books to the children. Laurent says she's also seen older children reading to their younger siblings.

"This past week, I went along with a third-grade teacher, and she said afterward how glad she was that she took part," Laurent says. "It's an eye-opening experience every time you go.


A dangerous idea offers hope for girls in Afghanistan

More than 400 girls, including these seven-year-old best friends, attend the Zabuli Education Center outside Kabul. Razia Jan (far right), a U.S. Rotarian who returned to her native Afghanistan, opened the school in 2008.
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation

In 2005, Razia Jan came up with a dangerous idea: to start a free private school for girls in her native Afghanistan. The Taliban were using extreme violence to keep girls from learning. In 2008, the year she opened the school, terrorists in the country -- armed with bombs, poison gas, guns, grenades, and acid -- killed 149 teachers, students, and employees in Afghan schools.

But Jan did not intend to let terrorists stop her. She approached Afghan Ministry of Education officials and persuaded them to donate a piece of land in a village 30 miles outside Kabul. Today, the Zabuli Education Center is in its sixth year and has a roster of more than 400 girls in kindergarten through ninth grade.

Without the school, many of the students never would have had the chance to receive an education. “I can feel a change happening in these girls and in this community,” says Jan, who moved back to Afghanistan after building a successful tailoring business in Duxbury, Massachusetts, USA. “Knowledge is something nobody can steal from them.”

The Rotarian magazine talked with her about her experience launching the school. 

The Rotarian: What made you return to Afghanistan to start a school for girls?

JAN: I had seen the conditions and how badly the girls were treated. I had to do something. I thought, “There are no schools for girls here. Why not build one?” At that time, I was the president of the Rotary Club of Duxbury, and we decided to hold a fundraiser. We raised $65,000 in one night. This was in 2005. In 2008, we held two events featuring Khaled Hosseini, author of the novels The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, which helped us raise more than $120,000. The place where we decided to build the school was a community of seven villages, a poor area, and they had never seen a girls’ school. My hope was that this school could help break the cycle of poverty.

Did you encounter any resistance?

JAN: When I first came to this village, a man came up to me and stared at me strangely. He said, “Sister, why are you standing here? Please go inside and sit with our women and have a cup of tea.” I replied, “I’m going to build this school. And I’m going to be standing here to build it. You have to get used to it. I don’t think I’m going to sit inside.” That was one of the first times a woman had challenged these men. The day before we opened the school, more men approached me. This time, there were four of them. “I hope you realize you still have a chance to change this school into a boys’ school,” they said to me. “Boys are the backbone of our community.” I replied, “Unfortunately, you are all blind. I want to give you some sight.” They turned around, and I never saw them again.

What changes has your school brought about in the girls and in the community?

JAN: One of the first things we do is to teach the girls how to write their father’s name. Then they take it home to show their parents. The fathers have come up to me, crying: “These girls can write my name, and I can’t.” That is a big moment. I have proved to the men of these seven villages that this is the best thing that’s happened for their daughters -- to become educated. The girls are more independent. They can talk to their father or talk to their mother and share their opinions. They can speak for themselves now. We were having a discussion in class one day and one of them stood up and said, “You shouldn’t worry about what the world thinks.” They couldn’t say this before.

What does the future look like for these girls?

JAN: I don’t want their education to end here. I would like them to go to college, but I see the difficulty in that. Next year, when the oldest girls reach 10th grade, I want to have a plan to extend their education by building a computer science center or a nursing facility. I will bring education to them if they can’t attend college. I will continue to give them as much freedom as I can, and a place in society where they can speak out. Gently but surely, we will give them a more promising future. 

about the Zabuli Education Center project

This story originally appeared in the December 2013 issue of The Rotarian



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