Fifty new Rotaract clubs were installed in District 3232 this year. The new presidents and secretaries received their certificates of appreciation from PRIP Gary Huang at the Rotaract golden jubilee celebrations held recently in Chennai. While 25 clubs received their charters, the rest are awaited from the RI Board.
India is under transformation with a visible change in its leadership and Rotary’s role in nation-building is cut out even as it nurtures Rotaractors who stand apart for their multi-dimensional traits, said RID C Basker, inaugurating the grand event. He urged the Rotaractors to fully leverage the ‘learning opportunity’ the Rotary platform opens for them. “You are role models in your colleges and among your friends. Rotary enables you to know what is happening in the world, learn from successful leaders, and motivates you to make meaningful changes in your communities. Hence, always think as global citizens with a vision to innovate,” he said.
Stand-up, be counted
Rotaractors must remember that they are part of something bigger and have to work and make a difference to their community, said PRIP Gary. Every Rotaractor has a choice of how big an impact he or she wants to make. “You want to stand up and be counted, or let chances slip by, it is for you to decide,” he said and urged them to continue with their exemplary work. At the same time “challenge yourself, do what is interesting and not what is easy. Just continue to make a difference.”
Rotaract (Rotary-in-action) was formed in 1968 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the RI Board believed that Rotaractors would shape the future of Rotary. “Hence, we want to help and support them in all their endeavours as they get ready to become leaders in their own right,” said PRID P T Prabhakar.
The CoL has facilitated a smoother transition for Rotaractors to become Rotarians and this will further harness the potential of Indian youth, who make up nearly 70 per cent of the country’s 1.2 billion population. Citing football sensation Pele’s words: ‘Show me the youth of a country, I will predict its future’, Prabhakar highlighted the fact that D 3232 has the world’s largest Rotaractor strength for a single district.
“Rotaract chisels its members with good experiences, puts you up at the front and makes you an all-round leader. We depend a lot on Rotaractors for implementing our projects and community initiatives,” said DG R Srinivasan.
PDG ISAK Nazar recalled that the scaling up of Rotary activity in the district happened from 2013–14 when Rotaractors set a Guinness Record in Hi-5 and followed it up with another record in My Flag, My India, the next year. Lauding the grand 25-minute flag march at the start of the celebrations, he said that it “created an aura of a global convention.”
Summing up the Rotaract activities, DRR C Dhanakodi said they were the first to conduct a RYLA for and by Rotaractors, a showcase event being held twice a year. They had hosted Rotasia, a global meet, in 2007; the Asian DRRs-elect training seminar (ADETS) Pride in 2012; and Rotaract Zone Institute 2017 titled The One.
Over 1,700 Rotaractors and 300 Rotarians, apart from DRRs from Mumbai, Kolhapur, Mysore, Udumalpet amd Tirunelveli were present at the event.
Nine new Rotary clubs
Later that evening, PRIP Gary inaugurated nine new Rotary clubs — five chartered clubs and four others awaiting charter from the RI Board. “I joined Rotary 40 years ago at the age of 31, and was the youngest member of my club where the average age was 50. But in India, the chances of young Rotarians becoming DGs and quickly graduating to other leadership positions are more as you are now getting more younger members,” he said.
Lauding Srinivasan and his team for organising the two-day event — Grandeur — PRID P T Prabhakar recalled that of the 34 zones, Zone-5 comprising South India, contributed 63 per cent of the total number of Rotarians — 70,000 — that were added during PRIP Gary’s year as President (2014–15). In the last five years, Rotary India has ranked first in membership growth and is next only to the US in Foundation giving, he added.
To honour PRIP Gary an International Nite was organised, the main purpose of which was to showcase to the international community in Chennai the tremendous work done by Rotary for polio eradication in the last 33 years. “It was an event where the diplomats and trade representatives from Taiwan, Malaysia, Korea, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Germany and Spain participated, and we had the expat business community’s representation from US, Japan and Russia,” said Chairman of the event L Neelakantan.
A video film was shown to impress upon the international delegates the extensive nature of the work Rotarians across the world had done from 1985 to 2017 for polio eradication.
- D 3232 has 121 Rotaract clubs and 26,000 Rotaractors, the largest in the world for a single district. With the addition of 50 new clubs, the present tally is 171 clubs.
- Has two Guinness Records in Hi-5 and My Flag, My India created by Rotaractors in 2013–14.
- RID Basker said that Rotaract News, a digital magazine, will be launched soon to publish events and happenings of the Rotaract world.