Right on the cusp of the new Rotary year, on 30 June 2019, the Rotary Club of Tarawa was Chartered as the newest Rotary club in District 9920 and further boosted the Rotary presence to a large area of the Pacific.  The story of their formation and how Rotary is now represented in Kiribati is compelling reading.
Pictured is RCC Chair Kairao Tune and Tawara Rotary President Ruth Cross.
After the previous two Rotary clubs in Kiribati (Bairiki and Kiritimati) closed in 2015 and 2016 respectively, there had been no Rotary presence.  However the initiation of a Global Grant to Kiribati by the Rotary Club of Richfield, District 5420 in Utah USA, was the catalyst for a visit to Tarawa, Kiribati in May 2018 by DGE Ingrid Waugh and PDG Jennie Herring. 
An interest meeting led to the establishment of the South Tarawa Rotary Community Corps (STRCC), supported by the Rotary Club of Otahuhu in Auckland.  The STRCC was officially formed in October 2019 and they held their charter event in April 2019 when Ingrid and Jennie returned with the intent of also establishing a Rotary club.  By this time they had found the club’s future President, Ruth Cross.  Ruth was a member of Malvern Rotary in Victoria Australia and had decided to return to Tarawa to live, and make a difference in her community.
Ruth was instrumental in engaging with many different sectors of the community and running several interest meetings. Even before the official number was reached, the future club has a very impressive list of projects underway and planned (see the attached bulletin) and below (there may be some double up)
Upcoming projects (confirmed and proposed):
  • Delivery and distribution of hospital donations (June 20)
  • Delivery of birthing kits from Country Women’s Association (Australia) to outer island medical centres.
  • Provide storage facility for rehabilitation centre at hospital, assist with centre clean up and procure rehabilitation equipment needed.
  • Train and deliver of “Days for Girls” menstruation kits to outer island school age girls.
  • Develop training curriculum for all 348 communities on South Tarawa to provide sound leadership, consistent governance and collective efforts towards agreed goals (sanitation, education, peace, access to clean water).
  • Running water to each household.
  • Community toilet builds.
  • Community rain water tank installations.
  • Community sanitation programs.
  • South Tarawa waste clean-up and ongoing management. Collective efforts and changing narratives.
The STRCC is focusing primarily on cleaning up their local communities, while Rotary Tarawa will be working on building relationships with other NGOs and community groups to deliver larger scale projects, and on fundraising.  The already have some key relationships with Kindling Kiribati (a microfinance organisation), Victorian Kiribati Association, Sewaid International  and will participate in a dental Global Grant between Auckland South Rotary and a Rotary club in Taiwan.
An exciting future of providing service to a community that is one of the poorest in the Pacific lies ahead.  There will be many opportunities for NZ clubs to get involved.