Governor’s monthly letter – March

Rotary International - Southwest Finland and Åland Islands - District 1410

Governor’s monthly letter – March

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** Governor's monthly letter - March

PETS in Parainen is successfully done, there were 125 of us! At the same time we had official meeting, the minutes can be found on district website For members - official documents. Training was given to the presidents, secretaries as well as in foundation matters. Being together was the best, a lively discussion on breaks was wonderful to listen. I hope everyone got out loads of the training session. All the related materials on district website.

** Rotary and corona
We are living the time of corona virus and it has confused the who spring as well as living as it was. All the meetings in Rotary are cancelled, including Hawaii convention.

Club presidents have been wondering different options to have club meetings. One way is to have a email meeting. If you do not have any subjects, you can utilise the district's website, under activities there are weekly meeting quizzes (sorry only in Finnish at this point). Also video meetings have been suggested and good practises looked for. One option is to use video meeting with MS Teams free version, or Google Meet or Zoom meeting (note! zoom has raised some data protection issues). Ask more from your areas AG, he'll advise what has been done in other clubs.

We all are ready to help. And I have been discussing this matter with quite a few rotarians. It has been asked, how clubs can help. Below the guidance from district:

It is wonderful that every one is ready to help. Myself, I use the simple social responsibility - those elderly people I know, I have contacted them to let them know, if they need any kind of help with groceries or in other matters, I am willing to help.

If a club decides to help, they will do it on their own decision. District cannot obligate any clubs, especially as many of us are in the risk group. If a club decides to help in corona time, not all rotarians are obligated to participate. We have to remember that there are certain restrictions given by the government and more possible emerging. people 70 + cannot do any extra outings. We have quite a many members with asthma or diabetes - they are part of the risk group and cannot help. Some of them do not want others to know about their restrictions, so not participating may rise strong feeling in both parties. Also one needs to be aware of the resources - if we are now full of enthusiasm and well, how to keep doing the project if virus affects own troops.

If a club decides to participate, how do they know who needs help? An official party must be involved, this means town or municipality and their social workers. How to get info who needs help, or who wants help? How and when? All the information regarding the matter needs the involvement of officials.

How do we stop the criminals who are acting as corona virus inspectors and try to lure the elderly to give out information? If we work as a Rotary club, how can we identify ourselves to be the right rotarians ready to help, not the cheaters? Unfortunately we do not have official id-certificates to say we are rotarians, so this could be a potential problem too.

Responsibility questions must be looked into very carefully first. If we decide to help with groceries and only deliver the bag behind the front door, and if the elderly person gets corona virus infection, how can we prove it was not us and not to be sued later in court? There are lots of taxi services who provide the grocery bag service. In clubs, it is worth while to think, who else we could help?

Also, how can we be sure that the helper is not infected/carry the virus? Sometimes will to help is so strong that willing to accept own heath situation is secondary. In this matter everyone has to be very critical and recognise own health situation. If we have promised to help,  but feel bit sick ourselves, we cannot help but to decline going out. So who will take over, what are the spare resources?

Helping is a wonderful idea, but there are so many issues to consider. I have spoken with so many rotarians and all the discussion have ended up the same way - even though there is a huge desire to help in rotarians, age structure with those who could help during the days, prevents - they belong to risk group. Also we have quite a few entrepreneurs who are now seeking the way to survive and try to do a full days work. If they are also demanded to be part of this, it would not be fair.

Summary: those who have the time and are healthy - it is great if they can help, for example by contacting the local Red Cross and help through them. I did mention I use the social responsibility (not given by my Rotary club) and when people ask me why I help, I mention that I am a rotarian and it is part what we do.

The situation is challenging worldwide. I do hope the model we use in Finland will help us to prevent virus spreading and the summer could be spent safely regarding our health. Nobody at the moment can give a clear evaluation how the virus spreading is going to happen so let's take care of hand hygiene, controlled coughing and sneezing, avoid not necessary movement, avoid public places where we can, as well as shops, take care of our own welfare and healthy exercise - and all this safely. Above all - lets try to stay healthy.

A year ago in PETS we looked the district strategy plan and the budget. One part in the budget was the club's
voluntary PolioPlus support by 100 euros/club. If a club is committed to support PolioPlus with that 100 euros, please use the same account number in payment as the per capita invoice you'll get in March.

** RYLA - area 5 - 33 students
Ryla aka young leadership training has been done all over the district. Below few photos of area 5 (Alastaro, Forssa, Loimaa, Somero and Urjala) event when giving out certificates for the participants. We were lucky to have this done before corona virus restrictions. After the certificates we practised and also received teaching for the formal dinner order (forks, spoon, glasses), tips from the kitchen and a  delicious meal - of course done by the students. Huge thanks for our partners: HAMK University of Applied Science and Forssa Vocational Institute.
Photos: Jaakko Kuusinen, RC Forssa Sepänhaka

** Rotary Institute in Oulu in September (with GETS and GoNTS)
Despite of corona, we are planning the autumn and Rotary Institute is taken place in Oulu 8.- 13.9.2020. Here is the link to the site + extra info Rotary Institute (

Leadership is one of Rotary´s basic values. This implies an obligation not only to demonstrate good leadership in our clubs, district and professions
but also to offer leadership training and mentorship. Hence Rotary´s devotion to RYLA.  For the second year a ”super RYLA” is offered in connection with the annual Zone institute which this year takes place in Oulu Finland. The clubs in your district are asked with  a strong recommendation to nominate/sponsor qualified candidates. This a brilliant way to recruit to Rotaract and Rotary. All pertinent information about this international leadership training is to be found at ( .

Thank you in advance for your help in promoting this very important event and see you in Oulu in September.

Kristofer Erlandsson
Past district governor RI D 2350
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