If any evidence was required of Rotary International really embracing youth energy, enthusiasm and leadership, and walking the talk when it comes to making Rotaract a member of RI through the recent CoL resolution, it was amply evident at the Hamburg Rotary Convention. Every senior RI leader, including RI President Barry Rassin, incoming President Mark Maloney and Trustee Chair Brenda Cressey, reiterated in their speeches how important Rotaractors were for Rotary’s quest in making our world a better place for diverse groups of people… President Rassin and the organising committee of the convention ensured that not only the opening session, but all the plenaries and many of the breakouts featured the exemplary work done by the young. Whether it was the young artist, Jamaal Rolle who did a breathtaking live painting of oral polio drops being administered to a child, which was later auctioned, or Dr Pia Skarabis-Querfeld, a Rotarian who has helped thousands of Syrian refugees in Berlin by building an amazing network of volunteer doctors to treat sick refugees, the convention celebrated
That India is holding a beacon to the Rotary world was reiterated by none less than President Rassin himself who addressed the conventional South Asia Reception in Hamburg where Rotarians from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh were represented. That RI has a lot of expectations and aspirations from this region could be seen from the reception attracting the who’s who of RI’s present and past senior leaders, including RI presidents, directors and trustees.
It was a proud moment for South Asian Rotarians when Rassin complimented them for great service projects and said: “We can’t thank you enough for what you’re doing. Not only does South Asia have the fastest growing membership in the Rotary world, I also believe that this region can be No 1 in giving to our Foundation. You can do it… you have the generosity, the spirit and the ability to do things that inspires the rest of the world.” But the last mile in polio eradication needs to be covered, and while Nigeria was on the verge of being declared polio-free, Pakistan and Afghanistan continued to face challenges. And till this region was polio-free, Rotarians of the world can’t take their eye off the goal. Rotary has made a promise to the children of the world and “we have to and will keep this promise,” he added.
The persistent, persuasive and dedicated work done by PRIP Rajendra Saboo and Usha came in for a special mention not only at this reception, but also in one of the plenary sessions with the RI President saying a “special thank you” to Saboo and Usha for “the amazing work they continue to do.”
And now a Johns Hopkins University report estimates that the value of the 45 million volunteer service hours that Rotarians put in every year is around $850 million! As a new Rotary year begins, what greater encouragement can you ask for to charge your batteries and put wind in your sails to make an even bigger impact in the communities you inhabit? The challenges are only getting bigger on all fronts, but every single humanitarian project you do makes a dent in those challenges.