Rotary Club Prague International
Our News and Stories....
The Mathilda foundation, a registered charity,  was founded in 2010 and its mission is to support individuals with severely impaired vision. Though an individual Member's donation RCPI was able to channel 10,000 CZK to the Foundation to help with their work assisting the blind and partially sighted in the Czech Republic. Luboš Krapka from the foundation thanked RCPI in the name of the people they help for our excellent support.
(Picture: Mathilda volunteer training guide dogs)
Rotary Club Prague International was presented with the membership Development Award 2016/17 by Štěpán de Wolf  the district Govenor for Czech republic and Slovakia. (Disctrict 2240).
Receiving the award on behalf of the club are Sanan(right) and Fernanda (middle). The award is given for excellence in membership recruitment and the management of membership within the club.
Rotary Club Prague International welcomes Roman as a new member of the club. Nelly (left) sponsored Roman to become a member and will coach and mentor him through the next months as the whole club welcomes him to Rotary. Fernanda (right), The Chair of the Membership Committee of RCPI, welcomed Roman to the club and wished him well. Roman intends to actively participate in club activities and we are all delighted to welcome him.
Members of Rotary Club Prague International, along with Zdeněk Střžek, owner of Bejzment Burger Pub and also the promoter of the Jack Daniel’s BurgerFest in Prague, visited Psí útulek Trója to deliver several large bags of quality dog food and a pet carrier. This donation came from the proceeds of RCPI’s participation in BurgerFest 2016.

Psí útulek Trója is the city-owned dog shelter for Prague, and cares for 120 or more dogs at any moment, with sometimes more than 200 dogs coming through the facility in a single month. In 2016, the shelter cared for more than 2,000 dogs, and  the Prague animal protection service reached the milestone of having processed the adoption of 80,000 animals (dogs, cats and others) since it opened in 1993.
Dogs end up at Psí útulek Trója for various reasons. Some are stray dogs found wandering the Prague streets, often because irresponsible owners abandon them. Most come from owners who, for different reasons, no longer can or will keep a dog. According to Mr. Marcel Kovářík, a very skilled and caring dog attendant, who provided a complete and informative tour, most dogs are left by people who are going into retirement.
When a dog arrives, it is checked for fleas, ticks and other parasites, washed, and given a thorough examination by a veterinarian. Any medical conditions that can be safely and effectively undertaken to bring a dog back to good health are performed.
The dogs are housed in various sections of the facility according to size – small, medium and large – and dogs who have been outside for most of their lives are provided with comfortable shelter in outside pens. Very aggressive dogs are housed separately from the main population until such time as they lose their aggression through training and good treatment.
All dogs at the shelter are on offer for adoption, and stay until they are either adopted or their health collapses. “A dog may be here for three hours or for three years,” Mr. Kovářík explained. The shelter does not put animals to sleep unless they can no longer live a good life.
Dog are not the only animals kept at Psí útulek Trója – the shelter also gets an occasional pig, sheep, horses, exotic birds (including the peacocks witnessed on the property), quite a few snakes and lizards, and more. But not cats, which are kept at another facility, Útulek Měcholupy.
As you can imagine, it is not inexpensive to take care of more than 100 dogs and other animals every day, while also giving tours, promoting adoptions, and sending officers out to catch abandoned animals. When Zed Střžek suggested Psí útulek Trója as the designated recipient of the funds that RCPI would generate at BurgerFest, we were very happy to cooperate. Our ability to generate those funds was made greater when Mr. Střžek offered to let the club participate at BurgerFest without having to pay the participation fee, since RCPI is also a non-profit, with all-volunteer staff.
Nearly half of the RCPI members participated during the 2-day BurgerFest event, organized by co-chairs Christian Noll, Mamun Hassan and Casey Holt. Everyone enjoyed the days and the event, and the RCPI board has voted to make participation in it one of the club’s annual efforts. We are welcomed by Mr. Střžek and BurgerFest, and now that the logistics of being burger vendors have been worked out, we look forward to raising even more money for a good cause in future years.

On Friday 17th & Saturday 18th I attended District 2240 PETS training in Olomounc. This is to prepare all us up and coming Presidents to be efficient and follow Rotary protocols.  Not only President Elects but District Governor Elects, and Assistant District Governors, in all about 150 attended the conference from all over the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

We met up on Friday evening for a meal, a chance to introduce ourselves to those seated near us. Saturday the conference was kicked off early to a full conference room.  We were given talks on how to attract new members, especially younger members and keep fees low to encourage those who have vocational jobs, who do caring work to join Rotary, these are the members who are most likely to volunteer and that is a very valuable contribution, more so than just putting your hand in your pocket and producing some cash. Rotary is much more than simply business networking.

We discussed many issues, a number of Clubs presented their projects in the hope to inspire others to do similar.  Many focused on the wellbeing of children: at home and abroad, providing specialist play equipment and medical support for families who have a child with extreme special needs.  I spoke with Hana who is running a project in Malawi, 'Happy Classrooms' – encouraging children to attend school and teaching teachers how to keep children in school when poverty usually demands they leave and find paid work.  All this possible through the Global Grant programme of the Rotary Foundation.

We discussed the District's finances and where our contributions go.  What the District does with this money and what funds local Clubs can use for specialist projects.  The Administration of Clubs, communication with committee chairs and other useful functional tools.

Prague International is the biggest club in the District, it is also the only English speaking club, whilst there are other 'International' clubs the tend to speak a mixture of English/Czech/German.  There is a lot of translating going on – especially for me at the conference, as I don't speak much Czech and I need to thank Helena for taking the time to help me out.

I was left knowing what is expected of me as President and having met some interesting people who are doing great things in the name of Rotary.  Key comments were to increase the number of younger members, keep membership fees affordable, especially to people who work in low paid vocational work.  We need a variety of members and should take members from all walks of life.


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