Thousands of women across Rotary deserve recognition on International Women’s Day, March 8, and while it isn’t possible to highlight them all, we chose to profile several of them. These are women who work tirelessly on behalf of others, and whose efforts touch lives across the world, often in remote and inhospitable places. With projects focused on child and maternal health, economic development, and other humanitarian concerns, these women are proof of Rotary’s diversity and global reach.
Ola Al-Awamleh Almasri
Rotary Club of Amman Capital
Almasri helped build a water-catchment system for a public school in Jordan with a large enrollment of underprivileged students. She’s also organized and supported vocational projects that train students to become entrepreneurs. She was recognized by Forbes as one of the top 50 businesswomen in the Arab world.
San Diego, California, USA
Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle
Over the last 10 years, Moini has taken 19 trips to Afghanistan to work on projects ranging from school construction to setting up computer labs. Her fellow Rotary members called her “inspirational” in her involvement in the building of a school in Jalalabad, and in helping to provide neonatal and midwife training for medical professionals.
Rotary Club of Limassol-Berengaria Cosmopolitan
Covotsou-Patroclou is a charter member of the Interact Club of Limassol, and helped launch the Rotaract Club of Limassol-Amathusia, the first Rotaract club in Cyprus. A former Paul Harris fellow, she worked with ShelterBox in 2006 to provide aid in Lebanon.
Solvang, California, USA
Rotary Club of Santa Ynez Valley
Willingham is founder and chair of PACE Universal (Promise of Assurance to Children Everywhere), a nonprofit organization that educates girls in the world’s poorest areas and works to prevent child trafficking. Working with Rotary clubs around the world, the center she formed provides education, microloans, health care, clean water and sanitation, and community infrastructure. “Together, we have created a site that is affecting the lives of 30,000 to 40,000 people,” Willingham says.
Teodora Alinsod Lucero
Rotary Club of Santa Rosa Centro
A midwife, Lucero is operating a birthing clinic that delivers an average of 500 babies a year. She also organizes a free medical clinic and workshop for pregnant women in underserved communities. In 2013, the National General Assembly of Midwives presented her the Gaward Agham Special Award for Excellence in clinical care.
Anchorage, Alaska, USA
Rotary Club of Anchorage East
The first woman to serve as a Rotary Foundation trustee, Jones has traveled to Russia as a Rotary volunteer five times, three of them as a preschool teacher for developmentally delayed children in orphanages. But her volunteer efforts have taken her elsewhere as well: “In the 27 years that I’ve been a Rotarian, I’ve administered polio drops in India, planted trees in Brazil, promoted microcredit in Costa Rica, and delivered baby formula in Uganda,” Jones says.
Franklinville, New Jersey, USA
Rotary Club of Glassboro Sunrise
The CEO of People for People Foundation, Blackstock helps normally self-sufficient people who have fallen on hard times to afford food, clothing, rent, utilities, medications, and other life necessities. “Since 2003, our foundation has served over 10,000 families,” Blackstock says.
Baker, Louisiana, USA
Rotary Club of Baker
Vann coordinates a tutoring program for at-risk students. With the help of her club, she renovated a derelict school building and worked with tutors to reach 50 students a day. She’s also passionate about workforce development in Baker, where well-paying craftsman jobs often go unfilled. “We’re not going out there and finding just anybody; we’re targeting the unemployed, underemployed, and veterans,” Vann says.