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New partners build on Rotary's strengths

Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness join with Rotary to improve lives 

By Sallyann Price

Rotary has added two service partners that offer clubs new ways to collaborate with other organizations and strengthen their projects: Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

  1. Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners, builds homes for families in need, and provides opportunities for hands-on community service.

    Photo by Alyce Henson

  2. Rotary members assemble in an Atlanta suburb to receive their work assignments for a home building project with Habitat for Humanity, one of Rotary’s newest service partners.

    Photo by Alyce Henson

  3. Randy Schiltz (right) helps put up siding during a Habitat for Humanity home building project. Schiltz owns a construction firm and is a member of the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA.

    Photo by Alyce Henson

  4. Alpharetta Rotarian Glennette Haynes (middle) works alongside a friend of the new homeowner.

    Photo by Alyce Henson

  5. Local secondary school students join Rotary members, including Katie Rocco from the Alpharetta club (center), and other volunteers to lend a hand.

    Photo by Alyce Henson

Habitat for Humanity has a long history of working with Rotarians and Rotaractors to build the types of low-cost shelters that now qualify for global grant funding, under a recent Board decision. It’s also a natural fit for Rotary’s approach to vocational service, which encourages members to use their professional skills to help others.

When the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, participated in a Habitat home building project in the Atlanta area earlier this year, members showed up ready to work and lend their professional expertise. Randy Schiltz, who owns a construction firm, helped the new homeowners pre-drill holes to prepare for installing siding. Interior decorator Glennette Haynes, who works with people in transitional housing, was there to offer advice on furnishing and decorating their homes.

Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. During the 2017 Rotary International Convention there, volunteers gathered on-site to help construct the wood framing for a home.

Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.

Jonathan Reckford

Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer and Rotary Club of Atlanta member

“Often when I speak to Rotary groups and ask how many people have worked on a Habitat project, it’s not uncommon for more than three-quarters of the audience to raise their hands,” Reckford says. “Our values are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep in both organizations.”

Rotary’s values are also closely aligned with IAPB, a membership organization that brings together government and nongovernmental agencies, academics, and private providers to plan and implement sustainable eye care programs. 

“We seek to encourage both organizations [Rotary and IAPB] to promote greater awareness of the need for eye clinics and blindness prevention activities, to develop projects together, to consult, and to work together with their constituents,” says Peter Kyle, a member of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill (Washington, D.C.), and Rotary’s Joint Committee on Partnerships.

Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. 

Victoria Sheffield

President and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness

A global grant project in India, one of three pilot projects with IAPB, aims to improve access to eye care in Karol Bagh, a neighborhood in New Delhi, where private eye doctors and facilities are available but unaffordable for many.

Local Rotary clubs worked with the International Eye Foundation, an IAPB member, to raise funds and supply medical equipment for vision screenings and treatment at an eye hospital’s new facility. They also worked to design a social enterprise to sustain the hospital’s charitable outreach programs.

“There is a wonderful opportunity for our networks,” says Victoria Sheffield, president and CEO of the International Eye Foundation and vice president of IAPB. “Rotary is a global organization with members in nearly every community around the world, and the cause of eye health is just as universal. Everyone is affected by eye conditions at some point, whether it’s needing glasses or cataract surgery, or addressing a congenital issue or complications from diabetes. Everyone has two eyes.”

https://www.rotary.org/en/new-service-partners-build-rotarys-strengths



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