Through Service Above Self, we stand with the children at Marembo centre.

 

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Rotaractors showing off their little buddies at the Marembo Children’s Centre, Ndera Village

On a sunny Saturday morning of the 1st April 2017, all roads for Rotaractors both in Rwanda along with our guests from the Rotaract Club of  Kabale (that for some reason we shall call ‘the land of 100 hills’) were leading to Centre Marembo in Ndera village in the outskirts of Kigali.

Rotaractors from the land of 100 hills started off this day in the land of a thousand hills in the name of service to the community. It was great excitement for many as they had anticipated their visit to the beautiful city of Kigali for a couple of months.  Back in Kigali the Rotaractors from the Rotaract Club of Kigali city were busy running up and down looking for ‘chakula’ to cook for the beautiful children at the centre. And others patiently waiting for the people from Kabale to welcome them.

…Now for those who turned up early, what I am about to say will make a lot of sense…

All was going well until, well, as the saying goes, ‘never let a woman be your compass to a certain destination otherwise you’ll get lost’. I am  actually  not sure of the sources but I because I heard the same from a Rotarian(wink wink), let’s take it as a gospel truth.

Guess what, Rotaractors did get lost and found themselves in other people’s shambas and yet directions given before were clear(let’s not mention names here), but that’s just the tip of the ice berg. That was not enough, even those tasked to guide the Rotaractors from Kabale got lost who knows where and how till some few hours later, a rescue crew was sent to collect them. They really set the ice breaker for the day’s event. So, the inside story on this one could be for another day, perhaps one of those fine Fridays you may show up for our weekly fellowship at Zuri Restaurant.

Rotaractors from Kabale  finally arrived along with the rest, and we received them with warm hugs, laughter and excitement. Wow! the children from Centre Marembo were full of joy waiting for what’s ahead. As Rotaractors offloaded the children’s package from the truck, the children were kept in anticipation of what would we got for them in stock. 

Welcoming remarks from the Assistant Director of the centre kicked off the day, and our Community Service Director, aka, project manager took us through the agenda of the day. This officially opened up a bunch of fun filled activities through the entire day with the wonderful children. Rotaractors took charge, split up into groups, with some to play with the kids and others in charge of the ‘chakula’ in the kitchen. (Maximum respect to the latter, they always make crowds speak in tongues). 

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The most important crew of the day. Well as some of us would say

What’s that aroma, yum yum, ahh it’s the kitchen. All was going well with the ‘chakula’ even as the quality of firewood played tricks of  refreshing our cooking skills, slowing down the whole process. (But you see, lest you say we are bad workmen blaming it on the tools, we leave this one here).

The idea of games was very brilliant as the fun crew managed to keep children busy as tried to beat the lunch timeline. Speaking of games, the day was marked by a serios eating competition with Rotaractors represented by the delegate from the Rotaract Club of Karura – Kenya (Ibaze nawe!).  Unfortunately the young girls were so talented in dancing to this tune of eating that they took all the fans to their side and they managed to beat Rotaractors and took the prize.

 

As food was served,  the project manager  felt a huge relief as she had started feeling pressure piling up on her with more than 100 hunger craving youths. But the Pilau, Chapatti, and wait for it…meat was just worth the wait and awesome for everybody. Not excluding the ‘matumbo crew’ – these they will introduce themselves later.

At sunset, with everyone tire of the games and celebrating the crew’s cooking skills, it was time to say the sad goodbyes to the children. Testimonies and words of encouragement closed the day.

“We would like to appreciate the management of Marembo Centre for allowing us to spend our day with the children. We would never have asked for any better way of spending our day. In the same spirit of Service Above Self, thank you Rotaract Kabale for walking with us in the journey of making a difference in these children’s lives.” – President Amos Yego aka Yegoshaa as remarked as we bid farewell to the hosting team.

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And au revoir, as Rotaractors hugged and said their goodbyes to the  children.

Our appreciation goes to all our sponsors for their contribution and participation in this project. Without each of you, the success of this project would still be in the pipeline.

Thank you to AC GROUP(Tap and Go cards), the Rotary Club of Doyen, the Rotary club of Kigali-Virunga, Rotaract Club Kabale-Uganda, Rotaract Club KIE, Rotaract Club SFB-Kigali, Rotaract Club Karura-Kenya, Rotaract club Nairobi Central, Rotary Club Kampala Central and Interactors from Kagarama. And to our own International Service Director (the man himself, aka Deno), for going out if his way to facilitate us with transport. And to our very own, the members of the Rotaract club of Kigali City,  you are the best crew ever! You all demonstrated Service Above Self.

Wait, it’s not yet over. In appreciation of everyone that was still around, the after-project (because service comes along with fun), was in one of Gisimenti famous joints and what happened there stayed there my friends. Late in the nights the beautiful people from Kabale recalled that they had to go back home and they randomly set back on their journey safely. (And ladies and gentlemen, this is when we learnt that they are cool like that). 

About Marembo Centre

Centre Marembo is a centre for young girls of ages below 18years that have undergone child abuse, child neglect and rape by their own family members. The centre accommodates over 75 kids who have been picked from the streets by the government and given assistance in recovering from this trauma through counselling and psychological assistance. Every child deserves a right to be loved, to shelter, food family and education, and in respect to this, the Rotaract Club of Kigali City and the Rotaract Club of Kabale – Uganda joined hands to spend time with the young girls at the center and have fun with them through games, sharing experiences and testimonies from both sides along with words of encouragement.

Nothing ever pays back like a day spent creating a smile on somebody else’ face! And ours was a big pay checque!

Spelling bee(bee emogi) coming soon.

 

The author is the President Elect of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City (2017-2018)

 

Service Without Boarders: Joint Project with Rotaract Club of Kabale (D9211)

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Rotaractors on arrival at the Kabale Regional Referral Hospital

“I must say this is a great start for our two clubs. If we can seal off this project today, then the Kigali session will be even greater. Thank you Rotaract club of Kabale for allowing us to be part of this noble treat for the children.”  – Amos Yegosha – President, Rotaract Kigali City (2016-2017)

November 25, 2016 – On a  chilly Friday evening, in the name of service to the world -the very ambition of Rotary International, – members from the Rotaract club of Kigali City, in the massive company of the Rotaract club of SFB-Kigali invaded the hilly Kabale region.

The purpose for this trip was none other than joining the partners in service, the Rotaract club of Kabale Community based in making time to reach out to the needy children of the Kabale Regional Referral Hospital. This time was round the choice was made on those children who have been infected by HIV. Well, not that you would tell if I didn’t mention, because the smiles on their faces leaves nothing behind but life and hope.  But listening to the stories they tell, that’s when you realise that the problems you face may sometimes be an opportunity on the other side of life.

So well, team Kigali City was led by the man himself, President Amos Yego (you can actually call him Yegoshaa, lately it features on his National ID anyway). The  Kigali-Kabale trek that started on Friday evening ended at a destination that seemed unknown to many of them (well, at least until Saturday, 3 am). Our journey was full of nothing but adventure; starting from the private jet’s to the mesmerising story authored by one of our very own members (let’s call him ‘freedom fighter’). I will save you the details of this mesmerizing journey for now but if readers provoke enough, its worth a separate post.

But by the time we landed, everyone of us thought all they deserved was good sleep, and probably a warm bed.

By the time of arrival, some of our guys were up and about looking in all possible spots for an early hot cup of tea and a Rolex, the famous snack in Uganda you have probably heard about.

Fast forward to Saturday morning, we were received by  #TeamKabale who treated us to the best delicacies that we had to share with children. The day was largely decorated by a sharing session with the children. The time we spent with these children was simply magical.

In his introduction remarks, Mwebembezi Johnson, the Senior  Councillor of the referral hospital gave us a brief background of the children in this hospital and appreciated the initiative by Rotaract club of Kabale for choosing to work with the hospital.

“This i really a great initiative. We are very grateful that, of all needy groups of people in Kabale, this Rotaract club chose the children in this hospital.  Thank you for thinking about us in this special way. Many of the children in this hospital are victims of abuse inflicted on them by old men. As a parent, I would like to appreciate the Rotaract clubs for such an initiative and thought of  the children in this hospital i such a special way. ” – Mr. Mwebembezi Johnson, the senior Counsellor, at the Kabale Referral Hospital. 

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Mr. Mwebembezi Johnson addressing Rotaractors and parents at the Kabale Referral Hospital

In his remarks, Johnson also called upon parents to hold each other responsible for their role in preventing the widespread of HIV among children in Kabale. He also urged parents to support all their children’s education equally to avoid their being idle.

Our massive appreciation goes to the awesome people from the Rotaract clubs of SFB-Kigali, Karura (Nairobi) Lake Victoria (Uganda) for the support. Yours was a contribution that we would never take for granted. Our revenge will be in order.

And to the members of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City, you are the best bunch of people around town!

For a preview of how things unfolded.

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The Rotaract SFB-Kigali squad on arrival at the Kabale Regional Hospital to support their own
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The team being introduced to the community at Kabale hospital
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Rotaractors at service
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Sharing time and a little love with the little ones makes a big difference

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After the project, Rotaractors couldn’t avoid swinging by the famous Lake Bunyonyi resort beach for adventure, sight seeing and fun. But again, we were told what happens at this spot simply ends there. Kindly save your curiosity for the details of what transpired.

For more pictures of the event, click here

LYCEE de KIGALI outshines other schools in first Spelling Contest initiated by the Rotaract Club of Kigali City.

David Kato, the winner of the Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016 receiving the trophy
David Kato, the winner of the Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016 receiving the trophy

On the 18th of June 2016, the Rotaract club of Kigali city (RCKC), successfully conducted a spelling competition, dubbed “Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016”. The contest, the very first one of its kind in the city of Kigali, was conducted at King David Academy brought together 70 participants from seven (7) high schools in Rwanda, out of whom 21 students were able to beautifully display their extra-ordinary spelling skills. The participating schools were; King David Academy, the hosting school, Lycee de Kigali, La Colombiere, New Life School (Kayonza), FAWE Girls’ School, Kagarama Secondary School and Green Hills Academy.

The spelling competition was the very first one to involve a number of schools in Rwanda and was hosted under the theme, “Spelling your way to success”. Before the beginning of the competition, students were cautioned that the competition was not only about who would win or lose but also to help them enrich their English vocabulary, public speaking skills, self-confidence as well as empower them with the ability to deliver a given task under pressure.

Students were also reminded that for as long as they were among those chosen to represent their respective schools, their efforts were highly valued. The main rule of the competition was to be able to spell a word right for the first time.

The Master Speller grilling participants through the first round
                    The Master Speller grilling participants through the first round

Each of the participants were allowed to practice words falling in the categories of Family, Education and Sports. Among all the 21 participants, David Kato expressed extraordinary spelling skills, emerging as the only person we were searching for…The Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016 Champion. As he walked away with a mega trophy, he along with the other top four winners of the contest were awarded with a year’s membership at the Kigali Public Library. The other contestants were awarded, each with a dictionary, courtesy of Grace Rwanda to further enhance their spelling as well as reading skills. The fair judgement was a decision of two fine judges; Judge Floriane, a Rotarian from the Rotary club of Minnesota, and Judge Roger, a Rotaractor from the Rotaract Club of Kigali City.

During his remarks, Past President Raj Rajendran who presided over the event commended efforts by the Rotaract Club of Kigali City to bring together students in such an educating competition. He also commended all student that participated in this competition reminding them that it will help them to lay foundation to a rich culture of reading. On behalf, of the Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga, he also pledged full support towards scaling up the spelling competitions to include the participation of other schools.

RCKC President, Faridah Kamariza also extended her appreciation to the participating schools for their cooperation and support, pledging on behalf of the club, that more efforts will be consolidated to make the spelling competitions even bigger in the coming years. She also promised that the competition will be held on an annual basis and it will be hosted on rotational basis by all the participating schools to foster a better relationship between different schools as well as interaction amongst students.

Through the Spelling Bee project, the Rotaract Club of Kigali City intends to make a difference in Rwandan communities through contributing to Rotary International’s area of focus, “Basic Education and Literacy”. With the success of the Spelling project, the club will also be in a good position to promote the culture of reading among secondary school students within the country. Our appreciation goes to Grace Rwanda, the Kigali Public Library, Rotary Club de Kigali, Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga as well as the entire Rotary family for their invaluable support towards the success of Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016.

Ends.

 

The importance of mentorship

Every Rotaract club is as strong as the activity of its members. That’s why it’s not random to find a club with fewer members outperforming another with more registered members. Every person who for any reason finds himself at a Rotaract club fellowship is a potential active member. All it requires is to convince him to come again and eventually stay- if he is deemed Rotaract at heart (a person who is/ can be useful to society- basically one who is not a thief or conman, etc).

From the time a potential member is identified to the time that person becomes a super active member of a club, there must be care in understanding him and weighing up whether his values can match with the Rotaract values. If you recruit a conman into the club for example, chances are that he will not make a good treasurer. When choosing potential members, go for people who live lives that can benefit the community.

After identification and bringing the member to your first club meeting or project, you need to convince him that he is at the right place. Make him feel at home, serve him club material (info that he can read later on such as what Rotaract is about, what your club is about, etc). Have fun fellowships and projects. That way, visitors might want to visit again especially if they understood the Rotaract material you gave out at first.

At the end of the first fellowship/ project, the club should assign someone (the person who introduced the visitors is a good idea) to follow up by phone or physically and find out the person’s experience. That feedback is useful in making the club more attractive to visitors. What the visitor didn’t like can be improved upon and what he liked can be continued.

Once a visitor has become frequent and developed an active liking for the club, a mentor should be assigned by the club to prepare him for induction and life as a Rotaractor. The mentor must be one very knowledgeable in Rotary/ Rotaract matters and a person who commands the respect of other members. A mentor can be a board member or ordinary member as long as he is knowledgeable about the club and its values.

The mentor must commit a lot of her time to the visitor, getting to know him to as personal a level as he is comfortable with and teaching them about all Rotaract ethics to the point that the visitor shows a (positive or negative- but a reaction) reaction to the club. Answer questions and give examples. There’s lots of material on the web. For as long as the visitor is not ready, stay the induction until such a time as he has proven to understand- in recital and actions- the pillars of the Rotaract Club. If he has started queuing up for project assignments, you have a useful member-in waiting on your hands.

A person such as above, once inducted will be a useful asset, able to transform the club and bring ideas that improve it. That person will be in position to represent the club’s interests with minimal supervision and mentor others.

If you made mistakes and recruited without mentorship, there’s still time. Organize mentorship workshops for your club members and have a few senior Rotarians and Rotaractors speak to members about Rotary and the values it stands for. Also encourage your members to read widely.

A Rotaract club that counts more on quantity rather than quality of members is bound to go extinct so, from the Rotaract Club of Kigali City we ask you- how is your club doing, member by member?

Rgds,

Peter King

Our fight against Diabetes goes on; Our noble pledge to Rwanda and Rotary International

We did it again….Yes! last weekend we were at it again.

Saturday the 29th August 2015, a good number of good jolly fellows set off from Kigali at around 1:00 pm.

Destination was somewhere in Rwamagana district, the Eastern side of Rwanda.  For all the good reasons, members of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City were heading to the Mwulire Diabetes Centre for the club’s quarterly visit to the children battling the disease.  Her Excellency, President Faridah Kamariza did well enough to make sure that Rotaractors don’t upset the local leaders; we all had to first get down to our “Umuganda” chores in our neighborhoods (read “Umudugudu”) and then hit the road for the visit to our little friends. Our journey was spiced up by all types of hilarious stuff and surely before we knew it, we were at the Diabetes centre in Mwulire. Only that is a living testimony that Rotaract brings together misplaced talent.

Fast forward to our arrival at the centre, we were given a special treat, with all the children assembled to entertain us on arrival. This only reminded me of the early school days when we had to learn  a newly composed song and dance for almost every guest that showed up at school.

The only difference is that this time, Rotaractors couldn’t watch from a distance without mingling with the kids, showing off their almost forgotten talents.

By the time food time was announced, some of these good fellows had really had a workout and many of us were more concerned on the extra input for them to rejuvenate their used up energy.

The children shared, each one telling us about where they came from before getting to the center, how long they have battled Diabetes, their families’ reaction to their situation and the challenges they face while at the centre. The details of all this was mind-blowing as some of them were actually brave enough to say that their parents have still not found it easy to contain after others  managed to accept it and move on.

While at it, the Rotaract Presidents and the only outgoing and incoming guide Rotarian started unleashing their mind-blowing speeches. Not to forget that all these had to be in our local language, “Kinyarwanda”, so that all the kids are could pick the communication. I bet you know what I am talking about here. Some people had to forge out new versions for the day. Bu there will be no name calling, we all live in glass houses lately….just in-case they all live to read this post. But if I must say we might use an interpreter next time.   If I am to continue with the story of what transpired at the during this one session, I could go on until the chicken come home, so let’s leave it at that for now.

All the Rotaractors presented the good goodies to the 20 children’s caretakers, reminding you that we had all carried clothes to donate to the children as well as the bank cheque to cater for all the children’s medical insurance. Rotarian Sam then managed to conduct a brainstorming session on how to handle the little challenges faced by the children and this paid off when we got a lineup of possible solutions.

We were then off to our shuttle, making sure that we had to leave early enough so that we are just in good time for the sleepover and home hospitality, at one of our member’s house. The principle was just one…What happens at the home hospitality ends there. So I am not about to be punched after telling you what happened there.

All in all, it was a project well attended and an afternoon well spent. We couldn’t trade it for anything better.

Because RCKC never walks alone, we will  log in our sincere appreciation to the Rotaract Clubs of SFB – Kigali and Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) and our mother club, the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga that sent representatives to be with us throughout our project. Your presence in every one of our spots always keeps your clubs’ names in our good books.

Massive thanks for everyone who spared their time and efforts to make this milestone in RCKC’s  noble pledge of kicking Diabetes out of Rwanda.

AS IT HAPPENED

IMG-20150830-WA0019 IMG-20150901-WA0001IMG-20150901-WA0009IMG-20150901-WA0003They are happy kids against all odds

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Just in-case you might think there was no lunch on the day’s agenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BE A GIFT TO THE WORLD

downloadAs you all strive to be better Rotaractors than you have ever been through 2015-2016, keep this in mind; like everyone else, your time on earth is finite and just may turn out shorter than you expected(Now, don’t say I didn’t warn you). So, in whatever you think, say or do strive to be the best you can be, at least to some one else.

The Rotary International President, K.R Ravindran made it loud and clear enough when he unveiled this year’s Rotary theme as, “Be a gift to the world”, probably the best theme that has come along in the recent past. I am voting it the best because unlike the other themes, this one seems to want to bring out the best in everyone, in their own way. He has also reminded the Rotary fraternity that being a Rotarian (or in this case Rotaractor), is  a commitment that goes beyond the regular weekly meetings to looking at the world and consider our role in it, and then work to serve that. It means taking the initiative to always chose to do what is right and well deserving instead of looking at what is just easy for us.

He has also reminded the Rotary fraternity that being a Rotarian (or in this case Rotaractor), is  a commitment that goes beyond the regular weekly meetings to looking at the world and considering our role in it. It means taking the initiative to always chose to do what is right and well deserving instead of looking at what is just easy for us.

Sure thing, each one of us, regardless of who we are, what we do, or which position we occupy in life, has something to give; be it our efforts, abilities, knowledge,commitment, time, talents, to mention just a few. What Rotaract and Rotary does is to give us a platform to use what we have been given to be the beginning of the change we want to see around us, the kind of change that tomorrow needs. By so doing, we come out to make  a genuine impact in the lives of those around us and the entire world.

As a reminder, none of us is going to be remembered for the struggles we went through to become more successful, richer or rise to a higher status, making their own lives better. This maybe even harder but not even a single soul will remember you for the car you drove, the house you lived in, the clothes you wore, the kind of office you sat in day-in-day-out, or even the titles you held through your lifetime. At the end of time, your worth will only be measured by how much you gave away, rather than how much you acquired.

So, why not resolve to put what you have to the best use so that someone else’ life could be made simpler? Rotary has given each of us  a special chance to leave a legacy behind us, to leave something real that will even last longer than many of the other things that swallow our time. Our job for now is to strive to touch as many lives as we can, in the simplest way we can.

The Rotaract Club of Kigali City along with the entire Rotary family aims to achieve its goals through the main core values of Rotary; Service, Fellowship, Integrity, Leadership and Diversity.When one brings these values into their everyday life, that’s when they start to find the inspiration and power to change lives. The activities to uphold these core values stretch from community service to professional development of our members, and for this they can testify.

In this Rotary year, most but not all of our efforts will be channeled towards our flagship project;  kicking Diabetes out of Rwanda through our continued support to the kids at the Mwulire Diabetes Center, Rwamagana (the Eastern part of the country). Through this, we have so far realized that it doesn’t really cost us so much to make any of those kids smile. More often, the time we give to them, listening to them, and sharing a little meal with them have left them in a whole new world. But then we have also been left contented and proud of the impact. Just like in the other aspects of life, the more we have put in this noble cause of service above self, is the more we have got out of it.

As we continue in the same spirit of being a gift to the world, I am certain the RI President will be proud of what we are now and with our current President, we are going places. We are committed to putting smiles to as many faces as we can.

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Be a gift to everyone around you

IS YOUR ROTARACT CLUB REGISTERED WITH RI?

Often times, leadership is cast as a burden; various rulers opting for the tired line perhaps to throw ambitious younger folk off the scent and make them bored of the very thought. Well, in politics it usually works, because that’s where leadership and rulership have a very thin line separating them in definition.RCKC Logo- Official

In voluntary organizations however, it is expected that the blessings of leadership should be voluntarily accepted and customarily relinquished. The annual Rotary leadership changes have made sure of that- or have they? Largely, I would say it’s a resounding ‘yes’  but there are still pockets of clubs that have failed or refused to relinquish leadership and- while handing over the presidential chain for example, have failed, ignored or refused to relinquish the accompanying paperwork and documentation. So here’s to you Rotaract club members and board in all your capacities; the basics of how your club should look like.

It is my hope that club members can start taking a more active approach to calling their club leadership to account.

You may already know that if your club is chartered, it must be listed as an active club in the official Rotary website (www.rotary.org). In fact, all chartered clubs are listed prior to issuance of the charter certificate.

Upon being registered, one of the club members is appointed (by popular choice and ability) as charter president (CP) and this president has the permissions to update the club membership on this rotary website until the expiry of his/ her membership upon which he/ she shall log in and update the membership to indicate the next President. This helps to ensure that the next president gains Rotary permission to update the membership of the club for the duration of his/ her term and also let’s Rotary International know that the club is respectful of the single year rotational presidency.

If however this policy (regular updates) isn’t followed for a couple of years, the Rotaract club will be listed as inactive and delisted altogether. It would require a fresh registration and a new certificate issued for the club to be recognized as active again.

So, here’s the question members;

  1. Are you, as a Rotaractor recognized in Rotary International? (If your president hasn’t updated the club membership, you ain’t an official Rotaractor). An RI recognized Rotaractor must have an RI membership ID (issued upon member update on rotary.org ).
  2. Is your Rotaract Club listed as an active club in the above website? If you can’t find it in the website, sound it out to your president and have it rectified (a re-registration should be done if need be). Every Rotaract Club has an RI ID.

It is imperative that the sitting president ensure that he/ she is the one listed as president and not someone from a couple of years before. The District Rotaract Representative or your sponsor Rotary Club president can help you follow procedures to change this.DSC01996

We all wish to be a part of a proper Rotaract Club and so I appeal to all club leaders; don’t aspire to be rulers but please, do hand over the full authority upon expiry of your presidential term. To leave the next leadership a pack of feathers with which to lead is not only improper but kills your own club in the end. It costs nothing but an internet connection to update your club. There are clubs with a current membership north of 35 yet still have only the charter members registered at RI.

While we aspire to serve our communities, let’s also remember to work for the betterment of our very own members for the sake of their Rotary future. It is disheartening to be an active club member for five years only to discover that you don’t even have a Rotary ID. You don’t get that upon induction; you get it when your name is added to the Rotary database.

Cheers, Peter King Oloo 

Twitter: @PKOloo