Beauty with brains is a rare find but I am glad to see an entire room of beautiful ladies who have undoubtedly used their mind, heart and soul to support their partners to make them who they are today. But the journey has just started and as a Rotarian’s spouse you have a lot more to do,” said Vinita, spouse of RID A S Venkatesh, at the spouses session at the Mahabs 21 institute.
She asked them not to miss any opportunity to meet their counterparts from around the world. “This is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get to know the culture and traditions of diverse people,” said Amita, spouse of RID Mahesh Kotbagi. “Rotary opens opportunities for you. Make sure you participate in all the IA events in Orlando, US.” The spouses of DGEs were engaged in a day-long interaction and activities to understand the presidential theme and priorities, their role, and how they could add value to their district conference using the lessons learnt at the International Assembly (IA). “A strong positive self-image is the best preparation for the IA,” said Vidya, spouse of PDG T N Subramanian, RID 3141. She urged them to read the DGE’s Partner Notebook that “gives information and details about all the things you have to know about the IA.” For those who find it difficult to interact in English, “nothing is embarrassing about it. Get help from someone in your team who understands and can interact in English.” The purpose of the IA, Vidya stressed, was “to impart knowledge and skills to support your spouse.” She also shared some valuable tips on travelling light, grooming and etiquette.
It is better to carry simple gifts to exchange at the spouses’ counter at the IA. “Discuss with the current DGs’ spouses in your district to get a better idea,” she said. Apart from it being an “excellent opportunity” to meet and interact with the 540 DGEs and their spouses from across 170 countries, “you will have a great chance to talk to them about your district projects. So, carry a brochure. Sometimes these chance meetings could turn into a good opportunity for global grants,” said Sharmishtha, spouse of PRID Manoj Desai. “You are lucky that you have a training programme and can learn. So, make use of the opportunity,” she said.
Madhavi, wife of RID Bharat Pandya, said “you will need ten hands to participate proactively in all your district activities while taking care of your health and well-being.” She recalled her experience as a DGN spouse “when I was given charge of food packaging for volunteers at a polio vaccination drive in a slum.
I went around ensuring that every child got a dose while the spouses did their job gracefully.” She asked the spouses to read about different RI and TRF programmes.
Raji, wife of PDG Ravi Vadlamani; Roopa, wife of PDG Sameer Hariani; Anu Narang, wife of PDG Sandeep Narang; and Meera, wife of PDG John Daniel also gave valuable tips to the partners on etiquette, cultural norms and traditions, planning and developing communication skills.