Dear Pratham friends…
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others". Natural calamities, contagious diseases, acts of terror, gory wars, and disasters due to failure of man-made systems – these create unforeseen human suffering. Our emotional responses in the face of such enormous problems fall in three predominant categories. We may feel like a straw thrown in fast rapids - too overwhelmed to act. We may respond with ostrich effect - bury our heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge these adversities. Or, we can catch the wind in our sails - swerve to action. We all Rotarians belong to the last category. Let me give a few examples of how we at District 3141 have geared up to meet the demands of the times:
The events that unfolded at the Felicitation of TRF Trustee Rtn Kalyan Banerjee, the first felicitation organized for him, validate this. The august gathering of 400 enthusiastic Rotarians at YB Chavan Hall was just the beginning of an incredible day. The ever-ready TRF Giving Team’s announcement of the MOU signed with YES Bank committing to match Rotary donations on a 1:1 basis bolstered the morale of all there. Then there was this sweet tedious line of about 100 Rotarians queuing up with donations big and small right there.The TRF Giving Team’s announcement of a whopping 1.2 million US Dollars for TRF added the final magical touch, and culminated in a dinner meet attended about 130 Rotarians.
The next development that will substantiate our penchant for action is the resolution 25 clubs in our District have taken to increase membership by 25%. They will qualify for Platinum Category. This augurs well for our target of reaching 1111 new members.
Contrary to the decline of membership in Europe, Canada and North America, in India we have an increase of 26% increase in membership. Yet there are three keen observations here. Increasing women members is a major aspiration. The world membership data shows about 22% of women membership, whereas in India it is a pitiful 9%. Women have long proven their worth at the community and international level, leading in a multitude of professions and excelling at the highest professional level. We must leverage the unique characteristics of sharing, caring, compassion and discipline that women bring to our force. Our goal should be to add young members below the age of 40. 70% of Rotary club members are 50 years or older, and only 10% are age 40 and under. Clubs that attract younger professionals thrive, and have an abundance of engaged members to choose from for club leadership roles.
Organ donation is the third area where we have proved our mettle for taking action. “You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give” said the great poet, Kahlil Gibran. 100 % of members in 28 clubs have volunteered to pledge their organs.Almost 1.5 lakh people in India need a kidney; however, only 3000 of them receive one. India’s annual liver transplant requirement is 25,000, but we manage only about 800.In India, we have an estimated 4.6 million people with corneal blindness. But only about 40 thousand eye donations happened last year. The country needs 10 lakh more donors to meet its requirement for heart transplants. I look forward to all the clubs in our District to sign up for organ donation. One person’s donation can save almost 8 lives.
Lastly, Installation Ceremonies have affirmed my faith that we have clear action points. 500 plus Rotarians attended my Installation on 26th June at Hotel Taj Palace. The huddle with seven AKS members gave me hope that our TRF Giving & large service projects will receive unprecedented support. The club installations, about 80 of them, with vibrant participation, meticulous planning and declaration of club mega service projects, & response to Thrust area projects of Diabetes Detection and Cure, Pediatric Heart
Surgery, Nityam Toilets & Railway station adoption gave me resounding proof that our goals are not castles built on air, but have a strong foundation of integrity and solidarity.
Let us, together, as part of Rotary serving Humanity, unite to act.
“Pratham – Poised to be the Prem, Prime and Pride of Rotary”!