I was really young when my mother took me to a hospital with children suffering from HIV. Due to my enthusiasm and energy I was looking forward to play with all the children, although I was told not to do so as it was dangerous. What did dangerous mean? It made no sense to me. I was a child who loved being surrounded by children. With eyes glittering of excitement, I entered the building looking forward to make some new friends. I then immediately understood that it was different from a playground. The children were shy, with a tired and sad face. I felt confused – children are always happy, they smile, run and brighten the places around them. But not there.
It was then when I realized that I was privileged; that out there realities differ and children suffer. I also had my first feeling of solidarity, an inner motivation to make a change, to help and to share what I have. Ever since then I participated in many charities and showed my and my family’s support to those in need. I volunteered for UNICEF, for Save the Children and supported charities within my highschool and university.
Serving the community was no longer a choice, but a way of living. There is no joy in doing anything in life individually. Life is about sharing feelings, objects, food, ideas…anything. That first experience was a proof for me that a smile brings a smile. Those children were grateful for receiving sweets, presents, but above all they were happy to see me playing with them and sharing their excitement. They were happy to see me smiling or even shaking hands: those little gestures that are casual for most of us.
Whether it was Romania or the United Kingdom I wanted to continue making a change. And this is the opportunity Rotaract offered to me. For me, Rotaract is neither a name to put in my CV nor a club that brings me exclusivity. Rotaract is a community that shares value, experience and feelings. Rotaract introduced me to likeminded people who brainstormed for innovative activities that could impact the society. Rotaract has a reputation for being a leader in offering support to those in need and it has a responsibility towards the world. But I am not going to reiterate something that you have lived.
Let me take you further to a changing point in my career. This ambition to help drove me to working for the world’s biggest international organisation: the United Nations. Yes, I am only in my third year of university, but this did not stop me from grabbing this lifetime opportunity. What do Rotaract and UN have in common?
The answer is simple: the world. Yes – both organisations committed to help the world and they must continue so. It is interesting that I am mainly involved with the Millennium Development Goals and the progress made to achieve them, as well as with designing the post-2015 agenda (basically what UN will do after 2015). The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 have galvanized unprecedented efforts to meet the needs of the world’s poorest. This is beautifully put in words, but the facts are saddening. Not even half of these millennium goals have been achieved – too many unnecessary agencies, duplicate projects, wasted money, too bureaucratic systems. UN is living a crisis of identity and the most worrying problem is that the society does not have a reaction. How many of you did know about the Millennium Development Goals? Did Rotaractors around the world commit to supporting these goals?
During my internship in New York I did realize that the society needs to raise up its voice. We can no longer establish goals without action. There are two more years until 2015 so let’s start working. Let’s begin with a project and then grow up more and more. Let’s show that we believe in humanity and in the UN being the main organisation to provide multidimensional human security. Let’s make Rotaract part of this process.
Diplomats from around the world are deciding for a future agenda, but what are the priorities? They do have the expertise in coordinating actions if we flag out the problems. Look around you and find what is missing. Look around you and see if people are happy. Look around you and define your priorities. And then speak up. Take attitude and make yourself heard to these people who are there for creating a better world.
Does Rotaract have an agenda? Does Rotaract work with the UN or at least in the same direction as the UN? I do believe in the tight relation between both of them and I urge members to analyse the real problems societies face and work together to improve them. Rotaract benefits from a worldwide connection. Rotaractors are everywhere, just like the UN. So why not work together?
I am looking forward to your opinions about the connection between Rotaract and the UN and I challenge you with some questions: do these two organisations have a mutual influence? Can they share experiences and ideas?