BY:  William Dunn, DISC Secretary, Yarmouth RC
Over 40 District Rotarians and others attended the 20th DISC International Café on February 24, 2024, hearing about work the district is doing in the Dominican Republic, from a Peace Fellow from Ethiopia recommended by our district, and the result of the District’s Peace Concert last month.
They first heard from Dr. Roger Fagan of the Portland Club about his 20+ years of work in the Dominican Republic (DR) providing free hearing aids.  He and his team work out of the Good Samaritan hospital in La Romana and he showed how it has evolved over the years into a clean, modern hospital.  He described how he runs the clinics with the help of District and local Rotarians when he travels to the DR. The best part, he felt, is the expressions on the faces of children when they hear their parents voices for the first time, and he showed several examples.
Efforts are underway to develop a Global Grant to create a Rotary Hearing Clinic at the hospital.  He also noted some of the other work Rotarians are undertaking in the DR, such as water, sanitation and prosthetics.  Because of all this work, locals know that Rotarians are only there to help and not take advantage of them.  Roger’s presentation generated lots of questions and answers.
Bob Gravino next introduced the Rotary Peace Fellow program and provided some history of the District’s activities in this area.  He then introduced Hanan Kadi Abafita who the District recommended and who was accepted as an RI Peace Fellow.  Hanan was on the Zoom call from Ethiopia and she described her upbringing there.  She moved from Jimma, where she was born, to Addis Ababa when she was fairly young and eventually attended St. Paul’s Hospital Millenium Medical College.  With 6 years of experience, including visits to Universities in the US (Georgia), China and Austria (Innsbruck), she is currently at the Jimma University Medical Center (JUMC).
Her volunteer work has included elder care, Operation Smile (cleft lip/palate repair) and the JUMC Volunteer Coordinating Office; she has received several forms of recognition for her work.  Her goals include becoming a public health expert, contributing evidence-based interventions to the Ethiopian Health System and learning an interdisciplinary approach to peace and development.  In response to questions there was a discussion of creating a joint Vocational Technical Training (VTT) program between the District and Ethiopia.  Hanan will be an impressive Peace Fellow.
The Café concluded with Marion Cheney describing the successful peace concert the previous Saturday.  It raised about $20,000, which will be placed in two endowments for peace.  There were four choral groups at the concert and Randy Armstrong also performed.  
DGE Emma Bodwell and DISC member concluded the Café will a variety of announcements of upcoming events, including the next Cafés on April 6th, May 11th and June 15th, 2024. Recordings of the Cafes are made available after the events.  For inquiries, contact
For more information about DISC, to invite a speaker for a Club Meeting, or to inquire about joining the committee, contact DISC Chair Jerry Gould at