The Rotary Movement was born on the evening of 23 February 1905, when Paul Harris, then a young lawyer who felt a bit lost and lonely in the bustling city of Chicago, USA, invited three friends to discuss an idea to start a men’s club in order to enlarge their circle of friends and business acquaintances.
While Paul Harris was interested in fellowship he also hoped the club would undertake broad civic functions of value to the entire community. In 1907 the club launched its first community service project- the establishment of restroom facilities near City Hall Chicago. Today 100 years later the organisation has grown phenomenally.
What is Rotary?
Rotary is a world fellowship of ordinary people bonded together in Rotary clubs for the purpose of encouraging fellowship amongst members to foster the ideal of service above self.
The Rotary thoughtfulness of others is regarded as the basis of service and helpfulness of others as its expression.
The religious and political beliefs of Rotarians are regarded as their own concern. Rotarians are expected to be faithful to their religion and loyal in their citizenship.
Rotary does not endeavour to complete or carry out the civic activities, which belong to other organisations. However it often helps to develop or spark off suitable agencies, which will make the community a better place in which to live, when no such agencies exist.
Rotary’s membership is unique. It tries to make the membership of a Rotary club a true cross section of the community’s interests and activities.
Rotary also differs from other organisations in that the establishment of a Rotary club links its community to a world encircling chain of cities and towns where Rotary Clubs following the same ideas have been organised.
Rotary stands for the application of high standards in business and professional life; for understanding, goodwill and peace among the people of the world.
Object of Rotary
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
- The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
- High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.
- The application of the idea of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business and community life;
- The advancement of international understanding, good will and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.