Past Projects

Earthquake & Disaster Relief

Shelterbox was founded in 2000 by Rotarian Tom Henderson.  In many crises, the destruction of homes and mass displacement is a fundamental part of victims’ trauma, Shelterbox was created to meet these critical needs, providing specially desidgned tents and ShelterBoxes’; sturdy crates containing sleeping bags, stoves, and other equipment necessary for life in a disaster zone.

In 2008, Bill Chiang, an honorary member of RCS and other Rotarians helped to bring ShelterBox to the 5 million people made homeless by the Sichuan earthquake.

The Rotary Club of Shanghai supported the ShelterBox project in 2009 after the Anhui typhoon wrecked 13,000 homes and destroyed a further 1,200.  The logistics hub for this project was in Shanghai.  Rotarian Mark Secchia received aid workers, found transport, and built fruitful connections with the Shanghai Charity Foundation, allowing ShelterBox to make the most of their resources.  When China was struck by a third major disaster in Qinghai, Shanghai was again the logistics center for essential logistics, and the RCS sped things up by providing transportation to Yushu, where 90% of the buildings had collapses.

Cataract Surgeries


Cataracts can cause blindness if they are allowed to develop without medical intervention.  In China’s Guizhou province, it is estimated that there are approximately 110,000 new cases each year.  It is difficult for the local medical facilities to find and treat the patients, who live in very remote areas.

In the first year (2010-11) of this RCS project we worked with the Yangming hospital in Guiyang and supported surgeries of 658 patients in remote areas (RMB 57,281 RMB). This also provided momentum to the hospital program in form of increase in surgery rate from 6,000 per year to 10,000 per year. Next year (2011-12) RCS supported Tancheng XinYi Ming Hospital in Shandong province for 247 free cataract surgeries (63,479 RMB). The hospital completed a total of 700 surgeries including the 247 free of charge ones supported by RCS & HQF.

Ningxia Water Project


The Ningxia water project was a collaboration between The Rotary Clubs of Menands and Glenville, in upstate New York, and the Rotary Club of Shanghai and the Huaqiao Foundation.

The water in Yanchi village and surrounding villages in Ningxia Province is polluted with arsenic which caused health problems for the villagers.  The villagers were importing water by tanker to obtain safe drinking water.  This created a new problem as the cost of the water took up to a third of each of the villager’s disposable income.

After nearly two years of work, including three site visits by Frank Yih and Roger Owens from the Rotary Club of Shanghai, two visits by the New York clubs, and over 30 working days by the Huaqiao Foundation staff, the village has been able to dig trenches and lay water pipelines to bring water to the village from a large water reservoir recently construction by the local government.

The completed project now covers four villages namely:  Ma Er Zhuang, with 258 residents across 67 homes; Hei Tu Ken, with 193 residents across 48 homes; Song Xin Zhuang, with 190 residents across 48 homes; and Yi Er Zhuang, with 156 residents across 37 homes.

Each village household paid for their own taps, so for the first time in their lives villagers can turn a tap to receive water.  The water costs less than a tenth of their previous supply.

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Contact Rotarian Tobi Kars