Albert E. Kafka, Rotary Club of Wien-Oper, and Peter M. Rabensteiener, Rotary Club of Wien-Stadtpark
Change is the only constant in life. No matter how prepared we think we are for it, transition can be challenging. Closing the exciting chapter of our lives as members of Rotaract and moving on to the new adventures that await us in Rotary can be difficult. As a young person, how do we fit in? A desire to help others through this difficulty and to promote true unity among Rotarians led us, along with Philip-Sebastian Marchl, to create Intarconnect.
The mission of Intarconnect is not only to facilitate the transition from Rotaract to Rotary, but also create real connections between different generations and create projects together that will continue our values and traditions. We decided the best way to achieve our goals was to focus our efforts in two areas, mentoring and projects that involved multiple generations.
With our one-to-one mentoring program, we have been able to successfully pair Interactors with Rotaractors, Rotaractors with Rotarians, and Interactors with Rotarians for mentoring. The meetings take place twice a month and the people being mentored share their knowledge of technology and innovation; the mentors offer, among other things, guidance concerning career and personal development. The exchange between the generations has exceeded all of our expectations.
With our generation projects, we directed our energy toward tangibly helping those who need it. An example of one project we are particularly proud of took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016 and 2017. Bosnia is part of our District 1910, even though Austria does not share a common border. We wanted to do a hands-on project in which many people could participate and have an immediate impact. The Rotary Family came together to build five houses in just five days which then provided shelter for families still affected by the Bosnian War.
Last year, we built a home for a pregnant woman, her husband, and their two-year-old child, and within 10 minutes of being in the new home, she left for the hospital to deliver her baby. Building a house on a budget of 7,100 euros (about $8,200), we found the collaboration not only served the local community, but created a strong bond between everyone involved.
Rotaractors are always welcome at their partner Rotary club meetings in our district. But Intarconnect has made it an even more common occurrence. We want to teach others how to do this, too! Learn more at http://www.intarconnect.org/.