By Fatima Khurram, newsletter editor for District 3272
Pakistan is one of only three countries that have never stopped the transmission of the wild polio virus, alongside Afghanistan and Nigeria. Two years ago, polio was widespread in my country. Today, through Rotary’s efforts we are down to a very few cases. In fact, worldwide, Rotary has helped drop the incidence of polio by 99 percent since it began the effort to eradicate this disease. We need Rotary to bring us to the goal we are all hoping for, an end to polio in Pakistan, and everywhere. Every year, polio vaccines are donated to each province of Pakistan and immunization workers carry out the honorable effort of administering the vaccine, sometimes at personal risk, to children.
2. Professional building
Rotary creates a lot of opportunities for young men and women to learn alongside each other. Rotaract clubs and Interact clubs create opportunities for everyone to participate, and men and women to learn valuable leadership skills, perform their duties, delegate tasks to others, and communicate with each other. This is very important in my country, where there are fewer jobs available, and professional training is expensive.
3. Education through scholarships
The literacy rate of Pakistan is only about 58 percent, which is very low and dropping year by year. We need educated leaders and citizens to grow as a nation. Rotary’s various scholarship programs provide opportunities not only for those with means, but in underprivileged areas as well. For example, a Rotaract club in Faisalabad, Punjab, adopted two orphans and provides all their education expenses. The club’s president said the 25-member club provides for the costs out of their own pockets because “we are all students, and Rotary teaches us Service Above Self.”
4. One platform for good
Rotary provides one place to serve in many different ways. In Pakistan, there are different platforms for different activities. But in Rotaract, you can undertake any sort of activity to benefit yourself and your community. Recently a club in Peshawar held physical exercise activities in collaboration with Adventure Park. Rotaract teaches us how to give and take. In Pakistan people have very few platforms to show their talents. Rotaract allows young people to practice their skills and contribute whatever their talents are to the good of the club.
In an era of globalization, everyone is busy pursuing their own lives. In Pakistan this is very difficult. Rotaract brings people together through our meetings and activities. We make new friends; we find people with mutual interests. Both community based and university based Rotaract clubs foster fellowship and provide opportunities for young people to volunteer side by side, for the common purpose of helping humanity.