The growth and recognition of Rotary as a service organisation for over a century is closely linked to TRF. Doing good in the world does pay dividend; TRF puts contributions from Rotarians and others into service projects that change lives around the world.
Paul Harris said, “Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the result it achieves.” Undoubtedly the singular Foundation programme that got the world to sit up and take notice of Rotary was the polio eradication campaign. In 1979, Rotary undertook a project to immunise six million children in the Philippines. This success led to launch of PolioPlus in 1985 on a global scale. There are many stories about TRF’s work in various avenues but the one given below is the stuff legends are made of.
A four-day ceasefire was declared during the insurgency in Northern Sri Lanka so that RI could administer oral polio vaccine to children. I urge all the Rotary stalwarts who seek contributions for TRF to relate such stories, as everyone is moved by stories that make a difference.
To Rotarians who want to contribute but do not because of the mistaken belief that the amount they have in mind will make no difference to the big picture, I say, “Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. So the little minutes, humble though they may be, make the mighty ages of eternity.”
I am often asked how an apparently meagre individual contribution can be of any use to TRF. Let me say that for as little as ₹42, a child can be protected from polio; ₹3,500 can help provide clean water to prevent water-borne illnesses. Rotarian Arthur Sheldon who joined RC Chicago in 1908 and coined the Rotary motto, said in 1922, “Giving precedes the getting as certainly as seed time precedes the harvest.”
Friends, think of giving to our Foundation not as a duty but a privilege.
Gulam A Vahanvaty
Trustee, The Rotary Foundation