Rotary International is made up of over 1.2 million members around the globe and their commitment to society is mentioned in their motto, ‘Service Above Self’. The Rotary Club is a grass-roots organisation consisting of business professionals and community leaders that volunteer in order to offer remedies to vital community needs.
Recently a project organised by Rotary International, in conjunction with Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, saw a team of 20 Indian specialist doctors come to Rwanda to treat patients with complicated health conditions that required sophisticated surgical procedures.
In an Interview with The New Times, Mugunga Ndoba, Deputy District Governor in charge of Rwanda and Burundi (District 9150) Rotary International, explains the outcome of the nine day voluntary treatment mission and the challenges faced during the mission.
“The concluded mission benefited the neediest people in Rwanda, in nine days the team handled 210 cases. At the end of the day no money can be compared to the joy we have that the livelihood of the 210 people was improved,” he expresses.
As the coordinator of the project, Mugunga explains the several challenges the mission face, while acknowledging the fact that there are lessons learnt for future projects.
“Screening patients was challenging because most people try to hide some diseases to avoid being stigmatised. Another challenge is infrastructure; for example, the concluded mission was conducted at CHUK’s theatres. For the next missions several hospitals in the country will be used,” Mugunga explains.
He also said that 15 children with heart complications and their guardians will be taken to India for treatment.
“Rotary shall take care of all their medical and accommodation expenses while in India, while the Government of Rwanda will facilitate their travel expenses. The children to benefit from this mission will have to be heart patients and from poor families that don’t have the capacity to afford private treatment abroad,” Mugunga explains.
Besides the heart patients, there are also plans of carrying out plastic surgeries on over 2900 Genocide survivors.
“Rajandra K. Saboo, the team leader of a group of 28 Rotarians from India who came to Rwanda with the 20 Indian specialist doctors, was touched by the number of Genocide survivors in need of plastic surgery. He promised to talk to the board of directors of Rotary international and different plastic surgeons will come to Rwanda for the project,” Mugunga discloses.
For every mission 20 plastics surgeons will operate on 400 cases for ten days.
“We Rotarians have to put the service to community over and above our daily professions. Rotarians comprise of all professions in society. Ethics and integrity are some of our core values thus improve the livelihood of people in society. Especially those who didn’t get the chances to acquire trainings and skill, for instance in educations, due to different circumstances,” Mugunga says.
He further said that some of the projects the Rotary is involved include a global campaign to eradicate Polio, letting the world to understand humanitarian service, educational and cultural exchanges.
He said, “we have to share what we have acquired with the community. For example, if one excels in business and he attains a lot of profits, it’s bad if they drive by a disadvantage person in their car without feeling compassionate. If we are lucky, it’s even better when we bless other people with what we have by sharing. We are supposed to uplift other people who are disadvantaged.”
He also said that there misconceptions that Rotary International comprises of only rich people. Rotarians can be anyone one above the age of 30 while those between 30-18years are Rotaractors .
“Rotary member come together and contribute to a cause. The contributions vary but what is always important is commitment. We also have donors. We have different fellowship meetings each day of the week for each Rotary club. We have five Rotary clubs in Rwanda,” Mugunga discloses.
The soft spoken 56-year-old Mugunga joined the Rotary Club in 2000. Besides being involved in the Rotary Club, he is the Chief Executive Officer of Gorilla Mountain Coffee Limited, a coffee processing and exporting company.
“I got involved in coffee processing and export to up lift the private sectors because it was my main objective when I came back from Belgium after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. The traditional export product at the time was coffee. I wanted Rwanda to attain what is called ‘speciality coffee’,” he explains.
His company constructed factories and coffee washing projects were put in place, thereby benefiting many coffee farmers in Rwanda.
“Coffee became my focus in business and I’m happy I have inspired many in this field,” Mugunga expresses.
He also became the first Chairman of Board of Directors of Private Sector Federation in 1999.
Dish: Vegetables (He is a vegetarian)
Sport: - Swimming and Jogging
Music: - Blues and Jazz
Colour: - Purple
Quote: - ‘Service above self’