Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of blog posts from the 2018 Youth Leadership All-Stars, participants in Rotary’s programs for young leaders, in celebration of Youth Service Month.
By Immy Julie Nakyeyune Musoke, president of the Rotaract Club of Kampala South, Uganda
My father spoke often of Rotary when I was a teenager. But I never had much interest until after he died in June of 2011, just a few weeks before his scheduled installation as president of the Rotary Club of Mengo. The support and comfort we received from the family of Rotary was remarkable. I couldn’t help but wonder, who are these incredibly amazing people who loved my father this much?
After months of mourning, I decided to do what my father loved to do best; passionately put service above self. In April 2013, I joined the Rotaract Club of Kampala South. Warm smiles and beautiful faces welcomed me into the Rotary family. I still recall it like it was yesterday.
My 2017 began with anticipation and anxiety as I prepared to take on the role of club president in July. Like any other leader, I set out with my board to create a plan and serve our community through different projects. We have done fairly well with community service, partnering with our twin club in Kenya to plant over 8,000 trees and serving our community. But what is most important is, have we become better people?
A particular emphasis of our club is professional development. In Uganda, 80 percent of the country’s unemployed are youth. A good number of youth fail to find jobs after university, resorting to small-scale entrepreneurship in order to meet day to day needs. Some of these are members of Rotaract. I believe every Rotaractor can benefit by using the platform to grow their business, bring ideas to fruition through networking, find business partners, and develop their professional and leadership skills.
It gives me joy to see Mark, a club member, use Rotaract to grow his photography business. It gives me great joy to see my club members who were once shy, but can now stand up straight, project their voices, and speak perfectly to big crowds.
My team and I also took on a number of projects and initiatives to empower women in our community. We created a Rotaract Ladies At Work initiative to create a culture where female Rotaractors can maximize their knowledge and abilities to the fullest and help other women who are less fortunate. Together with other female club presidents, we organized the first Rotaract Ladies At Work conference and visited different communities, empowering young women in crisis pregnancy centers, schools, and orphanages.
What truly makes Rotaract special is the ability to work together to serve the community. What better than to work together as women to help other women? I have indeed confirmed that when women work together towards a common goal, greatness can be achieved. I have gained contentment and fulfillment in working with women to help other women. And this is just the beginning!
Learn more about how you can get involved with Rotaract.