Marjan Modara, the new President of the Rotary Club of Manama (RCM), tells of her own satisfaction in the organisation and plans for the future.
How long have you been with Rotary and what drew you to the organisation?
I’ve been a member for more than 10 years. I was looking for a way to give back to our society and help in the community. A friend invited me to a Rotary lunch and I really liked the fellowship and the calibre of the members. The fact that it included all kinds of professionals from all sectors in society, and the nationality diversification were also two of the factors that attracted me to join. Those factors helped in the ease of putting fund raising events together, driving big projects and delivering them to have a big impact where support is needed most in the local community.
What do you feel you, personally, have gained from being part of Rotary?
Seeing the good that our projects do to improve the lives of the less fortunate in society has given me a lot of contentment and a sense of self-worth. On the personal level, by teaming up with our professional members I have tremendously developed my leadership abilities in producing an environment where team members can be their best while working on community projects. Working alongside CEOs, doctors, finance professionals, business owners, teachers et cetera has also taught me skills that otherwise I wouldn’t have in any other society. And while doing all the aforementioned, the fellowship that has grown amongst us has made it worthwhile being part of Rotary.
Before the presidency, which other roles have you held within the Rotary Club of Manama?
I have been Club Secretary and took on the director role in Community Service, Club Service, Vocational, International, Sergeant at Arms and Public Relations. In many cases, I was assisting other directors in their projects.
How has Rotary been dealing with the current coronavirus circumstances?
It has been a very challenging time for us. In normal circumstances, we used to meet for lunch regularly on Sundays each week to plan on projects, update the members of the club’s activities and socialise. But, with the precautions, we have had stop our physical meetings and go online to hold our meetings virtually. But we managed to raise funds and help with Ramadan food boxes, which we distributed to the less fortunate families in society, we also supported the authorities and other non-profit organisations in giving aid to the migrant workers by providing masks and food rations in these difficult times.
What are your plans for the coming year?
Steering a community service project that will have a big impact in society will be the main focus this year. This will aim also to enhance the image of Rotary and what we do to support projects locally as my second focus. By working hand-in-hand with the authorities in the Kingdom and other non-profit organisations, we hope to rebuild a strong relationship with those groups. Driving a main community service project in collaboration with these groups is what we believe will assist us to reinforce what Rotary clubs can do for society.
Do you have any main projects and, if yes, how will you endeavor to accomplish these?
Mental health for young adolescents will be our main focus and project for the year and we will be working to support this since the youth are the future of this country and their health is crucial to building a healthy and strong society that will take us into the future. In order to accomplish this task, we have to work with the officials in the Ministry of Health to support their programmes in this area. We have already established a good communication channel and will be working to back up one of their projects.
Are there any changes planned?
The only change I can see is how our meetings are going to be conducted moving forward. So far, we have been very successful in conducting our meetings online and, interestingly enough, we have been attracting members from all over the world to login and participate.
How many members does the Rotary Club of Manama have?
We are currently 59 members of which 13 are female. Out of the 11 members on the board of directors this year, three are male and the rest are female.
Will you be aiming to increase the membership?
To me, the focus this year will be on retaining and engaging our current members. With our meetings being online and not having social activities or the normal fund-raising activities, it is very challenging to attract new members. It all depends on whether we will be able to go back to our normal lunch meetings and social activities during which guests are able to see what we actually do, that’s what would attract them to join.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to emphasise on the big impact that the Rotary Club of Manama has had so far in local society by producing projects in collaboration with members and other non-profit organisations. To name just a few: a van was equipped and donated to the Ministry of Health for Diabetes Awareness and is now being used by RCSI as a means for diabetes prevention awareness in schools. This model is used as a prototype globally for diabetes awareness. In another arena, three blood analysis machines, each costing BD25,000, were donated in collaboration between RCM, AbdulHussain Dawani, past president of the club, Bahrain Road Runners and Yousif and Aysha Almoayed Charity, to the OPD Clinic at Salmaniya Hospital for sickle cell patients – improving the quality of and prolonging the lives of these patients.
Fundraising events have been our main source of financing to carry out our projects. With the current situation, we are challenged to find innovative ways to collect funds for our future projects.