Next in my travel series of throwback trips from last year is Lesotho. I’m writing about Lesotho – a Kingdom within the borders of South Africa – because it meant so much to me when I was there. I was very lucky to get the opportunity to visit as part of a Rotary trip; more specifically, a club visit by my mother District Governor Gianna Doubell. Needless to say, I loved it so much that if I could go back tomorrow I would. Unfortunately, I visited such a remote area that chances of that are highly unlikely!
The history of people living in the area now known as Lesotho goes back as many as 40,000 years.
The present Lesotho (then called Basutoland) emerged as a single polity under paramount chief Moshoeshoe I in 1822.
Under Moshoeshoe I, Basutoland joined other tribes in their struggle against the Lifaqane associated with the reign of Shaka Zulu from 1818 to 1828.
Read on for more photos + facts about this fascinating Kingdom in Africa! (more…)
This year for Madiba Day the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay gave back for 67 minutes – 1 minute for every year Nelson Mandela worked to make the world a better place – at The Provincial Hospital. The hospital is in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. In honour of his birthday, the call is out for people everywhere to give 67 minutes of their time to help their community in some way. Everyone has the power to change the world. The United Nations declared 18 July as “Nelson Mandela International Day” in 2009.
I am proud to be associated with Rotary International through my involvement with projects of The Rotary Club of Algoa Bay in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Recently Rotary initiated 3 days of free healthcare to communities across the country in their fantastic “Rotary Health Days” initiative. I covered all the social media PR & marketing for the Eastern Province, focusing on the sites in Port Elizabeth at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium and in Uitenhage at the Volkswagen sponsored Love Life Youth Centre in Kwanobuhle.
Please see our awesome album of the Rotary Family Health Days here. I was so honoured to receive active support and involvement from the Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, via their official instagram feed here and their Facebook page here. Rotary clubs are all over the world. They bring together leaders to exchange ideas and take action to help empower youth, enhance health, promote peace, and eradicate polio.
For more than 100 years, Rotarians have joined together from all continents, cultures, and occupations to take action in our communities and worldwide. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
Rotarians are volunteers with diverse perspectives and they’re committed to making lasting changes in communities globally. The goal of Rotary is to advance goodwill through improvement of health, education and alleviation of poverty. Thanks to my family’s involvement with them – my mother is the Assistant Governor of District 9370 – I’m never short of a community project to get involved with. See my photo gallery on giving back to various charities right here in Nelson Mandela Bay as well as in Cape Town. One such initiative was raising money to buy a bakkie (car) for the Ubomi Obutsha Community Centre in Kwazakhele township and handing out sweets and other goodies to their children. Ubomi is a community development project of Combined Christian Ministries to the Poor. Projects like these help me in my small way to make a difference. I believe in basic human rights and equality for all. I believe in empowering people through education and healthcare. I believe in nation-building and spreading love. Rotary helps me do this. Please support the Rotary Community on their official Facebook page or Instagram feed and see how you, too, can get involved in your city.
They are currently running a photo competition with using the hashtag “#rotaryhero” next to photos you upload online. I have entered a couple of the ones we took at our Health Days – one in particular spoke to my heart. It was a photo of a man named Samuel from New Brighton township here in Nelson Mandela Bay. He was in his shack listening to the radio when he heard an interview with ambassadors for the Health Days. They were leaders from the Rotary Club of San Rafael Harbour in San Francisco who had flown in especially to be part of the Health Days here. They were handing out prosthetic hands. Samuel happened to need one. He gathered up some coins, got in a taxi and made his way to the stadium where he received immediate attention and was fitted with a new hand. For the first time since 1982, he held a cup of coffee in his dominant hand. He was beaming from ear to ear and it brought tears to our eyes and to his. He was full of a hope and joy he hadn’t experienced in over 30 years, losing his hand during Apartheid.
Because of the collaborative effort of all Rotarians at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium when he arrived (near closing time!) to work speedily and effectively to give him his hand, I nominate us for the #rotaryhero prize 🙂 Rotary is about teamwork, human rights, making a difference and – most importantly- giving people back their dignity and self-respect. Nelson Mandela believed in this too. Rotarians in Nelson Mandela Bay did just that every day during the 3 day initiative, culminating in this case on the last day. Because of it, we are all Rotary “heroes” in my eyes.
This photo encompasses it all. Please “like” our photo on Facebook here!
Running from April 2 – 4 2014, Rotary Internationaltogether with the Department of Health in South Africa initiated 3 days of free community health checks + testing. Many add-on services partnered in order to provide a complete array of health testing. The aim? To promote a person’s basic human right to healthcare. It took place across 140 sites in South Africa (Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Lesotho, Gauteng + Northern Province). Simultaneous testing was also occurring in Nigeria, Kenya + Uganda. Below are some photographs from District 9370 as they rolled out their health days!
Uitenhage, in the Eastern Cape, was the official launch site of South Africa. Between this site + the site in Nelson Mandela Bay at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, we tested close to 3000 people between the 2 sites over the 3 days. Offering services such as testing for blood pressure, HIV, TB, audiology, optometry, dental, cervical, kidneys + cholesterol, there was also de-worming, family planning, measles vaccinations, vitamin A injections, diabetes, blood glucose testing + prosthetic hands for the disabled. Everyone was afforded the same opportunity to become empowered with their state of health. Where there was a need, patients were referred for the correct treatment + help. The beauty of the health days is that all the health services have been combined so that families can be seen as a unit – mothers + children can get tested together. This curtails travelling expenses + loss of valuable work days. I worked as Social Media Manager for the Eastern Province of South Africa, providing updates on the developments of the Family Health Days at the sites. View all the photos at thisawesome link. Support the official facebook page of the Rotary Club of Algoa Bay here. Join the Rotary movement globally here. Join me on Twitter here. Let’s connect on Instagram here.
Civil society, big business and the government will team up from 2nd to 4th April 2014 to promote family healthy living and disease prevention by implementing a massive, annual campaign that provides comprehensive, free health care services to tens of thousands of people in underprivileged communities.
Services over the three days will include HIV counselling and testing, screening for TB, diabetes and blood pressure, measles vaccinations, deworming, the dispensing of Vitamin A and more!
This programme is Rotary-led by the global Rotarian Action Group, Rotarians for Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA). This action group is the mobilizing partner of Rotary International in the area of disease prevention programs. RFHA has received an unprecedented commitment from the South African Department of Health (NDoH), The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, the US Government Agencies – CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) and USAID, and the SABC and Caxton as primary media partners. The Rotary Family Health Days are a comprehensive, holistic offering of free healthcare for parents, children, grandparents, friends and all family members in over 145 sites across the country. Approximately 4,000 Rotarians from 225 Rotary Clubs will be volunteering between 9:00 – 16:00 daily and working the sites to assist the medical staff and deliver the services to South Africans.
It is the vision of RFHA, Rotary leaders and other partners to expand the health event each year to other African countries. In 2014, the RFHD Programme will run in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho through the month of April.
Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio- free world.
Rotary brings together the kinds of people who step forward to take on important issues in local communities worldwide. Rotary members hail from a range of professional backgrounds and through this community-based network, the organisation connects these unique perspectives and helps leverage its members’ expertise for them to live by the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self”.
Rotary brings free health services to you!
The Rotary Family Health Days is the signature program of Rotarians For Family Health & AIDS Prevention (RFHA). The program promotes healthy living and disease prevention by implementing a massive, annual campaign that provides comprehensive, free health-care services to tens of thousands of people in underprivileged communities. The services include lifelong immunizations to children, such as polio and measles vaccines and comprehensive life-saving annual screens such as HIV, TB, diabetes, hypertension, malaria and more. The program is Rotary-led, and is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation, the South Africa Department of Health, the CDC, USAID, and the SABC and Caxton as primary media partners as well as YFM, Media 24 news and Independent Newspapers in the Western Cape.
To find out more about the RFHDs and the sites in your area visit: www.rfha.org.za or dial
*120*7343# and follow the prompts.
You can also follow the Family Health Days on Twitter or join the movement on Facebook.
I was very involved last year and will be this year again – see my blog articles on it from 2013: