Rotary is a global network of more than one million people: adults and youth, leaders and followers, and strangers who make new friendships, which seeks to build a world where people can join hands, without religion or caste considerations, and take action to make improvements in practical ways in the lives of their communities.
The Rotary Club of Bali Lovina (RCBL) is one such group that has made an effort to improve the minds and bodies of young people in the province of Buleleng, North Bali. We are a small club at this time, perhaps one of the smallest in the world. But our members have not let this limitation to stop it from investing in the future of the students who reside in our focus area.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” wrote Helen Keller (1880-1968), the renowned author, political activist and lecturer, who was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months. This simple truth represents for us the philosophy of Rotary founder Paul Harris (1868-1947) who established the Rotary Club of Chicago in 1905, and which has grown to a large and well-managed international social service agency working for humanity in 200 countries. He believed that professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.
Helen Keller once wrote, “Of all the senses, sight must be the most delightful.” As if inspired by Helen Keller, the Rotary Club of Bali Lovina has focused for the past four to five years on two projects that would assuredly have received Ms. Keller’s blessings: improving the eyesight of students at the junior and senior high school levels by providing them with eyeglasses; we also promote literacy by providing books, setting up libraries, and providing library training, for schools in the Buleleng regency.
The membership of RCBL requires the support of others who are not a part of our geographical community, and has received thousands of dollars from many organizations, primarily other larger, better funded Rotary clubs, from around the world who believe the work that we do meets the high standards and expectations of Rotary International, the primary networking extension of the Rotary concept. The RCBL also works closely with like-minded organizations within our own service area. We have been greatly assisted by a local yayasan, Peduli Sesama Philanthropic Work (www.pedulisesamaphilanthropicwork.org/) in identifying schools that can benefit from our service. At the present time, we are indebted to Bali Top Optical (http://balitopoptical.com/ and on Facebook) which shares our “vision” of getting eyeglasses into the hands of needing students by providing them, at no cost, professional eye examinations and eyeglass frames, while RCBL provides for the cost of the lens for these glasses. Under this arrangement, the RCBL is providing eyeglasses to 200 students each year.
Again, as if inspired by Helen Keller’s philosophy, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision,” the RCBL has also received substantial financial support for the literacy and library program from other Rotary clubs and foundations from around the world. We have invested our time and resources into 11 schools (currently) and are performing follow-up training activities to these schools so that the investment produces the greatest benefit to children. During these workshops and training activities, teachers and librarians learn how to actively develop a love of reading and better reading comprehension skills among students as well as how to manage their libraries better.
Incidently, Helen Keller was no stranger to Rotary International. She was first introduced to Rotary through an article she wrote for the March 1938 issue of The Rotarian, the flagship magazine of Rotary International. She also addressed Rotary International at its 1957 convention in Switzerland.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Bali Lovina (the only Rotary Club in all of Buleleng!) please visit our website at www.jepunsegara.com/rotaryclubbalilovina.
Please come along and join us next time you’re in Lovina! We meet on every other Wednesday at the Bayu Mantra Hotel, Lovina/Anturan.
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