The new President of the Rotary Club of Freetown James Sampha Koroma has called on friends of the Rotary Club to “Join in the Service to Humanity.”
Mr Koroma who took over from Rotarian Sheila John began his induction speech by pointing out that philanthropy has become a profession now in the world with people like former President Clinton, Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates and Warren Buffet all going round the world teaching people how to be of service to mankind “once you are blessed by the Almighty God.”
He revealed that the theme for Rotary International is set by the Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee and the foot soldiers follow suit.
Rotarian President Sampha Koroma said “Rotary is the World largest group of voluntary foot soldiers in the service of humanity right across the world – 200 countries responding to natural and man made disasters.”
He said “we respond to epidemics we respond to traumas, to intolerable human conditions and to intractable challenges so on and so on.”
He added that one of their “preoccupation in the world is the eradication of polio worldwide – that disease which is incurable.”
The Rotary President said “it is due to the changing nature of these human circumstances and responses that Rotary formulates a new and appropriate theme for its work every year” adding “that partly explains the rationale for a new leadership every year for rotary at the international level at the district level and the club level”.
He noted that there are “men and women who give voluntary service in more ways and in greater magnitude than some of us Rotarians do (and) some of you do so in structured ways and some anytime a Leone or a loaf of bread is dropped in the hands of a street beggar.” He explained that “Rotarians differ largely in the sense that our giving and our service are done in a structured manner and yields visible tangible and quantifiable results. Thus we dig wells, we build schools, we fight diseases and provide shelter. Here at the local level we visit the Kissy mental home, we visit the old people’s home we provide our old clothes a bag of rice here and whatever that is the challenge for humanity and it is to this challenge that I invite you all to join us.”
The theme for 2011 he said is “Reach within to Embrace Humanity” and this requires all Rotarians worldwide in every district, and every club to revisit their goals as Rotarians “whether we are right, our target groups are correct, whether we are achieving.” He added “we have already been told we achieved 85% of our targets we have to revisit that and ensure we reach 90% next year.”
Rotarians he said have to renew their commitments to see really whether they are committed to humanity, to strengthen the family, noting that “what Mr Banerjee (Rotary International President) is telling us is strengthen ourselves and we will be more effective in our service to humanity.”
He called on Rotarians to enhance, extend and improve their work asking that if “building 100 wells is that all we can do why not build another 50 wells.?”
Finally he said we should tell the world about Rotary and about what Rotarians do saying “it is good to do good work but let the world know so that you can bring more people into the family so that you can do more things for humanity.”
He called on all present to “Join us (Rotary) in the Service to Humanity.”
Earlier the outgoing President Sheila John gave an overview of her stewardship and the challenges she faced. Rotarian Sheila John reported that 85% of their targets were achieved and they were able to raise $250 thousand which was matched by Rotary International making half a million dollars, and which will be used to build the proposed 100 wells. So far she said 25 wells have been constructed. 22 scholarships have been awarded to JSS 2 students, and X-ray machine was given to Wilberforce and a Rotaract club has been set up at Mount Aureol were among other achievements highlighted.
The incoming President was then inducted by Rotarian Dr Sheku Kamara. Awards were given to Adonis Aboud and Christo Forster for their commitment to selfless service and also to Emanuel Thomas for best attendance. Dr Radcliffe Lisk was also named a Paul Harris fellow.
In his response the speaker Finance Minister Samura Kamara called on Rotarians to use the opportunities available which he said “have to be discovered.” He pointed out that the growth rate is between 5 to 6% of GDP and disclosed that government will be securing a sovereign rating which will help to raise funds from the capital market. He apologised for the inconvenience caused by the road works saying that if we do not do them now we might not be able to do them soon. He pointed out that there is free money in all the sectors because there is hardly any sector which is not being subsidised. Closing, Dr Samura Kamara said “Sierra Leone is on the right path, there are difficulties in the way but these are not insurmountable.”