In England I was a Rotarian and out of all the charity societies I believe Rotary to be the best. I did look at supporting NSPC and other charities but I was really shocked at how little of the money raised actually ended up on the causes they were meant to be helping, most of the monies going to “Fat cat” salaries and marketing. So for me Rotary stood out in front by miles. All of the local members are volunteers they give their time and skills free of charge and although a little of the yearly fee goes to Rotary International ALL of the rest of the money goes to where it is needed both locally and globally.
Not only are they International so wherever you travel throughout the world you will always have some fellow friends to call upon and you would be welcomed and helped in anyway that they can, but it is a charity that helps both International causes and more important to me local causes, and it is down to the local group of Rotarians where the money goes in support of those communities.
For instance: they may help or buy outright a new ambulance, or other medical equipment for local hospitals, or they might have a local family who have a talented child but cannot afford to send them on to further education then Rotary can help, or they might help marshal local events all free of charge, the causes are endless and are decided each year by the incoming President and the committee as a whole.
Our President at the time Fiona Chalmers followed by Alastair Muir (who for all his hard work and support of Rotary has just be made a Paul Harris Fellow), wanted to raise funds to build five houses in Africa close to the hospital so that families, who travel often by foot for miles and miles on end, would have a safe place to stay whilst they supported their sick ones. Locally we brought new fibrillators for the local paramedics who where on first call to all emergencies, we helped a young student realize her dreams and helped towards her college tuition whilst support a host of other smaller local charities with donations ranging from £500-£2000. So we were all really making a difference.
I was in Calne Rotary Club in England; we raised our funds by our annual Charity Ball, A fun Run around the beautiful grounds of Bowood House and an annual Motorbike Meet. Each member contributed their time and their skills and although we were a small group we raised more money per head for our charities than many of the bigger clubs.
So it isn’t surprising that I would root out the local Rotary branch here. I did and it is in Lucca. I had been trying to contact them on and off for three years but I guess the information on the website at that time hadn’t been updated. So one Thursday I decided to “gatecrash” the meeting, finding out where & the time they met I turned up just as they were going to their meeting. I wasn’t allowed to join them that week, but they would be having a local meet in a couple of weeks and so I made an appointment to go. (A good job I wasn’t on holiday and just needed friendship!).
Anyway when I finally went to the meeting they made me feel very welcome until the time that I investigated joining them – they do not allow women into their club but I nearly choked on my drink when they said Richard my husband could join.
Firstly, Richard absolutely hates clubs of this type for any reason good or bad its just a no – no for him. Secondly, I am a business woman and I have a company here in Italy and I work in m my own right. I wasn’t upset, a little annoyed maybe but unfortunately for Rotary International it probably happens all over the world, and I had experienced it once before in England, in a small out of town little village club, then I was told that if I had joined the other ten members would leave (but they were all well into their 70’s, so I thought to leave them as they were).
I do find it quite laughable in this day and age that women still have to fight for their right to be included or treated as equals. The men of Rotary Lucca said “their women have fear” if they allowed me to join them. Now what does this say of their women or me in fact, what do they think would happen? Would I run off with all of their men?
I do not want to knock the good work that I know that all the members of Rotary International Lucca do, their Caccia di Tessoro and their other events raise a lot of money and I have no doubt that it will go to well worthy causes.
I solely question in this day and age their not allowing women to join their club.
Now there aren’t any railings for me to chain myself too, and the Palazzo Bernardini is far too beautiful to have me attached to any part of it, so I shall just have to resign myself to starting my own club. But then as the Assistant District Governor kindly advised me that in Italy this “isn’t that simple”, but you all know me, give me a brick wall and I will find a way to knock it down. So I have now written to the District Governors and await their response.
I still believe that Rotary International is the best and I still want to be involved, without doing full sales on myself I know that I have a lot to offer this organization, so I am looking for the support of you ALL and help me to be recognized as a worthy cause.
As you all know I am organizing the Ballo di Benificenza “La Notte delle Principesse” and I would like to use Rotary International as my major charity although I am running out of time for this.
Rotary is about friendship and helping people where you live and around the World.
The impact of Rotary upon the local community and the world today cannot be under estimated. Rotary consists of 1.2 million members in more than 200 countries of the world. In the UK there are some 57,000 Rotarians in Clubs, in towns and cities everywhere.
Over the last 23 years the biggest project of the Rotary movement around the world has been fighting to eradicate polio. The results have been amazing. Polio is now reduced to two main strains in a small number of countries. In November 2007, Bill and Melissa Gates gave the Rotary movement $100 million to help finish the job and eradicate polio forever.
The Rotary Clubs of Calne and Chippenham helped many groups and individuals over the last year, including the local leisure centre, the local scouts group, St John Ambulance Water Survival Boxes; they help to promote a range of Youth initiatives plus helping many individual requests for help.
Both clubs have 60 members of which 8 are ladies, so we are still a little outnumbered but none the less we bring a lot to the table. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you about the Lucca Rotary Club and how they help and support the local community but I know 100% that they too will have worthy causes.
So if you would like to know more about Rotary International and help support me then contact me firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you would consider joining a local club if and when I set one up.
painter and photographer - started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996