Striking a chord with Annets
Dreams are part of our life and once we strive to realise those wonderful dreams, leaders emerge in the world, said RI President Jennifer Jones during a lively interaction with members of District Annets Council (DAC), RID 3232. “So, you are the future leaders of Rotary and I can see the incredible capacity to do service in you which is amazing at your age,” she said.
She recalled the journey of PDG Rekha Shetty, the second woman governor in Asia, from being an Annet to leading her district as governor, and said her rise in the Rotary hierarchy is an inspiration to children of Rotarians. She called all Annets below 15 to the dais, and asked them to spell out their dreams and ambitions. Amongst replies such as I want to be a doctor, engineer, IAS officer, take on my parent’s business, architect, join the army, aeronautics, IT technocrat, et al, one boy stood out with a different view. “I want to become a scientist to invent new things and change the world.” “Wow!” exclaimed Jones, “this is what Rotarians are striving to do now”.
Earlier, DAC chairperson Rtn Shravan Prashanth, charter president of RC Chennai Amethyst, formed in 2019 with Annets-turned-Rotarians, said Annets must be mentored in the right way by Rotarians so that they become leaders and achieve their mission in life.
Started in 2014 during the tenure of PDG ISAK Nazar, the DAC has enlarged its activity through projects like annual Annadhanam (mass feeding), cleaning the beach, trekking and RYLA camps, etc, which enabled the 200-member council to aim bigger and bolder in project outreach, he said. There are around 100 Annet clubs in Chennai.
District Annet Representative Shilpa Bothra said, “we are imagining big to build friendship, do service and learn what is not taught in schools.” She compared President Jones to a singapenn (lioness) as she is a trailblazer showing the way for other women to follow, she added. A cupboard was installed by Jones under Project Stain Free which would assist girls in menstrual hygiene. The DAC will be donating 500 cupboards to government schools to stock sanitary napkins. For the first time, the DAC, Chennai, has given a commitment to TRF and “Annets will keep up that promise,” she said.
Rtn Rajesh Kumar from RC Madras Connemara, recalled that he was a shy boy and an introvert till “I became a member of DAC. I am the youngest member in my Rotary club when I joined in 2015.”
Another Rotarian, Dilip Kumar from RC Anna Nagar West, who was also the charter secretary of the Annets Club of Anna Nagar West, said, “my business has improved a lot now after my bonding with the Annets. This is an easy way to connect with people.” A Rotarian for three years, Aeishna, said that she now has several opportunities to interact with great people, thanks to “my grooming at the Annets Council.” At 27, she led RC Chennai Amethyst as the youngest club president in India, in 2020–21.
DG Dr N Nandakumar, S Muthupalaniappan, PDGs Nazar, Chandramohan, Rekha Shetty, RIDE T N Subramanian and AKS member M Ambalavanan were present at this interactive session.
Pictures by V Muthukumaran