About Rotary International

The first Rotary Club was formed in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 by lawyer Paul Harris. It became the world’s first humanitarian service organisation. The name ‘Rotary’ arose as a result of the first meetings being held in rotation at members’ workplaces.

There are now approximately 1.3 million Rotarians working in 29,000 Rotary Clubs in 62 countries. Rotary brings together a cross-section of local business and professional people. Originally a men’s organisation, Rotary International admitted women in 1987 and they are now the fastest growing segment of Rotary’s membership.

Through the Rotary Foundation, extensive financial and humanitarian support is provided for international healthcare, for food and supplies to disaster areas, for education and job training programmes. Rotary International initiated the Polio Plus Programme in 1985 and over one billion children have been immunised to date as part of Rotary’s target to eliminate polio.