R. I. President and Trustee Message


RI President 2021-22 Shekhar Mehta- Jan 2022

Dear Fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends,

One of Rotary’s founding principles was to use your vocation — whether as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or another profession — to do good in the world.  As we attempt to overcome and recover from the pandemic, this principle is vital in retraining people who have lost their jobs. In response, the Rotary E-Club of Tamar Hong Kong organized seminars for young people, with the aim of preparing them for the changing world of work.

This type of training must happen on a large scale. According to the United Nations, global unemployment is expected to exceed 200 million people in 2022. Women and youths are likely to be disproportionately affected.

This is why I’ve placed such a strong emphasis this year on projects that empower girls, and I’ve been delighted to see some of these projects in action. Of course, access to education and the path to employment can be blocked by a lack of water and sanitation infrastructure.

A project in Pune, India, focuses on providing girls and women with an affordable, reusable sanitary pad. The project provides employment for production and distribution of the pads, and it will reduce the pollution caused by the disposal of 12.3 billion sanitary napkins in the country annually, many of which end up in India’s landfills.

Others have used vocational service to advance the empowerment of women. The Rotary Club of Poona, India, conducted workshops to teach martial arts to young women, for self-defense against the threat of abuse or human trafficking.

I’ve also been fortunate to use my vocation to do good through Rotary. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 devastated the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are part of my district. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and many areas lost electricity and running water. On my visit to Little Andaman Island, the builder in me immediately wanted to build homes for the homeless islanders there. We decided to construct 500 homes on Little Andaman.

On the last of my seven trips to the island, I could see something glimmering below as my helicopter was about to land. I realized that what I was seeing were the roofs of new homes. I was overjoyed by the sight, and soon a realization dawned upon me. As a builder I had built many beautiful buildings. In comparison, these 500 homes were the most ordinary buildings I had ever built, and they were in a place I likely will never visit again, for people I will never meet again. And yet the satisfaction I had in handing over these houses was greater than from anything I had previously built. Probably because for once I was using my vocation to Serve to Change Lives.

You, too, may have had opportunities to use your vocation to Serve to Change Lives. I welcome your stories of performing vocational service through Rotary. Also, I want to close by congratulating every club that has engaged with the Each One, Bring One initiative, which asks every member to introduce one person to Rotary. Increasing our membership gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills in transformational service.

Shekhar Mehta
President 2021-22

Trustee Chair's Message - January 2022

John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Trustee chair's message

We all came into Rotary because we wanted to join with others in service and make a difference. Similarly, when Rotary teams up with like-minded organizations to work toward our shared goals, there is nothing that we can’t accomplish. Partnerships amplify our impact.

Leading through partnerships is nothing new for Rotary: We helped spearhead the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Later, when the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation joined the cause, we gained a long-term fundraising and technical partner in the fight against polio. Through our partnership and the 2-to-1 fundraising match agreement with the Gates Foundation, Rotary generates $150 million annually to end polio. We are proud that they are a part of the effort to end this disease.

Many people may not know that our work with the Gates Foundation and our other partners doesn’t end with polio but includes other disease-prevention efforts. The Rotary Foundation has joined with the Gates Foundation and World Vision U.S. to co-fund a Rotary member-led program to help eliminate malaria in Zambia. Based on past partnership and future collaboration around this effort, each co-funder is contributing $2 million for the Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia program, the first recipient of The Rotary Foundation’s Programs of Scale grant. 

This level of impact can also be seen in collaborations across our other areas of focus. Rotary partners with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on major initiatives at a national scale. The Rotary-USAID WASH partnership has helped communities and governments in countries such as Uganda and Ghana provide safe water, sanitation, and hygiene, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives. We are also teaming up with USAID to help fight COVID-19 and its long-term financial and social impact in Italy. Meanwhile, the Hearts of Europe program, which is funded jointly by USAID and Rotary, assists communities in Eastern Europe through global grants.

Proving our value as a trusted partner often spurs multiple mutual projects. Through the Power of Nutrition initiative, we are partnering with our polio eradication partner UNICEF and the Eleanor Crook Foundation to tackle undernutrition during early childhood.

The Rotary Foundation is far too great to keep to ourselves. Let’s make sure to let the Foundation’s light shine bright. In doing so, we will find new partners, gain new supporters, and increase the good we’re all doing in the world.


John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22

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