This is an extremely important question. For students: will I be safe? For parents: will my child be safe? What procedures are in place to prevent problems?
Political Unrest or Natural Disasters First of all, Rotary International truly is one of the most well recognized and highly regarded service clubs in the world. Further, Rotary Youth Exchange is among the best youth exchange programs available. Your or your child's safety is among our absolute top concerns.
Within our District, we have a Committee of very dedicated individuals who oversee activities related to one to three specific countries. They become very close with their counterparts overseas, and remain in touch with them throughout the year. Their counterparts actually live in the same Rotary District as you or your child will be living. There is no better source for direct, feet-on-the-ground information about the political, economic, or environmental situation in the host country.
Further, should a problem develop, Rotary has an enormous network of 1.2 million Rotarians around the world. These are generally business and community leaders, many of them with high connections. You can be sure that, should any political situation or natural disaster occur, there are people within the country who can get you or your child to safety quickly.
Physical, emotional or sexual abuse In November, 2002, the Board of Directors of Rotary International adopted the following Statement of Conduct for Working with Youth:
Rotary International is committed to creating and maintaining the safest possible environment for all participants in Rotary activities. It is the duty of all Rotarians, Rotarians’ spouses, partners, and other volunteers to safeguard to the best of their ability the welfare of and to prevent the physical, sexual, or emotional abuse of children and young people with whom they come into contact."
Rotary's recommended structure includes a same-sex counsellor who lives in the community where you or your child lives, a chairperson above that individual, a non-Rotarian school official, a non-Rotarian and non-school contact within the community, a district-wide country coordinator, and a similar structure here at home. While every country does not work exactly the same way, you can be assured that a structure does exist with multiple contacts to ensure an open channel of communication.
Conclusion Our students' safety is a top priority of ours. We believe our structure, system and procedures provide the best framework to protect our students, so that they may grow and develop into the outstanding young men and women that they will become.