International Service

Dear Rotarians and Friends:
I trust this message finds you well. It's often said that visuals can speak louder than words. With that in mind, I've attached a video capturing the highlights of our recent Ukrainian School Opening event. Your unwavering support and contributions played a pivotal role in making this a success.
1 September 2023 heralds a significant milestone in our unyielding commitment to education and service. Overflowing with pride and gratitude, we celebrate the opening of the Ukrainian School in Budapest—a radiant beacon of hope for countless Ukrainian refugee children.
In February 2022, the unsettling tides of war brought many Ukrainian kids across the Hungarian border. Recognizing this immediate need for a Ukrainian School in Budapest, the Rotary Club Budapest-City, in alliance with two Rotary Districts, six esteemed Rotary clubs, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Crowne Plaza Budapest, and the Rotaract Budapest International, united to bring this vision to life.
The Rotary Club of Scottsdale and the Rotary Club of Goodyear-Pebblecreek were two of the clubs that participated in the project.
Funds raised: HUF 21.8 million 
Resources acquired:
  • 7 school boards
  • 6 smart boards
  • 2 advanced projectors
  • 120 chairs
  • 60 school tables
  • 17 spacious school wardrobes
By Robert J. Jensen, MS
International Programs
Rotary Club of Mesa West
Since 1992, the Mesa West Rotary Club of Mesa, Arizona has sponsored a team of audiologists and doctors that conduct a medical mission to help the people of Guaymas, Mexico and others from the State of Sonora with their hearing problems.  Although the city has approximately 150,000 citizens, there are no audiologists or hearing aid dispensers in Guaymas. 
Guaymas is a Sister City of Mesa. It is located about 400 miles south of Phoenix, Arizona.  Its neighbor, San Carlos, lies twenty miles west on the coast of the Sea of Cortez. 
We have worked at a school for mentally and physically challenged students, many of whom have hearing loss.  We have a test booth, clinical audiometer, impedance meter, hearing aid modification tools and otoacoustic emissions screener.
Each year, a group of volunteers go and conduct hearing tests and medical examinations, fit and dispense hearing aids and earmolds, fix hearing aids, and provide consultations on matters related to aural rehabilitation and education of students with hearing loss.
We also test preschool-age children as well as adults. Over a typical four-day period, two are spent in traveling to and from Guaymas while two days are usually spent seeing patients.  It is not uncommon to see between 250 to 350 patients within those two days. 
All patients are given a medical examination by our volunteer doctors or local physicians, a hearing test by the audiologists, and, if needed, are fitted with custom-made temporary silicone earmolds and hearing aids.  Those already having hearing aids will have those aids inspected, cleaned and fixed or adjusted as needed.  Impressions are taken for many so that custom acrylic earmolds can be made and fitted on a return trip usually made in February or March of the next year. Batteries are dispensed to those needing them and the patients are counseled on the use and care of the hearing aids and earmolds.

Submitted by Dr. Honora Norton
Public Image Chair, Rotary Club of Sun Lakes

Rotary Club of Sun Lakes has contributed $2,000 to a Rotary International Global Grant with Denver’s Rotary Club of Fort Collins-Breakfast and Rotary Club of San Salvador Maquilishuat, along with 25 other Rotary Clubs & 6 Districts from around the world. 

RCSL’s contribution helped to fund a $130,895 sustainable water project that by October 2025 will provide a potable/hygienic water distribution system to two El Salvador communities—El Pital & Las Tablas—eventually benefitting 2,000+ people. This project is a collaboration with the Rams Without Borders Club of Colorado State University, with survey assistance provided by students & faculty from the University of El Salvador.

Rotary International Global Grants support large international activities with sustainable, measurable outcomes in Rotary’s areas of focus. By working together to respond to real community needs, clubs and districts strengthen their global partnerships. Global grants can fund humanitarian projects, scholarships for graduate-level academic studies; and vocational training teams, which are groups of professionals who travel abroad either to teach local professionals about their field or to learn more about it themselves. 

Global grants have a minimum budget of $30,000 and a maximum World Fund award of $400,000. Grant sponsors can use a combination of Rotary District Designated Funds (DDF), cash, and/or directed gifts and endowment earnings to fund a global grant. The Rotary International Foundation will provide an 80 percent World Fund match for all DDF contributions. There is no minimum World Fund match.

For more information about Rotary Club of Sun Lakes projects and membership see –

Photo: Residents meet to learn about the upcoming sustainable water project within their communities.

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