From Interact to Youth Exchange to Arch Klumph Society
Mumbai man gives back after 'transformational' Rotary experience
Saif Qureishi began his association with Rotary nearly four decades ago when he was president of his school’s Interact club in Mumbai.
Two years later, he spent a year in the United States as a Rotary Youth Exchange student.
Three years ago, he and his wife, Rauzat, were inducted into the Arch Klumph Society, a distinction reserved for those whose lifetime contributions to The Rotary Foundation total $250,000 or more.
Qureishi is the founding CEO of Mumbai-based KRYFS Power Components Ltd., and founder and trustee of KRYFS Charitable Trust. Rauzat is an acupuncturist.
With the Foundation Trustees hoping to enroll 100 new AKS members in 2017 in recognition of the Foundation’s centennial, Qureishi seems an ideal person to speak about the satisfaction that comes with giving.
Q: In 1981, you came to the U.S. as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange. What impact did that experience have on your life?
A: Being on a long-term exchange program at the age of 17 was nothing short of transformational for me. I went from Bombay (as it was called then), a city of almost 12 million, to a small town called Towanda in Pennsylvania. I wanted to run back home. Fortunately, my father asked me to hang in there for a month and then decide. I not only hung in there, but I flourished in school and socially. By the time I returned to India in 1982, I had transformed from a shy, introverted teenager into a confident young adult.
Q: Could you talk about what giving has meant for you?
A: I give not just because I want to help another or do good, which are noble reasons. I give because it energizes my life. We’re all conditioned to look at most things in life from the perspective of “What’s in it for me?” When you realize that your reason for giving is also for yourself, it becomes second nature.
I give not just because I want to help another or do good, which are noble reasons. I give because it energizes my life.
CEO of Mumbai-based KRYFS Power Components Ltd., Arch Klumph Society inductee
Q: What are some of the projects that your contributions have funded?
A: We funded a center for children who have no hearing or sight, in partnership with an international NGO called Sense International. We bought a bus and provide educational equipment for a school for the physically challenged outside Mumbai. We modernized an eye hospital for the economically disadvantaged. We raised funds for about 120 pediatric heart surgeries, saving the lives of infants and children with a congenital birth defect.
Q: What do you say when you are trying to persuade someone to join Rotary?
A: Rotary has changed the lives of many of us by making us better people – more compassionate and understanding – while giving us the opportunity to meet people from diverse segments of society. It has also changed the lives of those we have touched with our projects. I have many friends outside of Rotary, but the friends I have in Rotary all share a common goal: to do good in the world. That is a very powerful binder.
Q: Any advice you would like to share with Rotarians?
A: Make giving a habit. Start small, like I did, but do it regularly. Inculcate the habit of giving in your children so they experience the power of giving. Our two daughters are far less materialistic than my wife or me, and I am really happy about that.
– Paul Engleman
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