Xuanzang, the Chinese pilgrim to India, in his 7th-century CE memoir, describes many punyashalas and dharmashalas (houses of goodness and charity) in Takka (Punjab) and other Indian cities. He recorded that these places served the poor and the unfortunate, providing them food, clothing and medicine, and also welcomed travellers and the destitute. So common were these, he wrote, that “travellers (like him) were never badly off”.
Al-Biruni, the Persian historian, who visited and lived in India for 16 years from 1017, mentions the practice of charity and almsgiving among Indians as he observed during his stay. He wrote, “It is obligatory with them (Indians) every day to give alms as much as possible.”
Giving is ingrained in the Indian ethos. And one of the best forms of giving is where neither the donor nor the recipient knows one another and where the giving helps the recipient become self-reliant. Foundation giving is that ‘best’ form of giving. One does not know who benefits from one’s giving. We have all heard that when you give someone fish, you feed the person for a day; teach them to fish and you feed them for a lifetime. TRF not only gives the fish but teaches to fish.
As we enter the last quarter of the 22–23 Rotary year, it is time to focus and encourage Rotarians to give and invest in TRF. It is an investment which will bear fruit for years and decades to come. Share success stories about the work of the Foundation and encourage every Rotarian to give to TRF.
Significant achievements are not always made by giant leaps but by small and proper steps in the right direction. Encourage each club to contribute more than what was given earlier. Motivate clubs and Rotarians to contribute to the End Polio Now Fund. Let us all gear up to fulfil our promise of a polio-free world and keep doing good for our community and our world.
Where the vision is one year, cultivate flowers; where the vision is ten years, cultivate trees; where the vision is a lifetime, support and strengthen The Rotary Foundation.
Lead the way to the future of our Rotary Foundation.
TRF Trustee, 2022–26