Interview: Muminah Hakeem

Interview: Muminah Hakeem

Rtr. Muminah Hakeem, you had been given the serious responsibility of handling the club’s finances, which meant you were a central figure in most of the club’s endeavors. Let’s begin with a quick introduction of yourself, and followed by  a brief explanation of your exact duties within the club.

Hi, I’m Muminah Hakeem, the treasurer of the Rotaract Club of UOC Arts. I’m sure a lot of club members (specially the newbies) might not immediately know or recognize me because I’ve been working “behind the scenes” throughout this Rotaract year. But that is only because as the Treasurer, my main responsibility was to make sure all the financial records and accounts are in order, which usually happens after a project is completed, and rarely during the process! Some of the most important duties I had to take up as the Treasurer was to create the estimated budget for the year, keep the accounts up to date, draw up budgets for events like the annual installation ceremony, and the last and most important one – submit the finalized and audited financial report at the end of the year. Of course, none of this was done alone – I would say my role as the Treasurer was made extremely easy thanks to our ever-helpful President and our amazing Board of Directors! 

Did you have a concise idea about the position of the club’s Treasurer when you were elected last year? What was the journey like, from the very beginning, to the point where you realized you’ve got the hang of it?

One thing Rotaract has taught me during this year is that, if someone who is as bad with numbers as I am (oops!) can take up the role of club Treasurer, then really, there’s nothing anyone can’t do! When I first agreed to take the role (there was a lot of convincing and coaxing from PP Rtr. Methmini akki and Rtr. Anudi involved) I wasn’t really sure if I would do a good job. But looking back, having an amazing team and an extremely helpful Board of Directors was the only reason our club could continue to maintain timely and accurate financial records. Today, I can say wholeheartedly that it was always a team effort since the very beginning. From the Avenue Directors, who always made sure to keep me informed of all the money they spent on projects, to the members, who donated, sponsored and helped us during all the events and fundraisers, every single person involved was a huge helping hand to me and to the club’s treasury. Of course, there were many challenges we faced with raising funds during certain projects, but considering the fact that we have been facing one crisis after another for the last few years, I believe that we have still done a pretty good job of maintaining a good financial record through the year.

What is your notion of the Treasury that preceded your year? And how does your year as Treasurer improve upon what came before you?

One issue that we faced as a club was with the signatory change that was required for our official club bank account, which we couldn’t do due to the previous Board not being able to submit the audited accounts to the university. Instead of the official club account, our President Rtr. Anudi’s personal account was used for all the club related transactions (with the acknowledgement and permission of the DRR, of course). Because of these reasons, it was quite a challenge to fully understand the treasury of the preceding year. But this year, we hope to solve the issue so that our audited accounts can be submitted in due time, and the next Board would not have to face the same issue. Despite this, we have still managed to maintain the financial records of the club accurately throughout the year. I believe Rtr. Anudi and our team have kept the club afloat quite well this year and hope that it will continue to improve in the years to come!

Handling money is no trivial task, especially in a context where every cent matters. What were some of the significant challenges you had to face within the club as the Treasurer?

Handling money certainly is no simple task, but that becomes even more difficult during uncertain times like today. I think one of the biggest challenges we had this year was in gaining sponsorships and raising funds for the projects. We had to consider many factors before creating budgets and asking for contributions from club members as well as the public, especially for the community service projects. But thanks to the generosity of our members and the community, we managed to exceed expectations with the money that was raised for these projects. I simply have to mention our amazing Community Service Director Rtr. Sithmi here, because she really went out of her way to obtain many sponsorships and donations all throughout the year for every project under her avenue and more. Just like her, our club members’ contributions were the sole reason why the finances of the year have remained stable, despite all the external challenges and setbacks.

What was your overall experience like during the Rotaract year that is about to end? Is there anything that you would like to have done differently? 

The Rotaract year has been a fun and challenging one. On one hand, we have managed to complete a bunch of great projects successfully. On the other, many external factors restricted us from engaging in a lot of outbound events that may have been possible if only things were slightly different. I believe the toll of online learning was really starting to affect a lot of us at one point, and that combined with having to conduct most of the projects online didn’t really seem very motivating. But that didn’t stop us of course! Personally, I have learnt a lot since I joined the club and even more so since I was given the role of club Treasurer. I have made lovely new friends along the way, and it has made my university life so much more interesting.  As for doing anything differently, I only wish I could have participated in club projects more frequently than I did this year, and maybe participated in more events/projects organized by other clubs as well.  

The Treasurer-Elect for the upcoming year has been announced. Is there anything that you would like to say to Rtr. Dinithi Athulathmudali as she steps into this vital role within the club?

First of all, congratulations Rtr. Dinithi! You have been given one of the most important and interesting roles in the Board of Directors and I’m sure it’s going to be a fun and exciting ride. I don’t have a lot of advice to give, except to always keep a close eye on all the projects that the club organizes and make notes of all the expenses frequently, so that you don’t have to struggle to find information at the last moment. You don’t have to work on the club accounts on your own, because it’s always easier to do them collectively with your Board of Directors. And if you have any questions or issues you can always reach out for help! Here’s hoping that you and your Board have an incredible year with loads of fun and exciting projects to look forward to!

– Interview conducted by Rtr. Janidu Wijebandara and Rtr. Vibhath Jayasinghe

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