The recently concluded Rotary Zone Institute had a first-of-sorts in that Rotaractors (DRRs) were invited to participate in the Institute for the first time in our zones. The presence of a good number of DRRs at the Institute speaks well of their involvement in Rotary. Not only did they attend the Institute, they also had a separate session which was addressed by many senior Rotary leaders and they were involved in a panel discussion in the general Institute Plenary. It was a reiteration of our efforts to Elevate Rotaract.
I believe that Rotaract is about building leadership skills, learning, unlearning and relearning about the responsibilities that each young person has — to himself and to others — and to imbibe values that could last a lifetime. That is what the Institute offered to the Rotaractors — an opportunity to be inspired by the Dare to Dream awardees — double amputee Vikram Agnihotri, educationist Uttam Sanjel, revolutionary farmer Dnyaneshwar Bodke, para-badminton world champion Manasi Joshi and many others who ‘dared to dream’ and pursued their dreams.
The take-home message was that if we dare, dream, identify a purpose and work towards it with dedication and perseverance we can achieve all we want. As someone rightly said, “We cannot build the future for our youth but we can build our youth for the future.” That is Rotary’s aim to build a strong, vibrant youth with a sound value system for our nation’s future.
We have progressed as a nation. Challenges remain but we tend to focus only on the negative. We say the government is inefficient, roads are bad, railways are a problem. We say our country is going to the dogs. And we complain and complain and come up with the excuse, ‘It’s the system.What can I do?’ The system has to change. And we wait for the “system” to change. Who will change the system? It is you and I, my young friends. We can change it if we dare and dream. Through Rotaract you have the opportunity to embrace the change, become the change and be the torchbearers and trailblazers of change.
As Gandhiji rightly said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Let us, through Rotaract work, do just that — become that change to ensure a brighter future for our world.
RI Director, 2019-21