RI President-elect Barry Rassin’s theme for 2018-19, Be the Inspiration, asks Rotarians to inspire change in the world and in each other. “I ask all of you to Be the Inspiration to help Rotary move from reaction to action — to take a hard look at the environmental issues that affect health and welfare around the world and do what we can to help.”
Since Rotary was founded 113 years ago, its role in the world and in the lives of its members has been in a state of continuous evolution. In its earliest days, Rotary offered its members a way to find fellowship and friendship and to build connections within their communities. Soon after, service found a place in Rotary, and as our organization expanded, so did its influence. In time, Rotary’s service, supported by our Rotary Foundation, would change the lives of families and communities across the world. We formed partnerships and focused our service to increase our impact. We launched the world’s largest public-private health initiative, partnering with governments, international organizations, and countless local and regional health agencies to eradicate polio. More and more, our members came to us seeking not just friendship but a way to take action for good.
Rotary still is, and always will be, the organization Paul Harris envisioned: a place where people from every corner of the earth can come together to become something greater than themselves. Yet Rotary today offers something of singular and enduring value: the chance to be part of a global network of people who have the talent and the drive to change the world. We are men and women who believe in the power of community action to make a global impact — and together, we have the capacity and the resources to achieve almost anything.
Globally, Rotary is more relevant than ever before, and its potential for good is vast. Unfortunately, not enough people fully understand what Rotary is and does. Even within our clubs, many Rotarians don’t know enough about Rotary to take full advantage of what Rotary membership offers.
Rotary service transforms lives and communities. To achieve even more of that truly transformational service, we need to think differently about our role in Rotary, and Rotary’s role in the world. We need to put more emphasis on our public image, using social media to build our membership and attract the partners that can help us scale up our service. We need to focus on larger projects that have a more lasting impact, taking the time to research and plan work that spans Rotary years and terms of office. Most important of all, we need to Be the Inspiration for positive change, inspiring our clubs, our communities, and our organization to face today’s challenges head on, with courage, optimism, and creativity.
As Paul Harris put it, “Rotary is a microcosm of a world at peace, a model which nations will do well to follow.” To me, Rotary is not only a model but an inspiration. It shows us what is possible, inspires us to reach for it, and gives us a path to act — and to Be the Inspiration to our world.
What do you do for a living?
I work in Software Support and training within the legal industry.
What do you do for fun?
For fun I like to socialise as I like to be in company of people. I love to read and I also watch a lot of movies.
Where are you from?
I am originally from India, I came to UK when I was 8.
Can you tell us something we may not know about you?
I am very much into history, and I read about people all the time, how they lived their time. So I am always on Wikipedia reading about some person.
Where did you go on your last holiday?
I went on a cruise in May 2016 from Alaska to Vancouver
What is your favourite book/film and why?
There are just too many to choose from so to name one is very hard! But I’ll play along, I’d go with Gregory Peck – To kill a mocking bird… such a classic.
Why did you join Rotary?
To meet people from my community and to see if I can do something in the local area. An unexpected, but recently realised reason, is to see life and the world beyond myself.
What have you enjoyed most in Rotary so far?
I have enjoyed it all! The Christmas dinner, reindeer racing, going to the peace conference most recently.
Which Rotary events are you looking forward to?
Helping out at the Easter Family Fun Day with the other club members.
If you could describe our Rotary Club in 3 words what would they be?
Passionate, Giving, Relentless – in helping people.
A couple of weeks ago, one of my longstanding wishes was fulfilled, when Nisha told me about a “Visit My Mosque” event after that morning’s club meeting. Rebecca, Nisha and I had a really interesting afternoon. The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming, and the place was full of people from a wide range of ages and backgrounds.
We saw displays about the key points about Islam, as well as some beautiful old manuscripts dating back hundreds of years. There was a talk by the imam, and we heard a recitation from the Koran from a schoolboy. One young man told us how he had cycled to Mecca for the Hajj, and we heard about a Scout group associated with the mosque.
The Prime Minister was there –as you will see from Nisha’s photos! The mosque also provided some home cooked refreshments, which were extremely popular.It was an enjoyable afternoon, and a great opportunity to learn more about one of the world’s biggest religions.
During 2018 a series of peace conferences are taking place around the world. Each is related to one of Rotary’s six areas of focus. The Coventry one focussed on the relationship between peace, and disease prevention and treatment.
From our club, Victoria, Archana and I attended but several other Maidenhead Rotarians were also there. The day involved a very early start, and I must confess that on the train I wondered whether the day would be worth the effort! It certainly was!
I had not appreciated that this was a global event. Neither had I quite realised the resources which Rotary can call on. I cannot envisage another situation where I would have the chance to hear from a Nobel Prize winner, a WHO expert and an academic on intercultural relations, in one day.
The agenda was divided between plenary and smaller group sessions. In the breaks there were stalls about different topics – Rotary Foundation (our own charity), Rotary Action Groups related to health topics such as malaria, and those focussing on charities like the Jaipur Limb Project.
It is impossible for me to pick out the best parts – because the day was of a very high standard. A few moments have stayed in my mind are as follows.
A Polish Rotarian quoted Paul Harris who (apparently!) said “Working together there is no limit to what you can achieve”. We heard how important it was to engage local people in decision making about their own communities, and to be adaptable to local situations.
A common theme was that every Rotary project that helped with water, health care or similar basic needs was also working towards peace. Even if it seemed relatively small, every contribution made a difference.
The issue of safety came up. I had never considered that health workers would be among those killed, in man-made (and natural) disasters, and the community would have lost their expertise at a time when it was most needed.
It is noticeable that the countries where polio cases are still occurring, are those where it can be dangerous to carry out vaccination programmes. This was really brought home to me when one of the hugely impressive young peace scholars talked about how they had made risk assessments. She said local conditions must be understood, and that even the choice of vehicle and what was written on it mattered, to ensure one was recognised as being truly neutral.
Dr Guerra from the WHO gave profuse thanks to Rotary for its commitment to ending polio. He quoted Bill Gates who said “Rotary continues to be the heart and soul of polio eradication”. We heard that the End Polio Now campaign was a great example of successful cooperation between Rotary and several other agencies. Also PolioPlus has provided infrastructure that can be used for other crises – as it was during the Ebola outbreak.
The Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi (Nobel Peace Prize 2003) said the main reason that dreams are not fulfilled is fear of failure, but any setback could be the prelude to bigger victory. “Before a leap you take a step back, so you can leap higher.” She emphasised that to tolerate each other we must first know each other, and that peace was a culture that has to be taught from childhood.
At the end I felt a mixture of optimism, gratitude for living where and when I do, and mental exhaustion at the sheer volume of information and new ideas to which I had been exposed. It was a remarkable experience and I am so glad I decided to go.
“Words without deeds are dead – we as Rotarians bring them to life.”
It seems impossible, but we're now three-quarters through the Rotary year! It's time for a quick look at our Volunteer-Hour stats. Full data is available to anyone interested, but here are a few highlights for us to celebrate….
So all that is left to say is thank you! Thank you for all that you do to support our local community, thank you for giving up your time to help those in need and thank you for doing it all with a smile on your face!
Elisa-Jade, one of our club members, is a qualified chef with over 29 years’ experience cooking at some of finest places, she currently heads up a flag ship corporate fine dining kitchen in the heart of surrey. Food is one of Elisa’s biggest passions and over the years has claimed a number of awards including getting on to MasterChef a few years ago.
SLOW ROASTED SHOULDER OF LAMB WITH BOULANGERE AND CHARRED TENDERSTEM
This slow roasted shoulder of lamb is my go to Sunday lunch dish, I got it from Tom Kerridge a while ago and have used it ever since, so simple but so delicious! It is worth spending a little bit extra on amazing quality lamb.
Ingredients (serves 6):
· 6 large waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
· 3 onions, thinly sliced
· 1 bunch thyme, leaves only
· 2 kg shoulder of lamb
· 1 head garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
· 600ml chicken stock
· 150g tenderstem broccoli
· 20g butter
· 1 lemon, juice only
Where are you from?
I am from Stanwell, very close to Heathrow airport. Now I live in Langley.
What do you do for a living?
I work at as a Nursery Manager in a nursery situated inside a hospital. I have been with the same company for 17 years. I am also the SENCO of the nursery.
What do you do for fun?
I enjoy reading when I get the chance! Watching movies and football (Arsenal Fan), spending time with our children and doing things as a family.
Can you tell us something we might not know about you?
I have broken a fair few bones in my time my leg twice, right arm 8 times and left arm 7 times! I have damaged both knees all as a result of playing football - oh and maybe a drunken girlie weekend which resulted in me ending up in hospital with a broken ankle!!
Where did you last holiday?
My last holiday was to America, we went over for three weeks as my sister-in-law gave birth to baby James! It was a lovely holiday, not only did our daughter turn three, we met our nephew and Matt and I got engaged!
What's your favourite film/book?
My favourite film is Notting Hill; I love the story and its very easy watching! I love to read so I have many favourite books, I love to read anything by James Patterson and Lee Childs, but also Jane Austin!
Why did you join Rotary?
I joined rotary as James and Matthew went out one night and the next day Matt said we were going to a meeting! It’s also a great way to meet new people.
What have you enjoyed most at rotary so far?
I loved helping raise money for Children in Need at Heathrow airport. I got to work with other Rotarians and I met Pudsey Bear!!! I was his guide for 4 hours which was fun!
Which rotary events are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to helping raise money for children in need again this year
Describe Rotary in three words?
I would describe Rotary as being FUN, CHARITABLE and opening my eyes!
This film tells the story of a young man, Robin Cavendish, who contracted polio in 1958. It was produced by his son, who was born two months after his father became ill.
I almost feel guilty for saying it – but in the first part of this film I actually envied the two main characters. They clearly loved each other very much, and were spending time in Kenya shortly after their marriage. The scenery was incredible, and they obviously had a very privileged life. Somehow I felt these golden days had a dreamlike quality, as though they were not quite real.
Things then came crashing down. Frighteningly quickly polio transformed a fit, healthy, carefree man into a paralysed bed ridden invalid. He could only breathe with a mechanical respirator, in hospital, and was not expected to live more than a few months. The story follows the family as they start to try to cope with this sudden tragedy.
At first Robin felt he should be allowed to die as his wife was young and “could start again”. She refused! Over the next few months, she showed incredible courage and determination – especially if one remembers that they had a tiny baby at the time. This culminated when, after a year, they made the joint decision that he should leave the hospital together with his breathing machine. This was unheard of then and went against their medical advice. Luckily a friend was able to invent a respirator built into a wheelchair – releasing Robin from the captivity of a bed. He could then travel and advocate for other disabled people to have the same machines.
So what impact did this film have on me?
I had no conception of the ferocious speed with which polio can attack a perfectly healthy person. Unlike many people in the developing world, I am lucky enough never to have seen a case of polio. This film brought to life the dreadful effects of polio in a way that facts and figures have never done for me.
It did not shy away from showing the difficulties and dangers of Robin’s condition – such as when the plug for his machine was accidentally pulled out, and the severe bleeding after years of being on a respirator. We saw some of the despair and fears they experienced over the years. Even his decision to choose the time of his own death was portrayed.
I was inspired by the example of the Cavendish family, and their friends, in developing the portable breathing apparatus, and campaigning firstly for this to be more widely available, and then more generally for the rights of disabled people. The couple, and later their young son, showed extraordinary bravery and strength over many years.
“Breathe” reminded me why Rotary’s commitment to the End Polio Now campaign is so crucial. There is a quotation that says “If you think one person cannot make a difference, try spending a night with a mosquito!” This film showed exactly how two remarkable people did make a real difference – and how we in Rotary are doing the same every time we support the fight to end this terrible disease.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.