It all started in 1992 when District 5040 sent a delegation of Rotarians to the former Soviet Union to assist with establishing the first Rotary Club in Kiev in the Ukraine. The delegates saw the state of the medical facilities and decided to find a way to help.
In 1993, the late Ted Segodnia together with fellow Vancouver club Rotarians, Bill Richwa and Ralph Towsley, organized the first shipment of medical supplies and equipment to Kiev. Bill, Ted and their wives went to Kiev to oversee the distribution of the supplies. When they returned home they found more supplies waiting for them, so they convinced the Vancouver club to carry on the project as an international service project.
By 1997, Bill and Ralph realized the project was becoming too big for one club, and needed to evolve to survive. As a result, the Rotary clubs of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia World Help Network was sanctioned by Rotary International, incorporated as a society in BC and received their registered charity status from Revenue Canada.
Operating as Rotary World Help Network, its membership was made up not by Rotarians, but by Rotary clubs. There were seven Rotary clubs who originally joined and each club paid $10 in fees per club member to Rotary World Help Network to help cover the administration costs.
Originally, we mainly gathered and sent medical supplies to hospitals which had been built but couldn’t fully operate because of a lack of supplies or equipment. Today, medical supplies and equipment are still our main focus, but we have expanded to include dental and optical, education, and sports equipment and disaster relief supplies.
In 2012 we passed our first major milestone when the estimated value of the goods shipped passed 100 Million dollars!
In 2013 we passed our second major milestone when we shipped our 300th container! We should all feel very proud.
In 2012 we decided to shorten our name to Rotary World Help or RWH and to update our branding with a new logo, and website. We also produced a DVD, Rotary World Help 2013 which tells our story and successes.
Can you help us raise the Rotary World Help profile?
Until now we have been the biggest Rotary project no one has heard about.