Let Peace Reign
By Morwenna Petaia
February 23, 2013 marked the 108th anniversary of the first Rotary Club in Chicago. Rotary International is a service club formed to mirror the same friendly spirit Paul Harris, one of the founders, felt in his youth.
Today Rotary has 1.2 million members and 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries. Samoa has a Rotary club as well as a Rotaract club. The Rotaract Club is a partner club of Rotary that is aimed at people between 18 and 30 years of age. The aim of the Rotaract Club is to “make a difference through charity work in Samoa and the Pacific Region.”
In an effort to celebrate the anniversary of Rotary, the Rotaract Club of Apia performed a peace dance at the SNPF plaza as a part of the Rock n Rotary: End Polio, Build Peace celebrations.
The Apia Rotaract President, Lealaiauloto Billy Chan Ting, said Rotaract clubs around the Pacific and north New Zealand held similar peace dances with the intention that they would all be collated to form the World’s biggest commercial on eradicating Polio. Polio is a crippling and potentially fatal disease affecting mainly children under 5 years. While Polio may not be as prevalent here in Samoa in comparison to other countries, this did not stop the Rotaract Club of Samoa in supporting the efforts in trying to eradicate the disease in other locations.
Naomi Fuamatu, a Rotaract member stated “Rotaract is about ‘service above self’ and we are committed to making the small changes in our community through our service projects – when you see the needs/ challenges within your community, it makes your ‘issues’ in life seem small.”
We often feel that as individuals we cannot make a difference to the world, that the world’s problems are all greater than we can overcome. The Rotary Club and its worldwide success in helping people all over the world are an example of how each of us can make a difference. If it were not for the founders of Rotary the millions of people around the world who provide services to those who are in need would not be here.
If each of us in Samoa were to serve one another we would not need all the foreign aid, the casinos and the added social problems that accompany them, there would be no children walking the streets and families starving. We need to stop looking at what we can get from everywhere else and look at what we as a country can do for ourselves and for each other first. Through service to others we will have no wars, no people in need because our selfish desires would not be there. Another Rotaract member, Jonathan Porter, summed it up eloquently when he said “it is always a privilege to volunteer.” We shouldn’t see helping other people as a faalavelave or a burden; it is a privilege to be of service to our fellow people. Let each of us take the lead of the Rotarians and let peace reign.