The club’s speaker on 23rd March 2022 was Francis Hodge, the International Service lead for South East District. Francis was asked by the District Governor (DG) to take on the role at the start of the new Rotary Year. Francis said he had concerns about the direction International Service was going and he willing took on the role; he had felt for a number of years that the area was being left behind. Yes, we have End Polio Now but that involves very few Rotarians in action as the majority of work is done through Foundation.
In his first month, three major disasters occurred across the world, floods in Germany, wild fires in Greece and an earthquake followed by a tropical storm in Haiti. There were no District funds to help so Francis wrote a report suggesting District set up a disaster fund, a suggestion that was turned down; individual clubs may make donations but not on the scale of a district fund so he was disappointed.. Two weeks before Francis’s visit to us the DG, in the light of the war against Ukraine, asked Francis to set up a Rapid Response Fund (RRF). The first response was to send cash to Rotary District 223 in Poland which country is receiving so many refugees. He urged our club along with others in the District to support the fund.
Francis hopes the RRF will continue and be able to support future disasters. He hopes to be able to secure a budget to enable him to bring International Service to the fore along with the other others of focus, and to get Rotary to turn its attention to “neglected places” which are not so high profile. He also urged clubs to make or renew contact clubs across the world.
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All those nominated are truly remarkable youngsters and you can read their story here. This article is an absolute must-read, highlighting the lengths young people go to help their family in times of need.more
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