Rotary International today celebrates the 110th anniversary of its foundation.  Founded in Chicago in 1905, Rotary is present in almost all countries of the world with over 1.2 million Rotarians carrying out service in their communities. The three clubs in the Maltese Islands play their part punching above their weight and have raised nearly €2 million through fund raising, grants and donations which have been put into our communities mainly in Malta but also overseas. The Rotary Club has existed  in Malta for 48 years.

While most people have heard of Rotary, not so many have an understanding of what this international organisation does and how it contributes very significantly to local communities even as it celebrates today its 110th anniversary.  Rotary is a service club with 1.2 million members worldwide organised into over 33,000 clubs in all corners of the globe.  As a service organisation Rotary clubs and Rotarians use their personal skills and areas of expertise to undertake projects both within their local community and beyond.  
Rotary has been present in Malta since 1967 and currently boasts two Clubs in Malta and one in Gozo with a combined total of 175 members as well as a Rotaract Club and an Interact Club for the younger generations.  Over the last 10 years these three clubs have raised nearly €2 million through fund raising events, grants and donations which have been spent on a variety of projects both in Malta and overseas.
Dar il-Kaptan, the respite home for people with disabilities in Mtarfa was founded in 1992 through the initiative of Rotary Club Malta which funded the purchase of the premises, helped equipping it, expanding it with an extension in 2005, provided air conditioning, solar heating, two vans to manage the transport of its clients, implemented fire protection facilities, rebuilt the kitchen and in November started yet another extension costing €100,000.
Rotary Club La Valette have been significant drivers of Ghabex, a home for victims of domestic violence as well as undertaking impressive school building projects in India, funding the education of children in India as well as supporting the Happy Moments project in Kenya.  Vittoriosa has benefitted from signage of its historic buildings from Rotary Club Malta which also funded the cost to cover two machines to aid New Leaf in preserving and digitising the treasures therein. Rotary La Valette undertook to refit the electrical system at the Notarial Archives and built a pool at the Angela House orphanage.
Rotary Club Gozo, the smallest of the three local Clubs, has supported the Friends of the Sick and Elderly in Gozo in providing much needed equipment and a distribution centre and is currently involved in a project to support career and educational development in Gozo.
Caritas, the Nigret Orphanage, Dar Merhba Biek, Dar Jeanne Antide have all been recipients of Rotary assistance and projects. The local Clubs run an annual Hands-On Day where volunteers including non-Rotarians meet to carry out a make-over of an institute with painting and maintenance work undertaken by the group.
Rotary Club Malta has also run projects overseas in Uganda at the Kids of Africa Orphanage, where it has equipped the orphanage with solar generated electricity and a battery system which powers the whole village and is currently building a new school there with the assistance of the Malta Government’s Overseas Development Aid as well as a 5 year project that funds the education of 100 children in Pakistan. Nearly twenty local students have had their international post-graduate education funded by the local Rotary Clubs.
The fact that Rotary is a service club means that Rotarians dedicate their time and professional talents to undertake projects with funds that they raise. This is somewhat different to a charity which mainly gives money. Rotary is much more hands-on. The global credibility of Rotary as an organisation with members spanning from the current Pope, John F Kennedy, Bill Gates and other world leaders, enables Clubs to be trusted that the money they raise will be put to good use and frugally.  All money from fund raising is used for projects and causes and not for running the administration of the clubs.
Rotary’s scale and reach in every country of the world allows the organisation to tackle problems on a global scale with massively ambitious targets. No better example exists than Rotary’s “End Polio Now” campaign which aims for the global eradication of polio. Started in 1985 when over 350,000 people contracted this crippling disease annually, the campaign is now at the level that less than 100 people contracted the disease last year and India was certified Polio Free.  Rotary aims for the complete eradication of the disease by 2018.  This will only be the second time ever that a disease has been eradicated globally.  Rotary International has been a key player in India’s elimination of polio, contributing some 300,000 volunteers in the past three years to deliver vaccines, monitor areas of outbreaks and publicize countrywide immunization dates.
In the last 10 years, the clubs in Malta have raised close to two million euro.  This is a staggering amount but when you value the input of members, this value to our society is even greater.   As Rotary celebrates the 110th anniversary of its foundation today we can look forward with optimism that its members will continue their massive contribution to communities locally and internationally through the dedication of its members.