Five years ago, the UN laid out a compelling vision for the future. The global goals present a framework for a cleaner, fairer, more inclusive world for all. With the outbreak of Covid-19, momentum towards this vision has slowed considerably. The second wave of the pandemic has wreaked havoc and sent all aspects into a tailspin. And it has affected the younger age group. This has brought home the point ‘Prevention is better than cure’. I urge all Rotarians, clubs and districts to restrain from holding in-person meetings. Follow the Covid safety protocol and help in the fight against this deadly virus. I commend Rotary clubs, districts and Rotarians who have done tremendous service in spite of the challenges.

The greatest wealth and strength of any nation is its youth. Empowered youth can be a great force to drive a nation towards success and prosperity. To ensure a bright future for our country, we first need to strengthen and empower our youth. Today, India is one of the youngest nations in the world with more than 60 per cent of its population in the working age group. This is a big plus.

Developing countries with large youth population have the potential for tremendous growth, provided they invest in young people’s education, health and provide them with the right opportunities. Today’s youngsters are tomorrow’s innovators, builders and leaders. In Rotary we believe ‘Youth is like white paper; they reflect the impression you make on them’. Whether it is Rotaract, Interact, RYLA or RYPEN, Rotary’s focus on youth is to help them discover and fulfill their potential.

Rotary wants the youth not to lower their goals to the level of their abilities but instead to raise their abilities to the height of their goals. And so Rotary’s work with youth involves building leadership skills, learning, unlearning and relearning about the responsibilities that each of them have to himself and to others, and to imbibe values that could last a lifetime. The actions Rotary takes today for youth will help shape their lives tomorrow.

We all are merely temporary custodians of our wealth and resources. The best use of wealth is to share it with those less fortunate. Baatne se Badhta hain. All of us have sometime or other partaken the fruit from trees we did not plant. It is our time to give and we must plant trees and gardens whose fruits we may never eat, but which will benefit generations to come. This is our responsibility; this is our opportunity. Laying a strong foundation for Interact, Rotaract, indeed all youth will be the perfect way to fulfill our theme ‘Rotary opens opportunities’. Enjoy Rotary. Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Young.

Dr Bharat Pandya,
RI Director, 2019-21

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