Rotarian E.K. Luke, District Governor,

Rotarian Arun Prakash Gupta,

Rotarian Dr. John Daniel, Conference Advisor,

Rotarian K.S. Sasikumar, District Trainer,

Rotarian Dr. G. Sumithran, District Conference Chair,

Rotarian Shine Kumar, District Secretary General,

Madhyama Suhruthukkale,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare,

Ellaavarkkum Ente Namaskaaram.


I am very happy to address this annual conference of the Rotary International District 3211, which has been named ‘Vismayam,’ to highlight the magic of togetherness.

Let me begin by complimenting the office bearers of this Rotary International District for selecting such a meaningful theme for the annual conference. All over the world, it is the power of togetherness that makes great achievements possible and drives successful movements forward.

As we all know, Rotary International, which is a world-wide organization of business persons and professionals, has been serving humanity through the magic of unity since 1905. The farsighted vision of its founders has enabled the Rotary Movement to succeed in helping the poor and the sick, and in sharing friendship and fellowship.  Rotary's growth into a global organization with more than thirty thousand clubs spread over nearly 200 countries was also achieved through a sense of togetherness in service.

I understand that the activities of Rotary International have always been in tune with the Gandhian ideal which sees “service to the poor and needy as the noblest task”. Gandhiji also believed that there was no better prayer to God than doing what little one could do to mitigate the suffering of others.   Besides, the hallmark of Rotary has always been the implementation of well planned service projects with specific focus on the beneficiaries.

I am happy to know that Rotary International District 3211, which comprises 140 clubs spread across central and southern Kerala, now has over 5000 members, who are committed to serve the people of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts through socially relevant projects. One of the projects which I found to be very helpful is ‘Hridayathaalam,’ which involves one hundred free heart surgeries for the underprivileged. At a time when treatment for cardiac problems has become very costly, this initiative is certainly a boon to many people.

In this context, I would suggest that this project should be continued so as to extend the facility to children with congenital heart diseases.  In fact, over 7800 infants die every year in our country due to heart diseases. Timely treatment and surgery could have saved many of these children.  Unfortunately, the lack of facilities in the rural areas has   resulted in many children not receiving treatment in time.  And, when the symptoms start surfacing strongly, it would often be too late. Therefore, screening programmes to identify heart diseases in children can also be taken up as a humanitarian project.

I must appreciate th Rotary International for the interest taken in rebuilding Kerala. I understand that the ‘Mission New Life’ and ‘Sneha veedu’ programmes have helped homeless people get new houses. When we provide housing, we are giving not just a shelter, but increased confidence to a family to ensure better education and a safe future to the children. The Kidney awareness programme and the camps for providing artificial limbs also deserve appreciation.


Organizations like Rotary International should also concentrate more on equipping our youth through training in leadership.  The inputs in leadership empowers them mentally and intellectually. Young people represent the future of our country and today's youth are very important to us, when we consider the fact that India in the next decade, would belong to the youth. By next year, the average age in India is likely to be less than thirty, since over 50% of our population would be youth under 25 years. Therefore, targeting the age group of 14 to 18 for imparting leadership skills is really essential.

It is very well known that every year, our universities give us thousands of fresh graduates, but  a good number of them are not truly employable, as they do not possess either the skills required to do a job or the competencies to succeed in the jobs of this century.  One major problem faced by our graduates is a lack of communication skills. They have acquired knowledge and received training in technology, but they lag behind in communication and soft skills.  This can be corrected through training programmes for the youth, which Rotary could initiate.


As a person who loves the culture of farming, I am greatly impressed by the Rotary Empowerment of Agriculture Production [REAP], which seeks to take up cultivation in unused cultivable paddy fields. In spite of a favorable climate and availability of water, Kerala has been ignoring agriculture due to several reasons. In the recent years, there has been a renewed interest in organic farming and allied activities. In this context, Rotary's intention of implementing new models in agriculture by using appropriate technology is a truly welcome step.

I also hope that Rotary's idea of empowerment in agriculture would extend to the youth who could be transformed into agricultural entrepreneurs through training in value addition and processing methods. The feeling that agriculture is a loss making activity must change. But, this change can be brought about only by convincing our youth that they can earn a living by being agri-preneurs. The training and orientation programmes in this area should also include basic training in business economics. With hundreds of professionals and businesspersons as members, Rotary International would find no difficulty in conducting such activities.


I conclude by reminding the members of Rotary District 3211 that these ambitious social service initiatives would succeed only through collective thinking and concerted action. In short, it takes efforts as well as togetherness and unity.  I hope the Vismayam conference would strengthen your unity and cooperation to continue doing good for society.

I compliment the organizers for conducting this function in a befitting manner.

Ellavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal


Jai Hind