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Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta Commissions Life Impacting Projects, Charges Rotarians to Continue Serving to Change Lives
RI President & Wife, Shekhar and Rashi Mehta
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Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta Commissions Life Impacting Projects, Charges Rotarians to Continue Serving to Change Lives 

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta Commissions Life Impacting Projects, Charges Rotarians to Continue Serving to Change Lives

There is no greater joy than changing a life” – Shekhar Mehta 2021

RI President Mehta

On the 4th of September 2021, Shekhar Mehta, alongside his Spouse Rashi visited Rotary International District 9142 made up of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. He was received in the Coal City, Enugu by District Governor Okey Okonkwo, Rotarians and Rotaractors. To show his respect for the number one Rotarian in the world, the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi shelved all he had lined up for that day, to personally host RI President Shekhar and his wife Rashi alongside some Rotary leaders to a welcome banquet.

RI President Mehta, District Governor Okey & Governor Ugwuanyi of Enugu State

The 2021-22 Rotary International President Shekhar urged Rotarians and Rotaractors to be more involved in service projects, stressing that caring for and serving others is the best way to live because it gives one the opportunity not only to touch other people’s lives, but also our own. DG Okey Okonkwo described the event as a joyful one which afforded Rotarians and Rotaractors first hand opportunity of one-on-one interaction with the ChangeMaker-in-Chief Shekhar Mehta. The visit, amongst other things recorded the commissioning of projects with measurable and sustainable impacts as well as the unveiling of some initiatives which will be implemented in the coming months.

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According to the RI President Shekhar ,one of the special focus of the 2021-22 Rotary year, is for Rotarians and Rotaractors to channel their energies towards empowering girls and ensuring their access to education, services, and opportunities so that future generations of women leaders will have the tools they need to succeed. Mehta tasked members to deliberately apply the Rotary International policy on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all their activities , adding that this policy should guide our actions in our clubs and District. Having embraced this challenge, Rotary International District 9142 rolled out series of girl-child projects including the establishment of skill acquisition training programme on the production of reusable sanitary pads. DG Okey hinted that the target of this project is to train five hundred (500) girls on the production of biodegradable sanitary napkins. In her words,the District Chair, Girl Child Initiative in the District 9142 District Governor Elect Grace Okaro explained that the scheme which began its training few weeks ago, is a continuous project that will run in batches until the target is realised. She also used the occasion to introduce the first set of trainees to the RI President Shekhar who thereafter took some time to demonstrate what they had learnt as well as exhibited some finished packs of the reusable sanitary pads which were packaged very well.

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Another listed project which focuses on the girl-child is the educational scholarship which will cover the training of selected girls throughout their primary or secondary education.

In total support for Rotary International’s internal priority which is growing membership , District Governor Okey Okonkwo charged members to do more than ‘Each One Bring One’.This DO MORE TO GROW MORE initiative culminated into the formation of new clubs and induction of new members into various clubs in the District . The District Membership Chair, Past Assistant Governor(PAG) Chibuzo Asogwa presented over sixty (60) new members who were ceremonially inducted by the Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehta. In addition, the new Rotary Clubs formally received their Certificate of Charter from President Shekha, who thereafter welcomed all to the Rotary family. The new clubs are Rotary Club of Awka Urban, Rotary Club of Awka Municipal and Rotary Club of Awka Hybrid.

Recognizing that the Rotary Foundation is the vehicle that enables Rotarians make lasting change in the lives of thousands of people, the District Rotary Foundation Committee Chair PDG Akabom Enebong working in unison with DG Okey led the drive for increased donation to the Rotary Foundation which saw to the recognition and decoration of donors and major givers to Our Foundation by the Rotary International President himself. The various level of recognitions were -Benefactors , Major Donor (of different levels) and Paul Harris Fellows.

Commenting on the projects commissioned, President Mehta described DG Okey as “the first District Governor he has come across who is actually going to lead the ‘Each One Bring One’ intiative”. He encouraged Rotarians to be true leaders by having big dreams, positive attitude and a great vision.
Shekhar urged Rotarians and Rotaractors to lead from the front and consider members as assets to Rotary. He acknowledged that the biggest gift we are given is the power to touch lives, to create changes and make a difference in the cycle of life, asserting that “when we reach out our hands, heart and soul, the magic begins to happen as the wheel begins to roll”.

An interesting twist of event occurred during the town hall meeting with President Mehta. Mr Aniagu J. Chukwumaije , a native of Enugu State , whose daughter is a beneficiary of Rotary’s benevolence made his way to the hall and shared his Rotary story. He captured his indescribable feeling of gratitude to Rotary in these words:
‘I have heard in the past the humanitarian works of Rotary. But my attention and delightfulness about Rotary and Indians increased after my family became a beneficiary through my daughter who had open heart surgery courtesy of Rotary eClub One, USA and Rotary Club of Belur, Kolkata, India. So like eagle, my eyes never miss to catch anywhere I see Rotary. Hence on 4th September 2021 around 2pm, I came across a banner written “Rotary International District 9142 welcomes Shekhar and Rashi Mehta at the De Dome Event Centre, Enugu. The picture of an Indian on the banner helped increased my curiosity. To inquire further I met Rtn Dan Abubakar whom I shared my story and he was so delighted and invited me to the program to share my testimony. I had to call my wife to get the kids ready.

How our journey to India began:

My daughter, after her first birthday started having recurrent fever and bluish decolouration of her mouth and finger nails. We went to University of Nigeria Teaching hospital Ituku/Ozalla (UNTH) were she was diagnosed of a heart defect which can only be corrected through surgery. Of course this was a big shock to us especially as we could not afford the surgery. We started reaching out to individuals, friends and NGOs. Luckily Rotary eClub One came to our rescue. The Club President then, Rtn. Buchi Anikpezie stepped in and made payment through the Rotary Club of Greater Nigeria, for the surgery to be done at UNTH on 10th November 2018. But the USA surgeon, Prof Maqsood Elahi who was supposed to perform the surgery at UNTH said it is not possible to have the surgery done at UNTH, she cited lack of sufficient medical backup at the hospital. Realizing this, the Rotary eClub One started sourcing for assistance on our behalf. Rtn Harshad Ravia posted it on Facebook and Rtn R.K. Bubna of Rotary Club of Belur picked it up. Hurray we had help!

Immediately, we started preparations to travel to Narayana Super Specialist hospital Howrah. We arrived at Kolkata India on the 25th of October 2018 and were heartily received by Rtn R. K. Bubna. The surgery was done successfully on the 2nd November 2018. Notwithstanding that our mission in India was for my daughter’s surgery, we were treated like royalties. I cannot forget the exquisite delicacies of the wife of the then President, Rotary Club of Belur (Rtn Rameshi Tiwari). The care and love from Rotary eClub One and that of Rotary Club of Greater Nigeria are beyond what words can describe. I remain overly grateful to Rotary’.

Chukwumaije’s testimony further strengthened the interest of members to do more for humanity for every single act of kindness multiplies the joy generated.

Out of divine providence, Rashi Mehta’s birthday was on 12th September , the first couple’s last day in District 9142. DG Okey Okonkwo, Rotarians and Rotaractors put together a surprise birthday celebration which according to Rashi will remain evergreen in her mind. Rashi’s birthday celebration and the breakfast meeting of Major Donors to the Rotary Foundation with RI President Shekhar Mehta brought the visit of the number one Rotarian to District 9142 to a grand closure. For sure this very important visit has left Rotarians and Rotaractors more inspired to do more for humanity, to serve and change lives.

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