About Rotary

Rotary International is the oldest and largest service organisation in the world founded by Paul Harris in 1905.

Rotary members, women and men,  are from the  community – they are leaders in business and trades, the arts, government, sports,  military and not for profit and community organisations. They share a common purpose – to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards and help build goodwill and peace in the world. Membership is open to men and women, of all ages, ethnic groups, political persuasions, languages and religious beliefs.

Rotary International has a strong global, national, and local profile that has been generated over more than 100 years of prodigious service. The level of this service, especially in the international arena, has been enhanced by the fact that Rotary International has its own Rotary Foundation [TRF]. In 2013/14 The Rotary Foundation spent US $100.4 million on international humanitarian projects.

“Service above Self” – Rotary Mission Statement.

The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

The Rotary experience is built on volunteering, service at a local community, national and international level, friendship, networking, personal development and not without fun. Rotarians make a difference in the world by supporting those in need.

Australian Rotary Clubs have over 30,000 members locally, and Rotary’s motto ‘Service Above Self ’ demonstrates the humanitarian spirit of its 1.2 million members.


At the 1917 convention, outgoing RI President Arch C. Klumph proposed to set up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” In 1928, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a distinct entity within Rotary International.

In 1929, the Foundation made its first gift of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. The organization, created by Rotarian Edgar F. “Daddy” Allen.

When Rotary founder Paul Harris died in 1947, contributions began pouring in to Rotary International, and the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created to build the Foundation.


1947: The Foundation established its first program, Fellowships for Advance Study, later known as Ambassadorial Scholarships.

1965-66: Three programs were launched: Group Study Exchange, Awards for Technical Training, and Grants for Activities in Keeping with the Objective of The Rotary Foundation, later called Matching Grants and called Global Grants

1978: Rotary introduced the Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants. The first 3-H Grant funded a project to immunize 6 million Philippine children against polio. These grants no longer exist.

1985: The PolioPlus program was launched to eradicate polio worldwide.

1987-88: The first peace forums were held, leading to Rotary Peace Fellowships.

2013: New district, global, and packaged grants enable Rotarians around the world to respond to the world’s greatest needs.

Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the Foundation has received contributions totalling more than $1 billion. Throughout this time, support of the Foundation grew tremendously. Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, it has received contributions totalling more than $1 billion.

Such strong support, along with Rotarian involvement worldwide, ensures a secure future for the Rotary Foundation as it continues its vital work for international understanding and world peace.


  • Eradicate polio, our top priority
  • Continue our progress on the Future Vision plan and align our service projects with the six areas of focus:
  • Peace and conflict prevention/ resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Economic and community development


End Polio Now

For over 25 years Rotary has contributed more than AUD$800 million and coordinated volunteer teams all over the world to vaccinate children against Polio. As a result, the number of children affected with Polio has been reduced from 356,000 a year in 1988 to less than 232 in 2012 and the number of countries that are Polio endemic has been reduced from 125 to only three-Nigerian, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Grants totalling $43.6 million in new funding were recently issued to UNICEF and the World Health Organization by Rotary. This is in addition to $35.9 million in funding from Rotary earlier this year. Rotary’s goal is to eradicate Polio completely. To date, Rotary clubs worldwide have contributed $1.2 billion to the polio eradication effort. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given over $355 million. Recently, $100 million was pledged by the Prime Minister at the Rotary International Conference in Sydney in 2014 to assist in the eradication of polio. Our partners include the US Centers for Disease Control, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization. Polio giving from the Foundation was US$93.2 million in 2012/13.

It has taken thousands of volunteers and health workers to help Nigeria pass one year without a reported case on July 24. The World Health Organization (WHO) may soon remove Nigeria from the list of polio endemic countries.  When Africa goes three years without a case of polio, WHO will certify the region as polio-free.

While Africa has achieved an important public health milestone, as long as polio exists in the two remaining endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, the virus still has the potential to spread and to spark new outbreaks.  Pakistan, accounting for nearly 90% of the world’s cases in 2014,  has seen recent progress with nearly 70% reduction in cases in the first half of 2015 compared to the same time in 2014 without a polio case.

Although polio cases are down 99%.  the risk is that if polio rebounds, more than 200,000 children worldwide could be paralyzed each year within a decade. Lack of funding will decrease immunization rates in polio-affected countries. Until polio is eradicated everywhere, no unvaccinated child is safe anywhere. Our Challenge –to eradicate Polio by 2018. The estimated cost is US$5.5 billion.

Rotarians against Malaria (RAM)

Mankind are on the brink of a global crisis as new and re-emerging diseases sweep the World. A report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that of the 52 million people in the World who died last year, 17 million -including more than 9 million children -were killed by infectious diseases. It is becoming one of the major health threats in the World today. Over 2 billion people live at risk from Malaria and each year, of more than 500 million infected with the parasite, 2 -3 million die of the disease. Rotary is making a invaluable contribution in the fight against Malaria, particularly in the regions of the South Pacific , and without a doubt, will become one of the major programs of Rotary International in the future.

Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) provides leadership, financial and strategic support to implement its mission through: Control Strategies, Education, Research, Partnering with other funding providers, and working collaboratively with Governments in our Region (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste)

Rotary in Australia developed the “Adopt a Village” programme in 2004, initially for PNG but extended it to cover the Solomon Islands in 2005. Donors could “Adopt a Village” , a small village may cost $1,000, a medium size village may cost $2,000 and a large village may cost $3,000. This donation allowed every man, woman and child in your adopted village the opportunity to sleep under a Life Saving Treated Bed net each night. Its success in PNG has resulted in some areas of the country becoming virtually free of the disease. The Aims and Objectives of the RAWCS Rotary Against Malaria (RAM) Activity will focus on the four main avenues namely:

  • Education, training and publicity
  • Further development of current methods in prevention and treatment of Malaria
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Funding

The University of Queensland  was  granted  $7m from Bill Gates to develop a vaccine for mosquitoes thus preventing them transferring viruses. RAM is working on this combination of ways of combating malaria as we recognize that no one approach in isolation will be successful.

Australian Rotary Health (ARH)

Rotary raises approximately AUD$4.2 million per year for distribution to medical and health research including Mental Health Sudden Infant Death , SIDS, Prostate Cancer, Ross River Virus, Bowel Cancer, Malaria and problems of the Aged. It is one of the largest non-government health research providers.

Youth Exchange Program (YEP)

About 7000 young people (16-18 years) live in another country for one year with host families It is the largest youth exchange programme in the world, sponsored by Rotary clubs across the world.

Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA)

RYLA is program also originated in Australia and involves a special one-week training program for young people ( 19 to 25 years) selected on the basis of their leadership potential. All expenses are paid by Rotary clubs. RYLA programs are normally held annually and have now been accredited by Rotary International for world-wide operation.

Peace Scholarship

The Rotary Foundation provides opportunities for young adults to earn a graduate degree in peace and conflict studies. These programs produce generations of people who can play a major mediating role for world peace in the coming years.

Rotary Oceanic Medical Aid for Children

(ROMAC) is assisted by many eminent Australian surgeons and allied teams who generously volunteer to requests for assistance. This humanitarian program has provided over 350 children from 20 countries with urgent medical treatment that has given them new hope. It provides medical treatment for children from developing countries, in the form of life saving and/or dignity restoring surgery, not accessible to them in their home country eg. children with herniated brains, deformed limbs, cleft palate repair, horrific burns, heart conditions, separation of Siamese twins. ROMAC has been in operation for over 25 years. Rotarians volunteer their time and expertise to run this Rotary program that encompasses all the Districts of Australia and New Zealand.

ROMAC is one of Rotary’s best kept secrets

Baby Nelia, born in Dili, East Timor,  had been diagnosed with a life-threatening condition. Unable to feed or digest her food due to a rare birth defect that left her with a malformed oesophagus.  Without surgery to correct the condition – which doctors in East Timor lack the specialist skills to perform – Nelia had little more than a week to live. A mercy call to ROMAC saved Nelia’s life


Support for communities in the aftermath of natural disasters throughout Australia including during the years of drought, the bushfires and the floods of recent  and this years.

$800,000 on a multi-purpose covered community meeting space and sports facility in Western Australia for the local indigenous population.

A 13 Week Domestic Violence Prevention Program has been developed by Rotary

Disaster relief – Rotary provides effective, efficient, and immediate relief to disaster victims, for example Aceh, Japan, Fiji and here in Australia.

Mambanje School and Community Project, Dete, Zimbabwe  the project was to develop a new bore and a  future for the school including school fees for the sutdents.  Also to assist and develop vegetable gardens,  and a shop,  to secure sustainability for the school and the community

SUAI  WASH Project

Cova Lima is a district of East Timor, in the Southwest part of the country. It has a population of 55,941 and an area of 1,226 km². The capital of the district is Suai, which lies 136 km from Dili, the national capital.

The Rotary Club of Sorrento working with the City of Port Phillip Council who had extended the hand of friendship in 2010. The new Strategic plan 2010 – 2020 is a collaborative plan developed by the Suai community and the FoS Community Taskforce in the City of Port Phillip.

Friends of Suai  is a relationship that goes beyond the usual concept of financial aid. It connects the community in the City of Port Phillip with the community of Suai in order to enrich and enhance the lives of all involved.  In order for the relationship to be sustainable in the long term, the following structures have been created.

The Rotary Club of Sorrento has been assisting financially towards the latest project for the WASH project which involved the bore water and construction phase.

The water tank (Australian standard) has arrived and the health and hygiene’ train the trainers’ education is being implemented with the Ministry of Education coordinated by the Cova Lima Community Centre. The trainers will deliver the training as part of the curriculum to ensure positive health initiatives are developed in all senior secondary schools in Cova Lima including hand washing, personal hygiene, menstrual hygiene, reproductive health and HIV Aids information.

There are a couple more stages before water and sanitation is connected at the Suai secondary school. Further projects to be implemented are: a security fence for the pump; a school community operations and maintenance plan; a roster for cleaning the facility.  The project will also monitor a long term impact on school attendance too, with a special interest in attendance of the  girls.