I share with you some insights about three Rotarians who inspired me to become a Rotarian.
First was the founder of Rotary Paul Harris. I was motivated by his words: “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” Rotary started with his vision and he formed one of the world’s first service organisations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, 112 years ago as an informal meeting ground where professionals from diverse backgrounds could freely exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. True to Paul Harris’ words Rotarians are achievers.
The second Rotarian was the father of The Rotary Foundation Arch C Klumph. He set up the Endowment Fund “for the purpose of doing good in the world” by contributing $26.50, and triggered the thought of giving amongst Rotarians. Today TRF is one of the biggest philanthropic trusts in the world. Giving has become a habit of Rotarians… India is the second largest contributor to TRF. Giving works because Rotary works. We are proud that 91 per cent of donations go to supporting sustainable humanitarian service projects world over. We’ve wiped out 99.9 percent of all polio cases. Every small contribution works. A child can be protected from polio with as little as 60 cents. Our partners make your donation go even farther. For every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will commit $2. Your contributions train future peacemakers, support clean water and strengthen local economies. Let us give more to TRF and be a part of it. This is a great opportunity to show Rotary: Making a Difference.
The third Rotarian is Herbert J Taylor. He showed us the ethical way of living and introduced the Four-Way Test. He proved to the world the power of the Four-Way Test by applying it in his own business, turning it from a loss-making to profitable one. The Four-Way Test — Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? and Will it be beneficial to all concerned? — is the real taraka mantra to uphold the ethical standards in every sphere of life. This is Rotary’s inbuilt stewardship, the need of the hour, for every Rotarian to be equipped with. Rotary’s ideal of service and fellowship is based on the Four-Way Test. It turns acquaintances into true friendships and is the reason why projects like PolioPlus have become grand successes.
We cannot however live on our past successes. We must endeavour to do better. Almost 800 million people live on less than Rs 125 a day. There are so many projects we can take and make a positive difference in the lives of the lesser privileged. Rotarians are passionate people; they have the energy and innovative ideas to provide sustainable solutions to reduce poverty. The Rotary Foundation spent $9.2 million to grow local economies and reduce poverty last year. It takes $24 to provide safe water for one person. Because of Rotary, 23 million people now have safe water and 21 million people have access to sanitation and hygiene. Thanks to The Rotary Foundation. Rotary hopes to finish providing everyone with safe water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030.
Let us contribute more to The Rotary Foundation and demonstrate to the world, Rotary: Making a Difference.
Director, Rotary International