Rotary International (RI) is a humanitarian organization, which has four avenues of service:
Club Service, Community Service, International Service, and Vocational Service.
Each club is encouraged to participate and be actively involved in all four avenues of service.
The purpose of the International Avenue of Service is to “advance international understanding and goodwill, and peace”. International projects are designed to meet the needs of a variety of people in many different countries.
International Service encompasses a range of ways a club can be involved. One major way is through donations of money which go to a variety of international projects. The largest one to date has been Polio and Polio Plus which was started in 1985, with an original goal of collecting $120 million dollars. Rotary International actually collected $247 million. RI worked and continues to work with the World Health Organization in having polio almost eradicated from the world. Since the project first started, there has been a 99% decrease in cases of polio; all remaining cases are in Asia & Africa. . RI has also undertaken many other projects such as helping countries get clean water for its residents; eliminating illiteracy; providing low interest or no interest loans to individuals to buy something as simple as a sewing machine so the person could begin to earn a living.
The Jackson Rotary club has been involved in providing clean water to Bladivostok, Russia, wheelchairs to Costa Rica, and of course the Polio Plus program. Jackson Rotary in conjunction with Interact is involved with an orphanage in Mexico, and go there periodically to help maintain the physical structure.
Rotarians also can participate in other “hands on” opportunities. This includes actually going to a country and participating in a specific project. One such project includes a joint effort with another non-profit organization Global Medial Foundation. This organization provides medical expertise and equipment to countries in need, and the medical community as well as non-medical volunteers go to the county and provide the requested services. An upcoming project includes one in conjunction with Global Medical in February 2006.