WOMEN’S voluntary service organisation Inner Wheel Club launched its 4th South Asia rally in Kuala Lumpur with the theme “Circle of Sisterhood”.
The event saw Inner Wheel members from South Asian countries gather at the VE Hotel & Residence convention centre in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur to celebrate the friendship rally, the first to be held in Malaysia.
The first three rallies were held in Kochin and Mumbai in India as well as Sri Lanka.
“The previous rallies featured Indian culture and performances so we wanted our members to see Malaysian culture here,” said organising chairman Shanti Menon.
There was a colourful opening ceremony performance by the Malaysian Symphony Drummers, which had energising Chinese as well as Punjabi dhol drums.
Almost 550 registered Inner Wheel members from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore and Malaysia were at the event.
In her speech, International Inner Wheel vice-president Kapila Gupta said she was proud to be part of such an international organisation.
“If we stay in our own environment, there is less exposure. Diversity is our strength ... there are so many of us under one roof. No religion, race or stature,” she said.
Kapila added they planned to expand Inner Wheel membership to countries such as Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
She then lit the candle of friendship, an Inner Wheel ritual.
Throughout the day, members enjoyed listening to talks and joining in games as well as checking out the bazaar which saw the sale of clothing, jewellery and handicraft.
Later, a banquet dinner was held at Nexus Convention Centre which featured a lion dance performance.
Inner Wheel was founded in 1924 by Margarette Golding, the wife of a Rotarian in Manchester, Britain, with the purpose of fostering friendship, fellowship and service.
In 1946, the Inner Wheel Club of Singapore was formed followed by the Inner Wheel Club of Ipoh in Malaysia.
Inner Wheel District 330 has 18 clubs in peninsular Malaysia whereas District 331 has eight clubs — five in Sabah and Sarawak as well as three in Singapore.
In 1947, the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs was formed but in 1967, the association changed its name to International Inner Wheel with a membership of 45,000 members in 1,300 clubs across 33 countries.
At 93 years old, International Inner Wheel has 3,895 clubs in 106 countries with a membership of over 100,000, making it one of the largest women’s organisations in the world.