International Service

By PDG Abe Feder, Microcredit Committee Chair
Except for the newest of Rotarians, most of us know that Rotary members and clubs are often involved in Global Grants and international service projects in almost every country in the world. But when these grants are funded, and these projects take place, except for a very few of us, we never get to visit those projects and the individuals that we impact.
The Arizona Rotary Microcredit Program is an exception. Funded by three Global Grants, Arizona Rotarians have been visiting the program borrowers in Hermosillo and Nogales Mexico for nearly nine years, meeting with those whose lives we help improve.
Recently, Rotarians and District Leaders, including DG Larry Horton (5495) and DGN Sue Archibald (5500) and others took a four-day trip to Hermosillo to learn about and visit with the beneficiaries of our program. During these visits, it’s wonderful to see the working relationship between FinReg staff and our borrowers.
On this trip we were guided by Enrique Terrones who showed that he has a special connection to many of our clients that we visited-he seemed to know all of them very well!
I’ve asked Mesa West Rotary Club PE Colleen Coons, one of those on this trip, to share her impressions:
“My four days of enlightenment on how Districts 5495, 5500 and 4100 are People of Action and truly making an impact in the community.  Two days are simple travel, the proximity of our districts to Mexico, allows us to make a real impact in a country that has 125 million people with over 50% living in poverty.  
"Learning about the Micro Credit Program, and the definition by the World Bank on Micro Finance – this program brings 'Financial Inclusion' to benefit the poorest households in Sonora. 
"We made over 14 visits to the existing borrowers in the Rotary/FinReg Micro Credit Program.  An example, while communicating with a borrower, Luis Oberto who has holes in his shirt, wrapped in a tattered jacket to keep warm, front teeth missing but a huge smile ear to ear as he spoke with us.  The Rotary Micro Credit Program with FinReg: Business model:  He has been able to borrow money to purchase product that his neighbors need.  He takes his orders via What’s App and delivers the orders to his customers, for a profit. 
"Sounds familiar?  He is a smaller version of Amazon – (which is not in existence in this neighborhood).  This business model has provided enough income for him to build an add-on to his small dirt floor home, where he and his family live.  And this extra room has a cement floor!  Moving up from dirt floors to cement floors is an example of moving from Extreme Poverty to Poverty.  Imagine this story times the 14 other borrower we visited.  This project is sustainable, impactful to families and communities and truly moves the needle, one person at a time.  Amazing trip.  Thank you, Abe."
Quarterly our committee will bring you facts, figures, and information about your Microcredit program. But we believe that it is our borrower stories, and this is just one of them, that will have the biggest impact on why we continue to do what we do, and we have thousands of them to tell.
Our next trip to Hermosillo to learn more about this program and to visit borrowers will take place April 14-16 and is limited to 10 individuals.
We need three vehicles to drive us to Nogales AZ. All costs for the trip is covered by FinReg including gas for those that drive. Please contact Abe Feder at 602-622-7289 to join us on this trip.
The Rotary Club of Goodyear Pebblecreek has pledged $500 to help renovate a school in Budapest to serve Ukrainian students displaced by the war and is challenging every other club in District 5495 to match Goodyear Pebblecreek with a club donation of its own.
Our sister club Rotary club in Budapest-City (RCBC), Hungary (HU) is asking for help to pay the start-up costs for a new Ukrainian Elementary and Secondary School House for 350-400 war displaced children in Budapest.
There is not enough time to do a global grant approach as the school is scheduled to open in September 2023 if the building can be remodeled into 11 classrooms.
RCBC has the building, the government-approved certificate and has identified Ukrainian teachers -- and now needs $65,345 (23,556.000 HUF) to complete the project. 
The MOAB Rotary Club has pledged $25,000, Utah District 5420 has pledged $10,000, Latter Day Saints Charity affiliate in HU has pledged $15,000, District 1911 HU pledged $2,835, and Rotaract District1911 HU $425 -- leaving a “balance to raise” of $12,085.
Combined club monies or individual wired monies will be sent when final project details are confirmed by RCBC President, Kristóf Kovács (  
The Rotary Club of Goodyear PebbleCreek is pledging $500 and is challenging every club in District 5495 to match that donations.
Please contact RCGYPC Buddy Sims at or 970-445-7573 to pledge NLT April 2023 or to get a copy of the RCBC school house slide presentation. 
Point of contact at RCBC is Project Coordinator Viktoria Vita Griessmuller (
The Rotary Foundation has announced that the TRF General Disaster Response Fund will be used to support earthquake relief projects for Turkey and Syria with contributions received through March 31, 2023.
Donations can also be made to the Pakistan Floor Response Fund or Ukraine Response Fund by clicking the link below and selecting the featured fund of your choice.
Click here to donate.

District Governor Larry Horton joined a small group of District 5495 Rotarians on a recent trip to Hermosillo, Mexico to view up-close the micro-lending program sponsored by the district.

The trip, coordinated by Abe Feder and Craig Henry, visited borrowers of the Arizona Rotary Micro Credit Program in Sonora, Mexico. 

The amazing program enables borrowers in Hermosillo to invest and expand their small business to help eradicate poverty in their community. 

DG Larry joined the group in sampling the local foods. One of the borrowers was a local optometrist. DG Larry sat for an eye exam, only to learn he needs bifocals!

By Bill Tobin
Rotary Relations Manager, ShelterBox USA
ShelterBox is responding after a series of powerful earthquakes devastated southern Turkey and northern Syria. We’re sending an emergency response team to carry out crucial assessments and establish how we can best help.
ShelterBox is launching an emergency fundraising appeal. Your support will contribute to our Turkey and Syria Earthquakes response as part of our general fund. We believe that the best way for us to be impactful is by staying flexible, and it is essential that we have funds available to support those affected by disasters around the world.
We’re speaking with our existing partners in Syria and Rotary contacts in Turkey to understand more about what’s needed and how we might provide support where it is needed most.
The humanitarian need in Turkey and Syria is immense and growing – it's the most devastating earthquake to hit the region in 100 years. The death toll has surpassed 30,000 and is likely to rise significantly, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed in both countries leaving people homeless, with nowhere to sleep, in the middle of a bitter winter.
A powerful 7.8m earthquake struck southern Turkey, close to the northern Syria border, at 4.17am local time (1.17am GMT) on Monday 6 February. The epicenter was about 20 miles from Gaziantep - a major city and provincial capital. Minutes later there was a strong 6.7m aftershock, followed by another major 7.5m earthquake striking hours later in the same region.
The region where the earthquakes struck is home to significant numbers of Syrian refugees.
ShelterBox provides different combinations of emergency shelter and essential household items depending on what is needed. This could be tents and shelter kits, stoves, thermal blankets, and clothing to keep people warm through the freezing winter nights. It could be cash to help people buy what they need to survive. Or it could solar lights that help people when there is no electricity.
Head of Emergency Response for ShelterBox, Alice Jefferson says: “Emergency responses to a disaster of this scale can be a huge logistical nightmare especially against the clock. Freezing temperatures and heavy rain are causing extra complications. The poor weather poses a real threat to life for people whose homes are now rubble or unsafe to return to. Access and communication are challenging and that’s why responses must be well-coordinated to make sure that the right aid is getting to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.”
Club and district support is desperately needed so we can reach survivors in the aftermath of this disaster.
ShelterBox USA is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization in the United States and registered in the State of Florida. EIN 20-0471604. ShelterBox is a registered charity independent of Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation.

Mail checks to ShelterBox USA, PO Box 5055, Santa Barbara, CA 93150. Visit
The Rotary Club of Thunderbird Phoenix is asking clubs throughout the district to join them in an effort to help support children suffering from cancer in Mexico -- simply by collecting plastic caps to be recycled.
The club is asking clubs throughout the district to conduct community campaigns to collect small plastic caps and lids. The Rotary Club of Thunderbird Phoenix will transport the plastic lids to Mexico and donate them to an organization called AMANC, which sponsors a program called “Caps for Kids with Cancer.”
Lids made of HDPE are sold to plastic recyclers in Mexico, especially in Hermosillo, Sonora, for 11-18 cents per pound. Funds collected from the sale are managed by AMANC and donated to local clinics and families to help them pay for the medical expenses of the children with cancer.
Going beyond just collecting plastic lids, the Rotary Club of Thunderbird Phoenix recently collaborated with the Pitic Rotary Club of Hermosillo (Mexico) to purchase and place in the Phoenix area seven uniquely designed collection bins to make it easier for citizens to donate plastic caps to the program.
The club is in the process of placing heart-shaped metal Corazon collection bins at businesses and in communities throughout Phoenix. Plastic items can be easily dropped off at each Corazon bin, which is approximately six-feet wide, six-feet tall and three-feet in depth.
“Our Sister Rotary Club in Hermosillo has offered to have (the bins) made in Mexico for $400 each, which is the cost to build them in Hermosillo Mexico. The PITIC Rotary Club can help to move four at a time to Nogales, AZ and we would have to truck them up to Phoenix, AZ,” says Rigo Duran, president of Rotary Club of Thunderbird Phoenix and the Rotarian behind this project.
The two Rotary clubs are working with Destapitas, a nonprofit organization, to build and transport the bins to the United States. In 2021, Destapitas raised over $52,000 on its own to build the bins and to support and promote the Caps for Kids with Cancer program here in the Phoenix area.