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May 1, 2020

Oxford Rotaract relaunched!

We were delighted to welcome visitors from across the globe to our meeting on 28th April. Our largest club meeting for a long time and our opportunity to welcome the relaunched Oxford Rotaract as well as share some stories of lockdown in our different countries.

Friends joined us from South Africa, Germany, Bangladesh, Croatia and Bulgaria as well as various places across our Rotary district – members of other Rotary clubs, past members of our club, Rotary Scholars and past Rotary Scholars.

We shared some of our lockdown stories. We heard that in South Africa the sale of alcohol is banned during lockdown, while in the UK the off-licenses are still open since alcohol is classed as essential! While many in the UK are baking and flour is in short supply, Sasheenie admitted to sticking to her staple of baked potatoes adn not attempting any baking. Naomi has been watching a film “The Last Ship” about a global virus, Deb has been reading lots, Carol is doing agility training with her dog, Naomi has built a bar at home and John was enjoying reconnecting with the local wildlife on his daily walks.

Our lockdown heroes included Michael’s 90 year old neighbour who starts the weekly clap for carers on his street with a loud whistle, Gillian’s hospital colleagues working in the stores/supply department, Deb’s neighbour who collect her prescriptions, the rescue teams and hospital staff dealing with earthquakes in Lorena’s home town in Croatia, and the young boy in Bulgaria who Rada said had been on tv giving his whole savings to the local hospital.

A few achievements stood out: Navin has just completed his PhD in the Department of Engineering at Oxford University, having taken his viva online from home – but still dressed in his Oxford academic gown to add to the sense of occasion! And Brenda is in a team sewing scrubs and laundry bags for local hospitals and care homes.
Rada, the president of the Oxford Rotaract club welcomed the Rotaractors from Bangladesh and South Africa, from clubs that have enjoyed online activities and discussions with the Oxford Rotaractors. We heard about the activities of the two clubs, helping groups in their local communities with a literacy project in Bangladesh and networking projects in South Africa.

We reported on a few recent donations by Oxford Spires Rotary to local groups – to charities supported by our Children Singing for Children events held in February, to recent guest speakers and to two local charities supporting people in Oxford during the pandemic. (Read more about Rotary’s support of local food banks in the Thames Valley.)

Holly and Rada spoke about the Oxford Rotaract club’s recent activities including the stroke awareness day, crocus planting as part of the Purple for Polio campaign, a picnic to welcome new members and a ‘gift box swap’ with a club in Sri Lanka.

Rada thanked everyone for their support of the newly reformed Rotaract club and spoke of her hope for the future and her belief that we can make a great success of this club. The Oxford Spires club president, Michael, presented a certificate to Rada and we all celebrated the new club. We shared cakes with candles in them – well not really. We showed others the cakes that we were about to eat ourselves. But the idea was there – if we’d been together we would have shared the cakes.

So a great success despite not being able to be together in person. Oxford Rotaract has a great future ahead!