All the 39 district governors in India have done an amazing job by adding 20,000 new members in just one year (2021–22) as compared to a membership growth of 40,000 in the preceding 10 years, which only goes to show that RI mantras, Grow more, do more and Each one, bring one, have been a resounding success in our zones, said PRIP Shekhar Mehta speaking at an awards and thanks giving event hosted by RID 3231 in June at Kancheepuram, near Chennai.
He recalled his global tour with wife Rashi to see Rotary projects and meet heads of state during his presidential year and found that “empowering girls has been the overarching goal of club activities around the world.” In Africa and different parts of the world, “I saw young women doing work with a shine in their eyes. In the 37 years of my Rotary life, I have never seen this much of emphasis on issues such as MHM, skill development and girls’ education as in the last year.”
Rotary clubs across India would have given over 10,000 bicycles to school girls, mostly in rural areas, to help them commute to and from school and prevent their dropout, Mehta said. “Women are half of humanity, and they should have half the opportunities in the world. Men should ensure that women get equal opportunity in every field.”
TRF, the best for giving
If one is donating to TRF, he or she can decide on the way the money should be spent in Rotary, Mehta said. “Our Foundation is the best and most trustworthy charity in the world. The donor can decide where the money should go, be it for End Polio, water and sanitation, Happy Schools, or environment projects.” Fifty per cent of TRF giving comes back to the district as DDF in three years, and along with a global partner the district’s club can do a global grant project. “ Every Rotarian must contribute to TRF every year as it is the vehicle of change for millions of people, for whom daily life is very tough going.”
Service Above Self must be the credo of Rotarians for “we are on a mission to change millions of lives. It is a godsent opportunity as you have the power of Rotary to bring in that change and leave your footprints in the sands of time.” When Indian PM Narendra Modi asked Rotary to celebrate June 25 as World Yoga Day during his inaugural address at the Rotary convention in Houston, he was recognising the power of Rotary to bring in impactful change, said Mehta.
The calibre of 20,000 Rotarians from seven RI districts in Tamil Nadu is much more than state ministers and officials, and “the chief minister must seek opinion from Rotary governors on a development scheme or how to go about it.” Decrying ‘fake clubs’ being chartered in some districts, he said creating new clubs for vote banks to get elected as governors must stop as “such clubs will not last long.” While the Rotary India Humanity Foundation had set an annual target to install 125 dialysis machines across India, “DG J Sridhar, RID 3232, alone has put up 134 machines at Chennai hospitals in this year (2021–22), which is a remarkable feat,” said Mehta.
Eight club presidents who have added over 25 new Rotarians were given gold pins; and 18 Rotarians, including a Major Donor, who had contributed over $1,000 to TRF were honoured. Around 1,300 citations were given by DG Nirmal Raghavan (2021–22) to best performing clubs, presidents, secretaries and noteworthy projects; apart from special recognitions to Rotarians and clubs for their singular contributions. Dr Praveen Raj, bariatric surgeon from Gem Hospital, Coimbatore, who has popularised the anti-obesity surgery, and G Saravanakumar from Minmini Printers, Kancheepuram, were given the Young Achiever Awards.
PDGs C R Chandra Bob, district trainer, A Sampathkumar, district counsellor, DGE J K N Palani, DGN P Bharanidharan and DGND M Rajan Babu were felicitated. “Around 400 Rotarians, including 86 club presidents, and their spouses took part in the awards ceremony. There are 96 clubs and 3,700 Rotarians as on date,” said Prakash Sampath, chairman, Thanksgiving, from RC Arcot East. Last year, the district inducted 670 new members and chartered six new clubs, said C Baskaran, membership chair, RID 3231.