Italy Stays Strong

Rotaract projects in time of Covid-19: Chronicle from the Italian peninsula – Part I

“During this pandemic that is plaguing the world, we as citizens are forced to stay home to help our healthcare system, but as Rotaractors we are trying to help our communities to better face the lockdown period. Lockdown keeps us home, but it absolutely does not stop our desire to serve in a pure and authentic way that has always been of the basic principles of our organization. Together we will make it!”

Rotaract Club Nicosia

Rotaractors have always been characterised as strongly determined, with a great desire to help and improve the community they live in. Even now, they have not been sitting idly by. From North to South, many Italian clubs have contributed to sustain both families and the healthcare system.

We will introduce some inspiring projects, beginning with South Italy’s Rotaract clubs and districts, to inspire, firstly, other Rotaractors, but also younger Rotaractors-to-be. Social distancing has done nothing but modify the way of Rotaract’s interventions all around Italy and the entire world.

Rotaract District 2110 (Sicily and Malta)

The District 2110 has launched a campaign (#SOSpesa) to support families who are having difficulties purchasing primary necessities. Those who want to donate just need to go to a trusted supermarket, buy one or more products and ask the staff to set the goods aside to deliver them to families in need in the area who already benefit from the Italian Government’s shopping vouchers. The campaign whose motto is Everyone’s help, however small it may seem, can do a lot for many people, is promoted via social media by posting pictures of the products and employing the hashtags #SOSpesa and #DistrettoRotaract2110.

Furthermore, the district joined a crowdfunding (Aiutiamo gli Ospedali del Sud – Hospitals for the South) to create a fund from which hospitals and neediest healthcare workers can draw on to purchase medical equipment and devices.

Some Sicilian clubs took part in fundraising campaigns. Firstly, many of them donated both to NGOs and hospitals: Rotaract Acireale made a donation to San Vincenzo de Paoli to directly support families touched by this heavy crisis; Rotaract Marsala supported the local hospital by purchasing 1000 individual masks, 12,000 gloves and much more protective equipment. Rotaract Milazzo provided protective equipment for health workers, too, while Rotaract clubs of Palermo – Rotaract Palermo, Palermo Lercara Friddi, Palermo Mediterranea, Palermo Monreale financially supported initiatives taken by Sicilian Covid Hospitals, helping, for example, the Cervello Hospital. Both Rotaract Modica and Rotaract Stretto di Messina took part in the purchase of a pulmonary ventilator for the local hospital.

Secondly, Rotaractors supported families in need with many projects, such as the “suspended cart/pharmacy” to provide them with vouchers or primary necessities; donation of Easter eggs and foodstuff. These initiatives have been carried out by Rotaract Agrigento, Rotaract Modica, Rotaract Milazzo, Rotaract Nicosia, Rotaract Clubs in Palermo, Rotaract Ragusa, Rotaract Trapani, Rotaract Castelvetrano Valle del Belice and Rotaract Stretto di Messina.

Finally, both Rotaract Acireale and Rotaract Nicosia started an online awareness campaign. The former focuses on children and employing cartoons; the latter on digital meetings on various issues. The first conference, for example, held by a psychologist, was on the topic of food and stress management during quarantine period.

Rotaract District 2100 (Calabria, Campania and Lauria’s Territory)

The Public Interest Commission has launched an awareness campaign for women who are victims of domestic violence, as for many this quarantine period does not mean security. In addition, the district activated a free service to offer both psychological and medical support guaranteed one call away.

On social media, Rotaract clubs of Calabria have started promoting the most beautiful cities of their region to relaunch Italian economy after this quarantine period.

Moreover, many clubs, such as Rotaract Catanzaro, RAC Cropani, RAC Crotone, RAC Lamezia Terme, RAC Petilia Policastro-Valle del Tacina, RAC Rende, RAC Reventino, RAC Nicotera Medma and RAC Palmi raised funds to strengthen the intensive unit care of local hospitals. They also joined forces with initiatives that deliver food and medicines to the elderly who cannot leave their houses (Rotaract Reventino and Lamezia Terme); or to Caritas in order to support the neediest – a project of Rotaract Crotone.

Rotaract clubs of Campania, on the other hand, have started a collaboration with Leo clubs to sustain intensive care units. Many clubs launched online campaigns on different topics: Rotaract Maddaloni-Valle di Suessola, for example, kept people updated on the Special Decree emanated in this time of crisis by the State. Rotaract Castel dell’Ovo and Rotaract Nola Pomigliano d’Arco focused on the behavioral rules to follow and Rotaract Poggiomarino-Vesuvio Est even raised the awareness of the lack of personal protective equipment for Italian doctors. Finally, Rotaract Afragola Porte di Napoli organized an online conference on economic and interpersonal reactions after lockdown. Rotaract Caserta Luigi Vanvitelli not only launched a social campaign to inform and reduce the spread of fake news, but also created a virtual space in which people can find funny and productive ideas to improve the long period of quarantine. 

Other clubs, then, undertook projects to help local families, such as RAC Salerno and Campus Salerno dei Due Principati, RAC Afragola and RAC Caserta Terra di Lavoro 1968 – that despite the emergency period continued a free medical consultancy service. Finally, thanks to the precious help of Rotaract Nicosia and RAC Campus Salerno dei Due Principati, it has been possible to translate into Greek the online page of The Human Diagnosis Project, whose aim is that of creating a Covid-19 risk self-assessment community.

Rotaract District 2120 (Apulia and Basilicata)

Many members of District 2120 have assisted the Civil Protection, contributing actively and on a daily basis, to deliver food and medicines to the elderly and people in difficulty or in quarantine to help them being able to face their days at home as peacefully as possible.

Rotaract District 2090 (Abruzzo, Marche, Molise, Umbria)

Rotaract District 2090 helped hospitals of all the four Italian regions included in their area. They raised funds for each one of them and guaranteed doctors a supply of materials and aid really needed in this particular moment.

Rotaract District 2080 (Latium, Rome and Sardinia)

Rotaract District 2080 collected a record-breaking amount of over 20,000 EUR to fight Covid-19 in their territories. The entire amount was intended to support doctors and nurses, providing them personal protective equipment and ventilation tools. In particular, the funds helped buy a pulmonary ventilator for the Intensive Care Unit of the Columbus Hospital in Rome, as well as pulse oximeters, disinfectant gels and diagnosis kits.

Italian Rotaract clubs are not afraid of this emergency. Instead, they continue to honour and promote goodwill, courage and service to others through the community. Italy stays strong and so do Italian Rotaractors.

Photo credits to the rightful owners.

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