History of RTM

On the 10th June 2006, Round Table Clubs of Mauritius chartered their own Association, the “Association of Round Tables in the Island of Mauritius”, later renamed Round Table Mauritius (RT Mauritius or RTM).

The Round Table movement in Mauritius has existed for 41 years and the Tablers in Mauritius throughout these years have always adhered to our MOTTO – Adopt, Adapt, Improve.

And Round Table Mauritius is the living proof of the adherence to this MOTTO.Now known as MRT1

Historically Mauritius Round Table No. 1 (MRT1)  (previously RT 15 Mauritius from ARTEA) & RT 2 Seychelles (previously RT 22 Seychelles from ARTEA), separated from ARTEA, they chartered MRT3 Mauritius and formed ARTIO (Association of Round Table of Indian Ocean) in 1985.

On 10th June 2006 MRT1, MRT3 and MRT5 (chartered in 1996) separated from ARTIO to form their own separate RT Mauritius association, leaving RT Seychelles to continue on the already chartered Association of RT Indian Ocean.

The activities marking the Chartering of RTM started on the 9th June 2006 with an official courtesy visit to His Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius, His Excellency M. Raouf Bundhun.

The Round Table delegation was composed of RTM office bearers together with their main sponsors RT Austria and RT Luxemburg represented by Erich Von Maurnböch (Murphy), Norbert Zach of Austria and Luc Tapella of Luxemburg.

His Excellency the Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius, is a fervent supporter of Round Table in Mauritius and he has been officially informed of the change in affiliation of the Round Table clubs in Mauritius.

The Charter Ceremony itself took place on the evening of the 10th June 2006 at Le Maritim Hotel, during the week end of last ever ARTIO AGM to be organized by a Table in Mauritius. About 100 to 120 delegates and guests attended the “garden party” and were spoilt with Champagne, Wine, Rum and light rain for a few minutes!

The ceremony was solemnly orchestrated by the Master of Ceremony, Nanou Moollan (MRT1) together with the convener for the Charter Ceremony, Clifford Duval (MRT3). rtm-charterGreetings from RTI were read by Peter Howe from RT Great Britain & Ireland and the RTI Charter Certificate was read and presented by Erich Von Maurnböch (Murphy) of RT Austria and Luc Tapella from RT Luxemburg. The whole ceremony was abundantly covered by a crew from the MBC, the National Television.

Other than Austria and Luxemburg, Tablers from Seychelles, Kenya, Reunion Island, South Africa and United Kingdom honoured by their presence the Charter Ceremony which was followed by the AGM banquet which closed its doors at 04:30hrs the next morning.

This weekend has indeed been one of the most intense moments of friendship and fellowship only a pity that we do not attend to Charter Ceremonies that often.

On the 22nd November 2008, RT Mauritius chartered their latest Table, MRT7. The charter theme was James Bond 007 as they are No7.

RT Mauritius had their first fundraising combined with the charter night where guest could win seven prizes in total. MRT7The idea of chartering a new table was the brainchild of RT Mauritius President, Gilles Debert. He saw the opportunity to form a new table.

MRT7 first social meeting was organized in April 2008 with all the new prospective members present. From there, the new prospective members were invited to business and social meetings.

In 2011 RT Mauritius celebrated its 5th anniversary with a sports day on RTI day. Red, Blue, Yellow, Green are the 4 colours of the Mauritian flag and so are the colours of the four Tables of Round Table Mauritius teams taking place in the annual Sports Day of RT Mauritius. Every year the 4 Tables each joined with one of the 4 Club41 to challenge the winner of the last sports day edition.

At the RTI World Meeting in India in 2012 RT Mauritius won the bid to host the RTI WM in 2014 (Convenor: Majid Thunda) It will be the second time a World Meeting will be organised in Mauritius, the previous time was 2002 when RT Mauritius as part of ARTIO had hosted the WOCO 2002 (Convenor: Pravin Ramburn).

RT Mauritius have also organised the RT Africa Regional Meetings in 1987, 1998 and in 2010.

RT Mauritius won the RTI Waldo Thole Award on several occasions, the latest being in 2010 (Dubai) and 2012 (Hyderabad)

The most important men in the history of RT Mauritius are:

Arnold Bouquet (deceased 2001): twice MRT1 Mauritius Chairman, a 41er Service Project Trophy is named after him.

Bud Gudjadhur: Bud is the only Tabler in Mauritius who joined at 18 and left at 40. To date, Bud is still a member of Club 41-1, and very keen to assist Round Table each and every time being asked for.

Sanjiv Goburdhun: Sanjiv was a prominent Tabler in MRT1. He was the first to hold international office as Africa Chairman in 2001/ 2002. Elected Life Honorary Member in 2010, Sanjiv unfortunately left us is February 2012

Later on, Anwar "Nanou" Moolan (MRT1) and Gilles Debert (MRT5) also held office as RTI Officers.

Round Table Mauritius’ involvement locally and Internationally its 80 + members have always been very active both in the local community and in the Round Table movement internationally. The clubs have been awarded several grants for their social projects over the years including funding from RT Luxembourg, RT Austria, RT Belgium and WOCO. Current projects include:

• Foyer Namasté - building a home for 40 severely handicapped children - MRT1

• Autism Mauritius - supporting underprivileged autistic children - MRT3

• Glasses of Hope - providing 500 children with reading glasses in schools with low success rates – MRT5

• La Marche a Reculons - purchasing a new vehicle to bring physically-challenged students to school - MRT7

RT Mauritius is also very present on the international scene. RT Mauritius have hosted a WOCO / RTI meeting in 2002, held the Africa Region chairmanship in 3 occasions, won the Waldo Thole award in RTI AGM in Dubai 2010 and Hyderabad 2012, and their representative Bertrand Philogéne earned the Best Contribution Award to the RTI AGM 2011 in Germany.

Tablers travel regularly to international events and always offer a warm welcome to visitors coming to the island either on holidays, business or to attend our annual AGM - which takes place in May in one of the 4 to 5* hotels along the coast.

In 2010 MRT5 secured a record single donation of Rupees 2.35m (Euros 54,650) for the Fatima Literacy School. This was a donation from a leading local bank for the construction of a turnkey computer lab for the Fatima Literacy School. Members of MRT5 presented the project on behalf of the School in July 2009, and obtained the official reply in February 2010. Funding was provided by the Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd. through its Corporate Social Responsibility Fund for the year 2010.

The Fatima Literacy School was initially set up by volunteers as a community library in 1989 for children in the northern area of the island. Realizing that the targeted children actually did not know how to read, the project evolved into a literacy school which is now built on land donated by a local church.

Every year the school hosts around 125 pupils who have repeatedly failed the Certificate of Primary Education (CPE) – which is a prerequisite for any paid work on the island. Nearly 1,000 children have been re-educated over the last 20 years by the Association using their 3 to 5 year schooling, the children will have gained self esteem, confidence and the ability to learn how to read, write and count. They will retake the CPE exam and get pre-vocational training to prepare them for active life.

The cooperation between Fatima Literacy School and MRT5 started with the organization of a rock concert fund raising event in November 2008, during which donations of Rupees 138,000 (Euro 3,210) were collected. MRT5 furthered its commitment with a series of other fund raising events.

Although RT Mauritius is a very young association, they carry on their back a 50 year tradition of MRT1. In January 2012 all the 4 clubs of Mauritius unanimously voted to support the creation of a 5th Table which should be chartered in 2014.

In 2015 MRT1 will be celebrating its Jubilee anniversary (50 years).

By Nicos Zevlaris (RT Cyprus)

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