By Enrico Giuseppe Ferro, Past President of the Yale University Rotaract Club (New Haven, USA), winner of the 2013 “Rotaract Outstanding Project Award for the USA, Canada and Caribbean Districts”.
In 2009, I took part in a Rotary Youth Exchange to Canandaigua (New York), which taught me many things about teamwork. I worked side by side with Rotarians and other exchange students to develop strategies to enhance our service efforts. For example, we organized themed food nights in which we would cook and sell typical dishes from our countries as an opportunity to fundraise but also promote awareness on our ongoing projects. I realized how through Rotary I could work with people from many different perspectives to tackle urgent problems in our communities.
As a member of the Interact club of Cagliari, Italy, I had previously experienced the benefits of teaming up with Rotaractors and Rotarians to work on a common goal. This teamwork again proved essential as my Rotaract club based at Yale University rolled out a project for a vocational training center to benefit the people of Baste, a rural village nearby Mumbai, India.
Enrico with one of the trainees enrolled in the sewing course offered at the vocational training center in Baste, India, which the Yale Rotaract Club members visited in January 2013.
Our center, supported by a US$40,000 global grant from the Rotary Foundation, offers courses in welding, sewing, mechanics, and medical training for paramedics. Participants gain practical skills that help them secure jobs that could earn them US$80-100 a month.
In January 2013, I visited the project site with other members of my club and worked with the paramedics we were training to teach hygiene to villagers in Baste. I felt an overwhelming sense of reward as I witnessed the tangible results of our project. I realized how, through Rotary, we were giving this community the tools they needed to better their lives and gain economic independence.
One of the really great things about Rotary is how it brings together people of all ages and backgrounds to tackle problems from a fresh perspective. On Tuesday, September 24, I will be joining with others in a free webinar, “Lifecycle of a Service Project (Part 1)” where we will discuss real examples of how we have accomplished this through sustainable projects.
This, the first of a five-part series, will provide a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about the different lifecycles of a service project, from planning and locating resources to promoting the project and evaluating its impact.
Encourage district and club leaders to learn more about Enrico’s project by registering today!