//Subsistence farmers empowered in Malawi!

Subsistence farmers empowered in Malawi!

Meeting for the week of April 15 – April 21, 2019

This Meeting at a Glance:

Program: Subsistence farmers empowered in Malawi!

Speaker: Johann van der Ham

Is this your first time to visit us? If so, welcome to our weekly online meeting! To complete our meeting, please continue reading from here to the bottom of this page.

Each Monday our week’s meeting is posted early in the morning, U.S. Pacific Time. These meetings are designed so that you can read and watch what we post anytime during the week. The entire meeting takes about 60 minutes to complete, with the video conference recording of the program being the bulk of the time.

Note that you can easily read this meeting with your favorite device, so feel free to take our meeting on the go with you. Please also make sure to complete the attendance form at the bottom and leave a comment. Enjoy!

Welcome to the Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley!

Here’s a message from President Andrew:

Greetings Rotarians and Guests,

While last week our speaker, Bernadette Siracky, talked to us about a food bank, this week we have Johann van der Ham to talk to us about where food can begin with another way of feeding families: subsistence farming. As an amateur gardener of edible plants with aspirations of being able to grow enough to feed my family, I find this way of empowering communities really compelling and I’m sure you will too!


Andrew Taw
President, Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley

Guests, we are happy to have you join us this week!

As we see it, our flexibility as an online, asynchronous club allows a special type of service to Rotarians around the world: we make it easier for anyone to strive for and maintain 100% attendance. That keeps you engaged with Rotary’s events and ideas, and provides a moment of inspiration for devoting your creativity, talents, and resources to good causes.

You are certainly not required to pay anything in order to attend our meetings. However, if you would like to make a small contribution to our service efforts, you are welcome to do so in our secure Happy Dollars section down the page. This could be what you normally pay at your own club’s meetings for lunch, for example. Any amount is welcome, but first and foremost, we’re happy you’ve joined us, and hope you will share with others who we are and what we do to help inspire Service Above Self.

And don’t forget to fill out our attendance form so you get an email you can pass on to your club’s secretary!

Weekly Funny with the Lady of Laughter (LOL)

We believe laughter is an important part of life, and we should all make time to laugh a little. This segment of our meeting is meant to tickle you just enough. These funnies are curated by member Yvonne Kwan, our “Lady of Laughter!”

April 19 is National Garlic Day! What a stinker, eh?

What kind of socks do you need to plant garlic?
Garden hose!

How do you make garlic toast?
Lift your glass and talk about the wonderful things it has done!

I know someone who has a dog that keeps eating garlic.
His bark is worse than his bite!

Weekly Inspiration

Every week we start our meetings with a short video highlighting innovation, inspiration, entrepreneurship, or social change.

One of the world’s oldest musical forms, throat singing is a stunning physical feat in which performers use precise movements of the mouth, larynx and jaw to create multiple notes simultaneously. For Mendbayar, throat singing is more than a technically impressive performance style; it’s a source of profound happiness and a way to share the beauty of his native Mongolia. When he’s not performing for audiences across Europe and Asia, he’s training the next generation at his International Throat Singing School in Ulaanbaatar.

The Beauty of Mongolian Throat Singing

World of

10 things we can all do to grow Rotary

Learn more at https://blog.rotary.org/2019/03/22/10-things-we-can-all-do-to-grow-rotary/

Through a Rotarian’s Lens

Sometimes a photo can capture an amazing moment. Back by popular demand, Keith Marsh’s photography will feature in this new section, curated by member Keith Marsh himself!
If you’d like to submit a photo for this section please contact Keith.

This was one of my first Milky Way photos taken at Mt Lassen in Northern California in 2012. It was published by the Rotarian magazine in April 2014.

Coffee With a Rotarian

A natural part of Rotary is the networking and the fellowship you get out of meeting other Rotarians. Coffee With a Rotarian is a monthly program of our club where we match participating club members for one-on-one virtual (or in some cases in person) coffee meetings, so they can learn more about each other. This program is organized by member Tzviatko Chiderov.

This week we have Angela from Sydney, Australia reporting on a chat with Vandana from New Delhi, India.

I had a great CWR with Vandana, we spoke about many things, ranging from the importance of female empowerment, the role of women in Rotary and how this has to change and expand and the sentiments of women in business.
Vandana works with her husband and she is a Chartered Accountant and also has her MBA and I love that their professional relationship (and personal one) is very balanced. They’ve worked together for many years and enjoyed a strong working relationship which is very inspiring to me.
She joined Rotary initially to meet like minded women in her local areas and enjoys the flexibility of our club.
She has one son who works in France and she has travelled extensively – hopefully she’ll be able to come back to Sydney and meet us!
Thank you Vandana, it was an awesome chat.

We encourage all club members to participate in Coffee With a Rotarian. You can sign up here!

Service Report

Tell us about service you’ve done recently in your community.
Click here to fill out The Rotary eClub of Silicon Valley Service Survey


On the first meeting of every month, we feature service reports from club members for the previous month. Thanks for your service everyone!

For Members Only

February 2019 Club Announcements

  • “Hi! Do you have any questions about the club?” – The New Facebook Chatbot on Main Pages. If you have visited any of our non-meeting pages in the past few days, you’ll notice that we now have a Facebook Chatbot active on our site. This is one of our new initiatives to try to convert more prospective leads into members, as well as to increase interaction between guests and our club. Messages will be responded to by our social media team. Please note this messenger chat isn’t designed for club members. Members, if you still want to contact someone, please direct your notices to the email of the member or the officer you want to reach.
  • 2019 Homepage Refresh! After hearing feedback from members, the webmasters can now say that we have finally gotten around to updating the main hero image on the homepage into something that we believe better represents the global and the digital nature of our club. We’ll be periodically changing the graphic throughout the year, as we continue to refresh different parts of our site.
  • Join page updated! The webmaster team has done a much-needed facelift for the Join page. The start of a new year is the perfect time to share with friends and colleagues our Join page!
  • Weekly Meeting Disqus Reactions Updated. Did you know you can leave a reaction for each of our weekly meetings now? Right above the comments for a weekly meeting, you’ll now find four different reactions you can vote for. We’ve also added some comment policy, and are working on fine-tuning a few other pieces to the comments and the meetings.
  • New year, new posts! eClub Rotarians – haven’t joined the conversation on Facebook yet? Consider joining the conversation by signing into our club members-only Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/rotarysiliconvalley/

Our Events & Projects

We hold our meetings online, but we do regular service projects and social events in the Silicon Valley! This section is updated every week with our upcoming events. We welcome guests to all of the events and service projects listed here.

Also be sure to join our Meetup Group for automatic calendar updates and to RSVP for our events! These are open to all guests as well!

Upcoming Events:

All times are Pacific Time! (San Francisco time)

More events coming soon! All events are open to guests, unless otherwise mentioned. Feel free to join us! If you ever have questions, please email inquiries@siliconvalleyrotary.com

What would you like to do?

Hey Members! Let us know what you want to do by posting in our members-only Facebook Group (if you don’t have access, please request it with Webmaster Mitty). Remember, you’re only taking advantage of the full impact of Rotary when you’re stepping up to get involved.

eClub vs. Cancer!

Our club annually gets together to support the fight against cancer, and our 2019 effort starts this week – we would like every member of this club to get involved! You can walk as part of our group at the Santa Clara Relay for Life on April 27th, donate to help fund medical research, or honor a friend or family member battling cancer.

We’re coming down to the wire – The start of Santa Clara’s Relay for Life event is less than two weeks away, but we still have time to get everyone taking part in our effort!

A big thanks to everyone who has done any of the items outlined in the email (sent last Saturday): Ferheen, Heather, Maxi, Yvonne, Brian, Celine, Tzviatko, Andrew, Monique, Rory, Rushton, Shags, Brett, Ange, Suzanne, Nate, Keith, Sandy, Linda, Vandana, and Catherine. You all rock, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

As a reminder, we’re working to raise funds for the American Cancer Society to fight cancer through research for a cure, programs for survivors and caregivers, and more. It’s an honorable cause, and we want everyone to be part of the effort.

If you’re not sure how best to join in, reply to Rushton’s email and ask. There’s always a way, and we want you to help make cancer history!

image credit: Uncle Sam I Want You – Poster Illustration by DonkeyHotey from Flickr (CC by 2.0)



Happy Dollars: Do Good by Sharing Something Good

Each week we ask our members to share stories with the club and toss in a few dollars to support our efforts. The primary goal of this section is to provide a fun way of getting to know each fellow members and guests, while giving back to a good cause.


Happy dollars is an opportunity to share something positive that has happened in your life whether it is personal or business. Think of it as your opportunity to brag a little, but also put a little bit into a karma jar. The money donated through happy dollars is put to charitable use, and the message that you leave for happy dollars will be posted in our online meeting the following week for the entire week for folks to see! (Pending that it’s appropriate!)

Here are the happy dollars contributions from last week!
This section is usually updated on the early hours of Saturday, so contributions made over the weekend may not be listed here.

Rory Olsen made a $20 donation.
Nice weather. All is well.

Brian Liddicoat made a $15 donation.
Nice flying trip with my son Richard this past weekend.

Catherine A made a $20 donation.
Happy that some home maintenance projects are (finally) being completed this month!

Share your happy dollars thoughts with us and help with doing good around the world.

Fill out my online form.

Selected Comments

Every week at the bottom of our meetings, there is a comments section for members and guests to tell us what they enjoyed about the meeting or to ask questions to the speaker. We select a few comments every week from last week’s meeting to be featured during this week’s meeting.


Here are the comments selected from last week’s meeting.

Nan Herron said:
Bernadette, such important work you’re doing! And yes! Absolutely because it’s the right thing to do!

Suzanne Van Stralen said:
Bernadette, thank you for sharing your inspiring video and food recovery program. I love your emphasis on compassion and giving back rather than judgment of others. I hope that you receive government funding.

Catherine A said:
Loved the Kombucha video plus hearing about a great food recovery program to recapture food which might go to waste while so many go hungry. Congrats to Rushton for the Cancer awareness efforts, which allowed me to both donate and buy a luminaria to honor my deceased father on his birthday this month! RESV rocks!

Nathan Gildart said:
Bernadette, thank you for the presentation again. I didn’t realize so much methane was produced by organic materials. Of the insightful comments, one that I think is important is how donors and volunteers have to be mindful of their intentions. I learned this while volunteering after the earthquake in Japan in 2011. Many donors were not reading bulletins about what was needed and volunteer/storage centers were overloaded with items that were not of immediate need. (have to respect people’s intentions, of course) Great to see that you’re partnering with schools, but hope that the government is stepping up and funding these kinds of initiatives. With the level of taxation in Canada the haves should be able to support the have-nots.


Be sure to leave a comment at the end of this week’s meeting after you watch the program below, and perhaps you’ll see your comment featured next week!

Program: Subsistence farmers empowered in Malawi!

Speaker: Johann van der Ham

Every week we bring to you a new program on innovation, entrepreneurship, and education, and how those contribute to service to others. Special thanks to member Roger Plested for leading our club’s Programs Committee in finding us amazing speakers each week.

My wife and I moved from South Africa to Malawi in 1999, with a passion to share the love of God. Initially our work consisted mostly of feeding and caring of orphans and widows. In 2002, a severe draught occurred, which left people starving to death in certain parts of the country. In spite of the drought, the land at the children’s home where we served produced an abundant crop. I applied a few simple principles on the land which were evident in creation. That year these simple principles of farming could have meant the difference between survival and starvation, if the people only knew. This heart wrenching experience left us with a sense of responsibility and propelled us on a journey to share what we have learned to as many people as possible.

Over the last 20 years we acquired an aptitude to communicate simple truths with humour, compassion and conviction. Many times we were discouraged by low adoption rates. This forced us to change our strategy from training of farmers to training trainers. The Crown Stewardship School was established in 2012 with this in mind. The school is presenting a 6 weeks TOT course with three intakes a year. It attracts students from all over Malawi as well as Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, Rwanda, Cameroon, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA.
Today many farmers are breaking out of the cycle of poverty after learning how to become faithful stewards of the land. We are partnering with Foundations for Farming, an initiative from Zimbabwe aimed at bringing transformation to individuals, communities and nations through faithful and productive use of the land. Crown Financial Ministries in the USA is partnering with us and hope to see many more schools established in sub-Saharan Africa.

No ploughing, no synthetic fertilizer, no burning. No need to be hungry in Malawi!

Johann van der Ham – Subsistence farmers empowered in Malawi

Additional Resources

Share your thoughts or ask our speaker a question in the comments at the bottom of this meeting page!

Upcoming Program Recording Schedule

All of our guest speakers and programs are recorded live online over Zoom video conference. We welcome members and guests to join us in one of these upcoming recordings. Recordings are approximately 30 minutes long and are subject to change without notice.

Our online video conference room link for these recordings is always https://zoom.us/j/5104080000. You are welcome to join us! Please note the timezone listed for all recordings is US Pacific Time (San Francisco, California, USA).

If you can’t join the live recording, please send your questions for an upcoming speaker to programs@siliconvalleyrotary.com.

You’re Almost Done! Please complete The Attendance Survey…

Thanks for reading and watching this week’s meeting. You have two last things to do before you’re done.

We have a very short attendance survey below for you to fill out to record your attendance.

Visiting Rotarians, this is how you can get an email receipt to pass along to your club’s secretary as proof that you’ve attended our meeting if you need it for makeups.

Non-Rotarian Guests, we would love to see who is dropping by our meetings! This part is optional for you. If you think you may want to join our eClub at some point in the future, we would strongly recommend you fill out the attendance form as it will improve your chances of success for your membership application.

For all members and guests — we strongly recommend and ask that you leave a comment in our comments area below. Tell us how you enjoyed the program. Ask this week’s speaker any questions you might have. Or just stop by and say hello and tell us where you’re from!

Fill out my online form.

2019-04-14T06:49:44+00:00April 15th, 2019|0 Comments