Community to benefit from Rotarians.jpg

Community to benefit from Rotarians


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ALMANCIL INTERNATIONAL Rotary Club (AIRC), one of many associations in the Algarve endeavouring to provide humanitarian services and help to those in need, stands out from the crowd.

Rotary was founded in 1905, and is a worldwide organisation of business and professional leaders. There are around 1.2 million Rotarians, who belong to more than 31,000 clubs in 167 countries. The AIRC is the only club in Portugal to hold its meetings in English and is as international as the Rotary reputation, with no less than seven nationalities represented. The mix of, among others, German, Dutch, Portuguese and English members is impressive and exemplifies the notion of the Rotary Club as an international community.

The AIRC encourages residents of the region to bring out their charitable side, which not only illustrates the generosity and selflessness of Algarve residents, but, in terms of the international community, shows a desire to offer a token of appreciation to their adoptive country.

The AIRC was admitted to Rotary International on May 30, 2006, led by the club’s president, Leif B. Axelsson and incoming president, Soren Hojberg. Despite being a young association, there are a total of 35 members and this number is constantly growing.

Rotarians work in the Algarve in a wide range of industries and sectors. The knowledge and experience of the members is what seems to sustain the Rotary Club, not only on a local scale, but on a national and global plane.

The club meets once a week for lunch and, at nearly every session, a guest speaker is invited to discuss interesting and relevant topics related to the Algarve.

The speaker on their 18th meeting was the chairman of the Vale do Lobo Group of Companies, Sander van Gelder, who spoke about the latest developments that were occurring in the area and what the future held.

Most, if not all, Rotarians attend each meeting, with all members networking and sharing business ideas. The club has arranged excursions for members to get to know each other and most recently to Malhadinha Nova vineyard in Beja, where they learnt about wines and the region.

The AIRC discusses community outreach programme ideas and, at each meeting a donated prize is raffled, with all proceeds going to charity.

Incoming president Soren Hojbjerg told The Resident that there are many projects being initiated by the Community Service Committee. “One project is the school award programme for the international schools. The schools will nominate their best students and the AIRC will then choose the best student from those nominated and award them a special prize.”

There will also be a programme to help parents deal with drugs in the community and the AIRC is also working with the Almancil Junta da Freguesia on a minibus programme to transport the sick and elderly residents in the area.

Another project will fund eye operations for children across the Algarve and the AIRC will arrange one-year exchange programmes for young people to stay with international Rotarians from different countries to learn the language and experience the culture.

One of the principal missions of the Rotary Club for its members is to offer a forum in which to develop personal and professional friendships.

Many worldwide Rotarians are influential and able to initiate change in policy to improve the quality of peoples’ lives all over the world.

To become a Rotarian, the club recommends that you come as a guest for the first few meetings to get to know the atmosphere and the members. Following this, applications should be submitted along with a CV to the Board. If the application is approved by the board, the members are asked to vote.


  The AIRC meets every Wednesday between 1.30pm and 3pm at the Couleur France in Almancil. For more information, visit