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Sheran Harper gives Keynote Address at Annual Rotary Worldwide Understanding Dinner
Mothers’ Union Worldwide President Sheran Harper recently gave the keynote address at the annual Rotarian World Understanding Dinner in Georgetown, Guyana. She spoke about the work of Mothers’ Union, stressing the importance of partnership and collaboration, to an audience of Rotarians and professionals from Guyana and the Caribbean. We asked her all about it:
Why were you invited?
The President of the Rotary Club of Georgetown saw the news of my election in the media. He became curious about Mothers’ Union, went on our website and saw that Rotarians and Mothers’ Union share the same areas of focus and concern for making a difference. He said that his club only had 80 members and that Rotary International had over 1 million members. He couldn’t believe that I was President of a movement of four million members. Usually they have an international speaker but he was keen that I speak. His board approved and I was invited.
What did you speak about?
My theme was transforming families and communities. I spoke about our transformational projects around the world and shared the Mothers’ Union impact video which features one of our Parenting Coordinators in Guyana, Gloria Duarte
How was your talk received?
Very well! I received a resounding round of applause, standing ovation and lots of photo opportunities. People came to talk to me and congratulate me. Many had no idea that Mothers’ Union did so much work. They said it was the first presentation to touch their hearts and liked the video and my short power-point presentation. The President elect for 2019-2020 said he would like to collaborate with Mothers’ Union and take a medical outreach team to remote communities in the hinterland where access to healthcare is poor. One company offered to sponsor a training programme for Parenting Group Facilitators’ and a large computer company offered help in any way that Mothers’ Union wanted.
How do you feel about the reaction?
Really happy that I had an engaged audience that was captivated by our stories. Happy that a community unfamiliar with our work was exposed to it. I am happy that people are offering to collaborate with us. I felt that Mothers’ Union flags were indeed flying high.
How important is it for us as members and to speak at such events?
Extremely important! We have a unique story to tell as our vast network of volunteers at the grassroots can achieve positive changes in communities like no other organization can. As ambassadors for Christ we should make our voices heard to the corners of the earth. In everything we do we should ensure that the Mothers’ Union story is alive outside the walls of the church. We must be visible to groups that have the spending power to make a difference so that companies which make annual donations to charities think about supporting us. It is imperative that we change the incorrect perception people may have of us. Opportunities such as these give us the chance to build successful networks and lasting relationships.
Would you encourage members to do the same? If so why?
Yes. I would encourage members to do the same and at the same time they must be well prepared and well informed about the subject content.
We are making a huge impact around the world, we are reaching remote communities where no one else can, our members volunteer incredibly hard to make a difference so we need to speak about it wherever we can. It is no use having our amazing good news as a well-kept secret!