IPOH-based social worker and new Rotary International District 3300 governor Datuk Bindi Rajasegaran is focusing on environment and mental health during her term.
“Rotary Malaysia has initiated the National Coalition of Mental Well-being whose mission is to promote mental health initiatives through education, support and advocacy.
“We have identified six areas of focus — youth and adolescent, psychosocial support and training, stigma and discrimination, mental health in the workplace, decriminalisation and task shifting.
“We are guided by the Health Ministry and World Health Organisation in our programmes,” she said.
As for the environment, Bindi said initiatives were launched following the Global Climate Conference on July 4.
“There is a profound connection between our environment and healthy living.
“One of the motivators to embrace easily adaptable and relatable measures to make our communities environment friendly is to qualify as an eco-warrior.
“We had great response as there were more than 400 sign-ups from members of the public, non-governmental organisations, government agencies and from various parts of the world to be a member of the Rotary Eco-Warrior,” she said.
The managing partner of an industrial relations and human resource management advisory practice started her term on July 1 and will serve until June 30, 2022.
District 3300 covered the states of Perlis, Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Perak, Pahang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan.
A Rotary member since 1997, Bindi has pioneered many humanitarian programmes in the country and the Asian region including participating in the eradication of polio.
As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), Bindi also said Rotary was a key driver behind efforts to eradicate polio worldwide for more than 30 years. This was done through partnerships created with World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
To date, GPEI has reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9%, and Rotary has contributed more than US$2.2bil (about RM10bil) to fight polio.
As the third woman to serve as governor in Rotary’s 91-year history in Malaysia, Bindi said the organisation would continue to focus on fostering peace, fighting illiteracy, poverty and disease, ensuring communities had clean water, sanitation and hygiene.
Throughout its history of service, she highlighted that the organisation has been instrumental in establishing many significant projects such as the Sungai Buloh Leprosarium, the first blood bank, Malaysian Association for the Prevention of Tuberculosis, Rotary-Perkin Rehabilitation Centre, Pusat Serenti Tampin, Outward Bound School, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Malaysian Zoological Society and Zoo Negara, Tun Hussein Onn Eye Hospital, Selangor and Federal Territorries Spastic Children’s Association Building, National Kidney Foundation, Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation, The Dementia Therapeutic Garden, Persatuan Kebajikan Orang Cacat Manjung, Pusat Kanak Kanak Istimewa Kajang, haemodialysis centres in Ipoh and welfare clinics.
On the contributions of Rotary in Malaysia during the Covid-19 pandemic, Bindi said solidarity and collective efforts from public and private sectors were required for effective response.
“Rotary members have rallied together and provided immense relief to communities in need since the pandemic broke out more than 18 months ago.
“Our clubs are raising and spending at a rate of RM1mil monthly for food and necessities including providing ventilators, face masks, food, hand sanitiser and personal protection equipment kits to hospitals and the people.
“One primary goal is to end vaccine hesitancy.
“In addition to educating people, Rotary members will also continue to support the pandemic recovery phase with as much support as possible within our means,” she said.
She also stressed that in times of crisis, the most vulnerable and marginalised populations carry a disproportionate share of the hardship and were often left out of response and recovery efforts.
Thus it is imperative that the non-government sector and service organisations like Rotary responded quickly and collectively during these situations.
“If all facets of society come together, no challenge — including the global pandemic — is insurmountable,” she said.