At the start of the Rotary year, I challenged every club to plan and host at least one practical and action-oriented Rotary Day of Service. The event should address a challenge your community is facing that fits into one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus and should bring together volunteers from within and outside of Rotary.

Rotary Days of Service can motivate Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact clubs to plan innovative and impactful projects. They can showcase your work as people of action and introduce prospective members to your club.

I’ve been inspired by your response so far, and I want to share with you just one project that has captured my imagination.

India is home to an estimated 74 million people with diabetes, a disease that is a leading cause of death. Furthermore, about 50 percent of those people remain undiagnosed.

Rotary, together with the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, saw the urgent need to diagnose, track, and treat people who have diabetes. Working together and with other organizations, we hosted a nationwide blood glucose testing camp on 29 September, which is World Heart Day.

The camp was spread across more than 10,000 sites in India, with more than 2,000 Rotary and Rotaract clubs participating in the effort. More than 1 million blood-sugar tests were conducted in a day, an accomplishment recognized by the Asia Book of Records. But more important than breaking a record is the fact that tens of thousands of people learned that they may be living with diabetes. They can now be treated for the condition, and they also have been made aware that they should take extra measures to shield themselves from COVID-19 and scores of other diseases that are caused or worsened by diabetes. 

This month, on 23 February, the anniversary of Rotary, let us celebrate with more service days, showcasing Rotary’s work in our areas of focus. I look forward to hearing about your Rotary Days of Service. Please share your projects on Rotary Showcase, or browse that webpage to find inspiration and project partners. In particular, I encourage you to execute projects that focus on empowering girls, as they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The Empowering Girls initiative is resonating very well with members of Rotary as well as with non-Rotarians. The governments and NGOs in various countries are appreciating this meaningful effort. Let us keep focusing on it.

I am also happy that the Each One, Bring One ethos is bringing fruitful results. Let us ensure that all club members introduce at least one person to Rotary, and that we then all work to engage new members and keep them in our clubs.

In whatever we do, remember that we must push ourselves to grow moredo more as we Serve to Change Lives.