June 16, 2005
Thank you so much for making your travel plans to Chicago so that you could spend some time with us in Houston. Your presentation brings home to us, as only photographs can do, the most basic of needs which exist in Pakistan. As you are aware, Kamran Makhdoom from the Multan club is our Rotary Ambassadorial scholar this year and has done an OUTSTANDING job as an ambassador for Pakistan, even under some trying circumstances. He has grace, wit and charm which is much loved and appreciated not only in the Galleria Area Rotary Club (his host club), but also throughout our district. Because of him, our Galleria Area club president has decided to become a member of TRF's Bequest Society and has given large sums to TRF this year herself.
Shehzad, we especially appreciate your work on the Matching Grants. In an effort to honor Kamran, our district engaged in its first grant ever with Pakistan with the grant for cataract removal surgeries. The paperwork you provided was fast, accurate, and contained all of the necessary attachments. The grant has recently funded, and we look forward to the photographs and closing reports so that we can do some more grants with you. We are especially pleased to be helping your district with 2 water projects and the school science lab. As you know, the Houston club is very interested in partnering some significant educational and literacy programs in Pakistan, and we hope to see that idea take fruition next Rotary year.
What we really appreciate about your grant ideas is that they lead to self-sustainability and better lives for people over the long term. So many times, we put band-aids (plasters) on the symptoms without addressing the underlying problems. Many times, our projects have created a dependence on the providers of the grants. When the grants disappear, there often follows hurt feelings and resentment. We really believe in the power of empowering people by providing them the tools to help themselves. A critical element to this philosophy is education. Perhaps if more people had the opportunities which we've shared in education, traveling, and spending time together in foreign lands, we would be less likely to hate each other or attack each other.
You have the website information for our Rotary Youth Exchange program. While I doubt we can provide a student for you in Pakistan, we are checking the system here to see if perhaps we could host a student from Pakistan. If it doesn't work for 2005-06, let's give it another try in the following years.
Shehzad, as a gesture of appreciation for all you have done to foster communications and relations between this district and the vast and diverse areas of your own district, District 5890 is providing you with a PHF. It is my understanding that you are already a multiple PHF, so this will add another stone to your current pin status. Congratulations; you have earned this honor. We hope that you will continue your good work in Pakistan and beyond, and I look forward to seeing you again in Chicago!
Yours in Rotary,
D'Lisa R. Simmons
Rotary International District Governor, 2004-05
District 5890, Texas
1702 Cranway Dr.
Houston, TX 77055