This time of year we look back on all the wonderful things that have happened over the past twelve months and pause to consider the expectations we have for the future. It’s a worthy exercise on both a personal and organizational level.
As Rotarians we have participated in many monumental projects at home and abroad and that makes us happy; but this year our emotions are tinged with melancholy. In the week before Christmas nine people were hunted down and murdered in Pakistan, apparently for their participation in the polio vaccination process.
This goes to show that in striving to bring a greater peace to people throughout the world – it is not a simple task upon which we, Rotarians, are engaged. It will take boundless optimism and dogged perseverance to keep moving forward in spite of the disappointments and difficulties we are certain to encounter.
The Rotary Foundation (TRF) is a remarkable institution. One of its distinctive features is that it focuses upon strategic, long-term projects that have a positive, catalytic effect within a population. Some examples:
- In a subsistence-level village, convenient access to clean-water wells can free-up the children to attend school.
- Micro loans, business planning and other economic reforms can provide the income and self-esteem for impoverished individuals to become producers; This strengthens the community, promotes local leadership and provides a more peaceful path to self-determination.
- Health education, along with vaccination programs and improvements in sanitation help maintain vigor within an entire society, allowing people to reach their fuller potential.
Conditions like these aren’t often considered the “disaster of the day,” making them lead stories in major media, but as Rotarians – as leaders who take a practical, long-range view and who seek to make a difference through the manipulation of things we CAN control – we know that these things are foundationally important in making our world a better place. They are well worth our unwavering, long-term commitment.
Among other things, The Rotary Foundation hopes to eliminate polio and bring peace to all peoples. No one can say that our organization isn’t audacious. But the fact that Rotarians, the world over, take the steps to make real progress on these and other base issues means that the world is one step closer to the realization of the incredible.
Your leadership through Rotary will allow us to improve the world, and quite possibly, to surprise ourselves.
Rotary District 6080