BY GRANT MOYO
Sometimes people lack appreciation of what Rotary is, hence we have over the years dedicated our time to educate communities about our movement of positively changing lives, says the president of the Rotary Club of Belmont, Rotarian Victoria Mungwena. She acknowledges that the great part of educating the society is that once people understand about the global network’s services they are willing to participate, making it possible to collaborate with community leaders who want to get to work on projects that have a real lasting impact on people’s lives.
Rotary is a global network of 1 200 000 neighbours, friends, leaders and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe.
It was founded by Paul Harris, a Chicago attorney who established the Rotary Club of Chicago in the United States on February 23, 1905, to provide a platform where professionals with diverse backgrounds exchange ideas and form meaningful and lifelong friendships. Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service.
For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects.
Rotary is made up of three parts namely clubs, Rotary International, and the Rotary Foundation.
Rotary and Rotaract clubs unite dedicated people to exchange ideas, build relationships and take action. While Rotary International supports Rotary clubs worldwide by coordinating global programs and initiatives. The Rotary Foundation helps fund humanitarian activities, from local service projects to global initiatives.
Being the mother club of the Rotaract Club of Belmont, the Rotary Club of Belmont consists of members who are people of action, problem solvers, opportunity creators and community builders.
In fulfilment of the ‘Service Above Self’ motto the Bulawayo based club strives to promote peace, fight diseases, provide clean water, sanitation and hygiene, save mothers and children, grow local economies as well as create a green environment.
“We connect passionate people with diverse perspectives to exchange ideas, forge lifelong friendships and above all, take action to change the world. Together, we apply our professional experience and personal commitment to tackle our communities’ most persistent problems, finding new effective ways to enhance health, stability, and prosperity across the globe. Rotary members look for opportunities to improve our communities today and invest in the next generation for tomorrow,” Mungwena said.
Applying leadership and expertise to social issues, and finding unique solutions with a multi-disciplinary perspective that helps to see challenges in unique ways the Rotary Club of Belmont’s community work shows its passion and perseverance of creating lasting change.
In fulfilment of the Sigola community water and sanitation project, the club drilled four boreholes for the community so that they may have access to clean water for drinking, home use and gardening. Helping to bring basic education and literacy at Mbuyazwe Primary and High school in Umguza district, the club donated stationery and books for the children. Taking measures to combat the outbreak of Covid-19, the Rotary Club of Belmont is also going to donate personal protective equipment (PPE), which will be done through availing sanitisers and protective face masks to students and staff members.
Enabling disabled people to move around independently and freely, the club’s wheel chair project in partnership with Rotary Club of Harare Central, yielded remarkable results as 67 wheelchairs were donated in different parts of Matabeleland province.
Advocating for humanitarian causes, the Rotary Club of Belmont donated medical books to nine schools of nursing within Matabeleland among them United Bulawayo Hospitals (Bulawayo), Mpilo Central Hospital (Bulawayo), St Lukes Mission Hospital (Lupane), Ingutsheni Hospital (Bulawayo), Gwanda Provincial Hospital (Gwanda), Hwange District Hospital (Hwange), Tsholotsho District Hospital (Tsholotsho), and Brunapeg Mission St Annes Hospital (Plumtree). The sole purpose of the donation was to equip nurses and doctors with knowledge so that they can save lives.
In regards to the Cowdray Park ‘Save the mother and fill the cradles’ project in Bulawayo, Mungwena hinted that the Rotary Club of Belmont needs US$6 500 to buy two Butterfly Scan Machines for mothers who do not have access to maternal care.
The passionate club is working in partnership with doctors who will be offer free services under the Citus Lator Trust. The project shall be stationed at the Cowdray Park clinic.
Rotary’s Action Plan through 2024 is to increase its impact, expand its reach, enhance participant engagement and increase its ability to adapt. Mungwena noted that as a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, colour, abilities, religion, socio-economic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Giving an insight on the alliance between Rotary and Toastmasters, a nonprofit educational organisation with more than 16 800 clubs in 143 countries, Rotary Club of Belmont’s Public Image director, Rotarian Tamar Tanyaradzwa Chakaonda, emphasised that the coalition leverages the strengths of both organisations to help members grow personally and professionally.
Toastmasters help to empower people to become better communicators and leaders. While Rotary is dedicated to humanitarian service done through supporting education and health efforts, among numerous ways the global network aid communities.
“Toastmasters have delivered two educational courses to Rotary and will deliver six more in a phased roll-out this year. Tailored to members of Rotary and Rotaract — a membership type for young adults, the courses will include speech assignments and peer evaluation, helping Rotary members develop and hone their leadership and communication skills. Toastmasters members, in turn, can benefit from connecting with Rotarians in almost every country in the world. Through Rotary, they can gain more opportunities to strengthen their communication skills, expand their networks and positively impact their communities,” Chakaonda said.
The Rotary Club of Belmont participated in a ‘Final steps to end polio’ virtual marathon that raised US$15 000 to contribute towards the Rotary International Polio Fund. Rotary members have played a key role in bringing the world to the brink of polio eradication.
Their efforts have not only ended polio in 122 countries, but also created a system for tackling myriad other health priorities such as Ebola.