Conviction, enthusiasm and energy of youth

In a recent project done by the Rotary Club of ­Addiction Prevention in Mumbai, RID 3141, in which over 620 sanitary workers were given awareness, counselling and screening for various kinds of cancers, hypertension, diabetes, etc, a high percentage of addiction was found for both tobacco and alcohol. The heartening part is that while 20 Rotarians from this and another Rotary club conducted the project titled ‘Deaddiction and cancer screening for Sanitation workers,’ they took help from 25 Rotaractors from two community-based Rotaract clubs in Mumbai — RAC of Medicrew and RAC Caduceus.

All the 25 Rotaractors were so deeply engaged in the work, that RCAP president Dr Nilam Gada said “they were extremely energetic and very involved, had a no-complaint attitude, were very flexible and hardworking.” Apart from helping with crowd management, filling forms, assisting the doctors, their partnership was a big help because they included doctors and medical students and were a tremendous help in screening the sanitation workers for BP, sugar, etc.

In every major Rotary event conducted and attended by senior Rotary leaders from both India and Rotary International, the increasing importance given to Rotaractors cannot be missed. That is because you, dear Rotaractors, do whatever you do with passion, energy, enthusiasm and a dedication which is surprising from your age group. At Visakha Vista, our recent zone institute in Vizag, convened by RI director Mahesh Kotbagi, I was deeply impressed by the confidence and conviction with which Madhura Mundada, international service chair and LGBTQ director from the Rotaract Club of Ruia, Mumbai, put forth her views on diversity, and the justice and equity required for those with a sexual orientation in the panel discussion on diversity chaired by RI director Vicki Puliz.

Since both her parents are Rotarians, when Madhura joined her college, there was a Rotaract club “and I immediately knew I wanted to join it.” When she was told by her club leaders that this was its 10th year and they would like to start an LGBT chapter and “could I lead it, I readily agreed. They said but people can assume you are from the LGBTQ community and I said but everybody is from the LGBTQ community!” She said she came from “a small town where people don’t understand what LGBTQ is… they just don’t have any idea about it. You asked what Rotary could do, I’d say let’s start educating people at the school level, bring this issue in the syllabus. I can tell you that if a few years ago you had asked me about diversity, I would have been blank. So people need to learn about it at a younger age.”

To make RI’s new mantra of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion come true, especially in a relatively conservative India, we need many more such bold voices… which come wrapped in both confidence and conviction.

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Rasheeda Bhagat

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