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President Thaya's Message

1 September 2021




My fellow Rotarians and friends of Rotary,

Whether you are seeking support for a new idea or project, trying to recruit new members, or restructuring your Rotary club and its meetings, the "Early Adaption" is very critical. Whilst we are trying to cope with the deadly pandemic, we are also getting the best out of technological advancements.

People "adapt" new ideas at different rates. Some people naturally resist change and may never engage with anything different. It is common to hear: "We've tried that before," or "We've always done it this way." Individual personalities change widely. Some people are very cautious and conservative and may find it challenging to shift from the comfort of their default positions, whilst others readily embrace change and new thinking.

Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world since 1905. We Rotarians have been "early adapters" for us to strive and thrive doing humanitarian work for more than 100 years with the same passion and vigour as the founders.

Last Sunday's district changeover was another classic example of adapting and embracing change. A large number of Rotarians gathered virtually through zoom to witness, Immediate Past District Governor Warwick Richardson handing or the helm of Rotary District 9675 to Governor Jeremy Wright.

What was significant for the Rotary Club of Strathfield was that our club was publicly honoured with two awards:

  • Rotary International President's Citation for 2020-21 - in recognition of the club achieving its Rotary goals for the year.

  • Best District (9675) International Service project for 2020-21. This was for the Indian Covid-19 emergency relief project.

It is timely to look at a few aspects - how we achieved these milestones. This is in addition to all the projects we completed which you will see in detail in our changeover bulletin next month.

2020-21, whilst disrupted, was an extremely successful year for the Rotary Club of Strathfield under the leadership of our Immediate Past President, Dr Usha Garg. In addition to all our tangible achievements, member and partner engagements, fellowship and other qualitative aspects were at their peak.

The first club to initiate regular alternate meetings (virtual and in-person) at an early stage and maintained the same pattern and regularity till the end of the year. No meeting was cancelled due to the conditions. The virtual meetings allowed us to invite speakers who were not within travelling distance or could not travel due to the pandemic.

We also held an extraordinary event - the 50th Anniversary of the Rotary Club of Strathfield. Attended by 160 people, this mega event was graced by all distinguished people with almost half the attendance from former members, presidents and their extended families who travelled long distances to be there. The event raised funds generously for the Children's Medical Research Institute. We always maintained a strong membership base, and this has been around 45 for the last many years. During the COVID19 era where many clubs have lost members and even folded, we have maintained our membership. We lost two people this year and have inducted four new members.

A contingent of members attended the district assembly, and many other members attended other training programs, including PETS. After a gap of many years, we prepared a comprehensive new Strategic Management Plan.

Indian Covid-19 Relief Project: Responding to this calamity of the century, Rotary Club of Strathfield (9675) together with Rotary Australia World Community Services (RAWCS) and Rotary Club of The Hills - Kellyville (9680), embarked on an emergency relief project to send essential items of personal protective equipment (PPE) and Oxygen Concentrators to India immediately by air freight. It was originally initiated by the Rotary Club of Strathfield and in no time it gained momentum. We have been working with other like-minded organisations including many Rotary Clubs in both districts of NSW.

It was well-appreciated by the community here in Australia - especially the immigrant community, as well as the recipients in India. We acted very swiftly, involving many stakeholders. We planned and executed at the same time due to the gravity of the crisis. Emergency relief and urgent actions were critical and paramount. With our generous Rotarians and all the civic-conscious citizens of our community, we conceived this project within a few days, executed it and completed it within a couple of months.

"This is a changing world: we must be prepared to change with it. The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again".--
Paul Harris, Founder Rotary Movement


Yours in Rotary,


Thaya Ponnia    


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Last Update Wednesday September 01, 2021