ASTANA – The first Rotary Connections meeting was held in Astana on Feb. 4 with the aim of setting up a prestigious Rotary Club in the capital.
Nearly 200 people attended the event held at the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel – where the future Rotary Club of Astana is set to meet every week – including members of the diplomatic community who have close links with the Rotary organisations in their own communities.
Rotary Clubs are found in nearly every country in the world and bring together like minded people to work on humanitarian and social projects that improve the lives of people in the local community and also internationally.
Rotary International has been in existence for nearly 100 years and was founded as a way of influential humanitarian people giving back to communities in which they lived. Being a member of Rotary (a Rotarian) is an honour and a privilege that bears with it great kudos and responsibility.
Alongside local projects, Rotarians contribute to International projects, which, because of the large number of people involved, can make a real difference.
The current project – End Polio Now – has been working effectively to eradicate endemic polio, this incapacitating disease, from the world. After ten years of work and funding the project through partnerships between Rotary Clubs, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organisation (WHO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other groups, only a handful of countries, including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria, still have the disease and the number of cases reported is dramatically dropping.
The Astana club will be working on a range of projects and will be drawing up programmes and plans to achieve ambitious targets over the coming year, the group’s press release said. These could, for example, range from orphanage support to developing computer skills in outlying villages. But this will be decided by the members. To reach their goals they will hold fundraising events, awareness raising and recruitment sessions and also aim to bring together individuals who already work in charitable projects.
The Rotary Club of Almaty has been supporting the group through their application and has been generous with their time and experience. Speaking on behalf of the Astana Group, Gareth Stamp praised his colleagues in Almaty and outlined the future that they feel the club has.
“The Rotary Connection event has exceeded our expectations – with so many caring like-minded people attending it shows that there is a need for a Rotary Club here to help people help others!” he said. “Astana is full of great humanitarian people and I think it is the true spirit of kindness of Kazakhs that is really showing through. International people know the value of Rotary Clubs and hopefully we can share that and make a great Rotary Club in the nation’s capital city.”
According to Stamp, over the coming weeks the group will be working hard to prepare for the launch and putting in place the programme for the first charitable projects.