Under the blazing sun, 1,591 participants stood strong, holding a vibrant green fabric in their hands. Their mission? To form the world’s largest green ribbon, stretching across a massive area of 98,294 sqft. This inspiring initiative aimed to raise awareness about mental health and was made possible through the joint efforts of RACs Bhubaneswar Royal and Byasabhoomi Jajpur Road, RID 3262.
This remarkable achievement surpassed the previous Asia Pacific Records held by Spain, covering an area of 60,500 sqft and in terms of participants exceeded RID 3000 which had 1033 participants. “More than just a record-breaking feat, this event showcased the indomitable spirit and limitless potential of Rotaract,” says DRR Abhilash Boitai.
The journey leading up to the creation of the world’s largest green ribbon involved “meticulous planning, resource gathering and collaboration. Every step, from securing a suitable location to engaging volunteers and forming the ribbon itself, was executed with great care. Despite facing scorching temperature and logistical challenges, Rotaractors successfully organised this project, prioritising the safety and comfort of all participants,” he adds.
Right from the start, this project received tremendous support from local schools. Boitai, who has been actively involved in mental health projects in his district, urged Rotaractors to speak about the importance of mental health awareness in their communities, workplace and homes. As part of the awareness campaign, Rotaractors held placards offering free hugs, encouraging conversations, and sharing positive affirmations such as ‘This too shall pass’. “The goal was to draw attention to the silent epidemic of addiction, crime, and the tragic loss of life resulting from a lack of awareness and attention to mental health,” says Durdana Begum, the project coordinator, and adds that “the impact of the previous mental health awareness programmes conducted in schools and colleges motivated students to show their overwhelming support.”
Boitai further emphasised that “the significance of our achievement lies not solely in the physical dimensions of the green ribbon but in the message it conveys. By creating a new record, the conversation surrounding mental health will gain momentum, spreading understanding and empathy. This remarkable feat by the Rotaract clubs serves as an inspiration for everyone to prioritise mental health and work together to create positive change in the world.”