I recently had the pleasure of attending the induction of Rotaract President Vusumuzi Tshuma. The event that was held at a restaurant at the Bulawayo Athletic Club was well attended and proved to be a lovely night.
Speaking at the event was Rotary Club of Bulawayo South President Sandy Whitehead who highlighted the various areas of service within Rotary targeted to young people. The first of these is the Rotary Youth Exchange program which I was a part of five years ago. The program is exceptional and allows youths between the ages of 15 and 18 to travel to a foreign nation and spend a year living with a host family and attending high school in the region. I lived in Schaumburg, IL and attended James B. Conant High School. It was a great experience I would never trade for anything. I owe many of my achievements to this experience and attribute my growth to it as well.
The second of the programs targeted towards youths is the RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). I also participated in RYLA which is a camp style leadership course open to high school aged children. There is also the Interact club which is highly popular amongst high school aged children in Zimbabwe.
Additionally there is the Rotaract which is open to individuals between the ages of 18 and 30. The Rotaract Clubs of Belmont and Matopos are active clubs in the city. The clubs are involved in community development, community service and have held social fundraisers in aid of charity. The clubs also have Leadership Retreats for young adults. Rotaract is a great stepping stone to the highly esteemed Rotary Clubs. Members of Rotaract can participate in Professional Group Study Exchanges Abroad which is a great cultural exchange as well as career development opportunity.
The guest of honor at the event was Rotarian Esat who spoke about the Indian Culture in general. He highlighted some of the stereotypes associated locally and internationally with people of Indian decent. He shared many jokes and left us well entertained. He also touched on his own personal experiences as an Indian gentleman both within the Rotary Club and the Bulawayo Community. Mr Esat has been a judge in several pageants and we naturally struck up a conversation about the modelling industry in Zimbabwe.
I would encourage all people to be a part of Rotary in one form or another. There are several opportunities and people of different ages can find an appropriate fit. To find a rotary club near you visit the Rotary International Site for more information.
“We can teach children to love. We can teach them to respect themselves and
others. We can teach them to set goals and work toward them. And in return, they
can pass on these life-afﬁrming values to the next generations.” – Rotarian Hebert G. Brown