Anthropologist Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
So it is in the Rotary world. Who would have ever thought that Arch Klumph’s idea to set up a Foundation, with a contribution of just $26.5, would do so much good in the world!
Since 1947, the programme awards have totalled $4.9 billion (about ₹36,000 crore). Wherever Rotarians identify a need, TRF is ready and willing to assist. Since the Future Vision brought in the new grants structure, our major concentration has been in the six areas of focus, under which the environment was also covered But after advocacy by several groups, including the Rotary Action Group on Environment Sustainability, TRF made protecting the environment our seventh area of focus.
Like music and art, the love of nature transcends barriers, geographical or social. As we have no Planet B, we need to do all we can to preserve the environment for future generations. But for this, Rotarians worldwide will have to contribute to TRF for this initiative.
Giving is part of the Indian DNA, but a historic change in polio eradication occurred thanks to giving from every corner of the globe. Today, polio exists in only two countries and we are on the path to a polio-free world. So do give generously to our Annual and Polio Funds. As we observed Women’s Day, I recalled Margaret Thatcher’s words: “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”
I completely support Rotary’s strong advocacy of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. While this goes far beyond gender equity, let’s begin by giving more women the opportunity to take up leadership roles in Rotary. As Jonathan Schiller said: “Honour women! They entwine and weave heavenly roses in our earthly life.”
Gulam A Vahanvaty
Trustee, The Rotary Foundation