Rotary is a ‘not for profit’ community service organisation run by volunteers.
Founded in the USA in 1905, Rotary is today a major international organisation with over 34 000 clubs and more than 1.25 million members globally. Many are local community leaders, business people and professionals.
The first international club was formed in Dublin in 1911 followed in 1912 by clubs in Canada and the UK and India in 1920. By 1925 there were over 200 clubs worldwide with in excess of 20 000 members.
In Southern Africa there are now over 200 clubs – the first was founded in Johannesburg in 1921.
The Rotary Foundation had very modest beginnings – in 1917 it started with an endowment of only $ 26.50. By 1923 it had only reached $ 700; and by 1932 to $ 50 000. Things changed after World War II when the Foundation adopted the mission of …. “ …advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty.” The foundations income exceeded the $ 100 million per annum mark in 2009 and now supports annual programmes costing in excess of $ xxx x
In 1985 the global eradication of polio was identified as Rotary’s top philanthropic priority and the PolioPlus programme was launched.
In that year there were more than 350 000 reported cases of polio in 125 countries. Since 1985 more than 2 billion children have been immunised and the incidence of polio has dropped 99%. Rotary’s efforts (which amounted to over $ 1.2 billion by 2013) have been assisted over the last few years by sizable donations ($ 555 million by 2009) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Today cases of polio are only being recorded in Afghanistan and Pakistan and worryingly for South Africa and Nigeria.
The Rotary Club of Hoedspruit was formed in 2015 with the invaluable assistance of Haenertsburg Rotary Club and we received our founding charter in October 2015 – in almost record time. Given Hoedspruit’s location at the centre of the Big 5 tourist region we also have a nature conservation bias.
Rotarians maintain contact, worldwide, through a vast network of electronic newsletters, international visits, local workshops, meetings and social events.