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sŽů͘Ϯ͕/ƐƐƵĞരϰ

@Rotaract_India

@RotaractNewsIndia

October

2019

(Quarterly)


info@rotasiadelhi2020.com General Queries

Contact details:

+91 84474 72765 (Whatsapp only) registration@rotasiadelhi2020.com Rtn | Rtr Navdeep Singh Oberoi Registrations Chief Coordinator

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chairman@rotasiadelhi2020.com Rtn | Rtr Manuj Mittal Rotasia Chairman


Inside

12 An exhibition of patriotism 30 Rotaract holds career workshop in Kolkata 36 Overcoming suicide blues

8

Providing relief to flood victims

in the 40 Island-hopping monsoon-soaked Andamans

14

A Talk to inspire action

hygiene seminar 44 Menstrual for Amritsar girls

22

A Rotaract Conference at the Sun city

On the cover: DG Rajendra Bhamre plants a sapling at the herbal garden developed by Rotaractors of RAC B P National Institute of Social Work, RID 3030.

48 Madurai children get Little Libraries OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 3


RI Director Bharat Pandya (Zones 4 & 7) RI Director Kamal Sanghvi (Zones 5 & 6) District Rotaract Representatives 2019–20 Zone 4, 5, 6 & 7 2981

Nishanth Govindarajan

3000

Harish Vasan

3011

Arpit Mehra

3012

Mudita Khurana

3020

CH V V Aravind Prasad

3030

Shantanu Agrawal

3040

Tejasva Gandhi

3053

Kaushal Sahu

3054

Imran Jat

3060

Chintan Shah

3070

Shveta Thakur

3080

Ishita Kaith

3090

Rohit Wadhwa

3100

Nidhi Gupta

3110

Alok Pandey

3120

Kushagra Bansal

3131

Akshay Deepak More

3132

Rtr Santosh Vitthal Shinde

3141

Kushal Hitesh Bhuva

3150

Vinod Kumar Ameti

3170

Rahul Shivaji Mohite

3181

Ganesh GT Bhat

3190

Shashi Kumar M

3201

S. Ajai

3232

Senthil Mani A.

3240

Deepjyoti Das

3250

Rahul Rajgadia

3261

Rahul Shrivastava

3262

Rtr Chinmoy Sourav Gayan, Sr.

3291

Soumyadeb Barman

Rotaract News Editor Rasheeda Bhagat Senior Assistant Editor Jaishree Padmanabhan Senior Sub Editor Muthukumaran V Sub Editor Kiran Zehra Designers Vishwanathan K Gunasekaran L Krishnamurthy N Krishnapratheesh S Send all correspondence to

ROTARY NEWS TRUST 3rd Floor, Dugar Towers, 34 Marshalls Road Egmore, Chennai 600 008, India. Phone: 044 42145666 e-mail rotarynewsmagazine@gmail.com facebook @RotaractNewsIndia twitter @Rotaract_India instagram @Rotaract_India website www.rotaractnews.org

Published by Rotary News Trust from Dugar Towers, 3rd Flr, 34, Marshalls Road, Egmore, Chennai 600 008.

The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the Editor or Trustees of Rotary News Trust (RNT) or Rotary International (RI). No liability can be accepted for any loss arising from editorial or advertisement content. Contributions – original content – is welcome but the Editor reserves the right to edit for clarity or length. Content can be reproduced, but with permission from RNT.


Editor’s Note

A billion-dollar gift for American women

A

s India was celebrating Durga pujo, a stunning piece of news caught the headlines across the world. Melinda Gates, Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major partner of Rotary in the war against polio, has committed a whopping $1 billion to expand women’s “influence and power” in her country — the United States. To be given over 10 years, this money is committed by her company, Pivotal Ventures, to those entities that are taking “innovative and diverse approaches” to expand and advance women’s reach in the community. In a signed article in Time magazine, Melinda explained why she had taken this decision. While she was “outraged” to find that in 2018 there were more men named James running Fortune 500 companies than there were women on that list, and this year only one non-white woman CEO made it to that list, she also saw an “opportunity” in this fact. Well, if a person like her finds it “heartbreaking” that an advanced country like the US has continued to hold its women back, what about a developing country like India? How do our young people — not only young women but also men — feel about the status of women in our country? I’d take an educated guess that percentage-wise, there are more women Rotaractors, than Rotarians. I’d even wager a bet that women Rotaractors manage to get more

leadership positions in Rotaract than women Rotarians have managed so far. The April issue of Rotaract News had a woman DRR — Nishita Pednekar — accompanied by the then RI President Barry Rassin, on the cover. Yes, Indian women have broken the glass ceiling in professions that were earlier considered male bastions; in finance and banking, science and technology — at the highly televised launch of Chandrayaan we saw so many women in the august assembly of scientists — and these days you can even see a sprinkling of women in boardrooms and at CEO levels. But can we deny that there are many barriers placed before a woman at different levels, sometimes even with the girl child’s slaughter in the womb. Our falling gender ratio continues to be a cause for concern. When it comes to education, except for the upper and upper middle classes, in families with limited financial resources, will a brother get better chance of quality education or a sister? We all know the answer to that one. Generalisations are odious, I concede, but even in the workplace, many barriers are placed in a woman’s professional progress, often beginning with her own family, as she continues to be the principal caregiver. You, the younger generation, is our hope for an India where there is better gender equity than our generation has seen. If a woman is constantly pushed behind and made to bear the full burden of the role of caregiver at home, even while she brings in a decent income, younger women will turn away from the institution of marriage, or worse, motherhood. A billion-dollar is a lot of money, and we too have our own share of philanthropists in India. But I am yet to see such large donations being made exclusively for women’s welfare in our country. Melinda Gates deserves our congratulations for being a trailblazer. But along with Melinda, let us also celebrate the raw courage of young Greta Thunberg who made such an impassioned plea on the environment at the UN recently. Her “how dare you” speech will continue to ring in the ears of many world leaders for a long time.

Rasheeda Bhagat OCTOBER 2019

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M E S S A G E

F R O M

One-to-One

R

otary has a legacy of a sound value system, integrity, diversity and fellowship culminating in good leadership. This legacy is not just a source of pride but a source of strength and inspiration. The legacy of Rotary moves ahead with Rotaract. This is the way forward and one which must be strengthened. I encourage Rotaract clubs and Rotaractors to focus on these aspects as they connect with each other, with Rotary and the community around us. Create a fertile field where young people can nurture the 2 Ts — their Thinking and Talent. Allow your members to use these positively and creatively. Harness the talent of Rotaract leaders and lay a strong foundation for your clubs and Rotaract. Rotaract has institution-based and community-based clubs. Both have their inherent strengths and challenges. Rotaract leadership must establish a good balance and harmony between these so that they complement each other and make the organisation stronger. For this, the roots must be strong, and the roots are in the clubs. Clubs become strong when a strong foundation is laid. A strong foundation will help Rotaract grow, become vibrant and thrive. Transparent constitutional documents, clear leadership roles, well-organised club meetings, and a good member engagement strategy will ensure your club’s success. Now that there is an opportunity for Rotaract clubs to be part of Rotary International, I encourage clubs to think of moving positively in this direction. This will not just streamline membership of Rotaract but will also make Rotary-Rotaract relationship stronger. The Rotary-Rotaract partnership can range from mentoring, to leadership development, to working together on service projects and other activities. In the movie The Lion King, the wise monkey says to Timon, the meerkat: “Look beyond what you see.” It means look ahead into the future with optimism, which enables you to move ahead with confidence. On taking the first step on the moon Neil Armstrong said, “That’s one small step for a man, a giant leap for mankind.” By laying a strong foundation for our Rotaract clubs we can say, “That is a small step for one club, a step forward for Rotaract and a giant leap for Rotary.” That will be the perfect Rotary-Rotaract connection.

Bharat Pandya RI Director, 2019–21 6 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


R I

D I R E C T O R S

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, YOU are a LEADER.

Needed: Young Literacy Warriors My dear Rotaractors, Rotaractors are not just partners of Rotary today but also leaders of tomorrow. You are full of energy and enthusiasm to learn, act and achieve. You are the social actors who can bring revolutionary changes and improvement in our organisation. Your participation is necessary for us to achieve any kind of future goals for prosperity, progress, peace and safety. Similarly, for the development of our nation, Rotaractors have the most crucial role to play. If our nation is to achieve progress in the field of science, technology, finance, health and innovation, the zealous and sincere participation of you Rotaractors is required. I sincerely believe your energy, creativity, enthusiasm, determination and spirit should be channelised to achieve progress. Three key elements — education, employment and empowerment — contribute to the progress of a nation. A nation develops at a steady pace when the youth of the country is educated and their education is put to right use. A majority of youth in our country are uneducated. Most of them can’t read or write. Illiteracy is one of the biggest problems of our nation. The illiterate population holds back and hinders the nation’s progress. Rotaractors must make special efforts to take up literacy projects, partner with RILM and implement the TEACH programme. I want each Rotaract club to give special emphasis to child development — Asha Kiran — and adult education programmes. Each one, Teach one should be the new mantra for Rotaractors. Providing employment opportunities to the unemployed and underemployed youth of the nation is also very important. Lack of employment opportunities can lead to social unrest. Rotaract clubs should give special emphasis for creating opportunities for skill development and giving their voluntary time to help other youngsters gain better skills. Thirdly, it is vital to empower yourself to take charge of your lives. It is important to channelise your energy and intelligence and involve yourselves in community decision-making. For this you need to hone your leadership skills. I urge each Rotaractor to participate in RYLA and Youth Exchange programmes. The world is yours … go conquer it!

Kamal Sanghvi RI Director, 2019–21 OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 7


Providing relief to flood victims V Muthukumaran

M

assive, unprecedented floods wreaked havoc taking a heavy toll on the people of South Maharashtra, North Karnataka and Goa during the first week of August. The Rotaractors of RID 3170 formed the Rotaract Task Force (RTF) consisting of four teams and worked round-the-clock to provide relief to hundreds of flood victims, mostly in the rural belts. Recounting the flood horrors, DRR Rahul Shivaji Mohite, RID 3170, says, “more than 50 villages in Sangli rural areas including Dudhondi, went under water that was gushing from all sides. We were helpless and there was no one to help us that night. There were no government officials, no rescue mission, no boats or life jackets…

8 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

We were left in the lurch to face the wrath of the monsoon.” However, the Rotaractors organised themselves into rescue teams and spread out deep into rural areas to save people and livestock. In Dudhondi village and nearby areas, “we would have rescued around 150–170 people and more than 500 livestock. Unlike the situation in villages, the urban people in Kolhapur and Sangli were not very badly affected as they made good use of the city infrastructure there,” says Mohite. The four RTF teams consisting of not less than 30–40 Rotaractors each mounted an elaborate search and rescue mission across Kolhapur city, the surrounding rural areas, Sangli city and its rural belt along the Krishna river which was in spate. Other places such as Kumta and Belgaum in Uttar

Kannada and parts of Goa also reeled under heavy floods.

A well-calibrated response In the immediate aftermath of the deluge, the rescue missions had a field day in reaching out to remote villages where no government official had ever

So far, we have organised over 50 medical camps in which patients were given medicines and syrups. Critical patients were given treatment at hospitals. DRR Rahul Shivaji Mohite RID 3170


DRR Rahul Shivaji Mohite and his team at the rescue mission.

stepped in. “Our priority was to save lives in the first 2–3 days after the calamity. Then we provided medical supplies to the flood victims to protect them from waterborne diseases. Once the water receded, we took up a massive cleaning operation at government schools which lay in ruins and the entire classroom facilities were gone, washed away by floods,” he explains. Rotaractors from RACs Krishna Riverside, the home club of Mohite, Krishna Valley and Walchand College of Engineering, all from Sangli district, along with 11 other Rotaract clubs from Kolhapur, have embarked on a twin-task of relief distribution as well as collection and distribution of of household material to help the needy. Rtr Rutuja Kore from Purli village in Sangli district, had to shift his entire family to another place after OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 9


Above: A doctor examining a flood-hit child. Right: Rotaractors led by DRR Mohite (left) clean-up a flooded classroom. Below: Relief kits ready for distribution.

10 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


his house collapsed, but luckily no one was injured. “Despite personal loss, he worked with rare zest as part of the rescue mission,” prides Mohite. Four collection centres at Kundal, Sangli city, Shirol and Kolhapur city are taking care of logistics in distributing relief supplies including clothes, medicines and packed food to the flood-hit areas. So far, this district has organised over 50 medical camps in which patients were given health check-up and medicines to ward off diseases. “In Dudhondi, three medical camps were held benefitting over 2,000 villagers. Critical patients were given injections, medicines and follow-up consultation.”

Rotarians help too In bigger cities like Kolhapur, where a good number of Rotary clubs are

located, help came in the form of both cash and kind from Rotarians of these clubs to help the victims. All the relief work is being done through individual efforts of Rotaractors who collect material from houses, apart from donations by large-hearted people in Sangli district. RAC Jaysingpur in the Kolhapur rural area has set up a relief camp that could accommodate over 200 people. In Sangli rural belts along the Krishna River, four relief camps that could house anywhere between 500–2,000 people were set up by the government. “We coordinate with the government agencies and officials at the shelter camps to distribute relief material,” adds Mohite, as the relief work is still going on. Designed by N Krishnamurthy OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 11


An aerial view of the 73-ft-long national flag. 12 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


An exhibition of

patriotism Jaishree

A participant at the tiranga rally.

T

o commemorate India’s 73rd Independence Day, Rotaractors of RAC Bhusawal Tapti Valley, RID 3030, conducted a flag rally where a 73-feet-long Indian National Flag was carried around Bhusawal by 3,000 volunteers. The journey lasted for two hours and was covered live on television. “It was a huge public image exercise for Rotary and the response to the event was amazing. People showered their love throughout the course of the rally. Grocery stores and other offices contributed boxes of snacks, candies etc. And many people lent support of some kind for the rally,” says Club President Sumeet Yawalkar, adding that the Rotaractors worked for a week designing the huge tiranga. NGOs such as Aai, Sanskruti and Jai Ganesh Foundations participated in the rally. Students from Biyani, Tapti and Pundlik Barhate schools volunteered in carrying the flag across the town. The programme was attended by Col Sunil Kadam, Admiral Commandant, Bhusawal Military Station, former president of Bhusawal Municipal Council Umesh Nemade, and IPDG Rajiv Sharma. Greening initiative In another initiative, the Rotaractors made seed balls and distributed them to the delegates attending the Rotary District Assembly. The project was inaugurated by DG Rajendra Bhamre. About 500 seed balls were made and given to 100 delegates. “We thought that this process of aerial reforestation is much more effective than tree plantation and we are planning to do this on a larger scale by involving schoolchildren. We also found it a fun way of interacting with people,” says Yawalkar.

Rotaractors make seed balls.

Designed by Krishnapratheesh S OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 13


A Talk to inspire action Kiran Zehra

T

alk, talk and talk until it inspires to take action,” says DRR Akshay Deepak More of RID 3131, pointing out to the achievement of Mary Daniel Mendonca who was instrumental in building a genderneutral toilet at the University of Mumbai in 2014. More was addressing the Rotaractors at the Talk 2.0, an annual district Rotaract event that introduces to them people from various walks of life who have made a difference in the community through sheer perseverance and dedication. Mendonca was one such speaker who inspired the Rotaractors at the

14 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

event. His powerful statement first made at the UN and several other platforms thereafter won him standing ovations. Just because you are straight, that doesn’t make me crooked,” he said, representing India at the UN, probably the first Indian intersex to do so. Here at the Talk event, he narrated how he got a toilet exclusively built for transgenders at the University. Although bullied and abused several times in school, he joined the University of Mumbai as a BSW student, with a singular focus on his personal growth. While his professors wondered how he would tackle

the daily challenges of college life, Mendonca was faced with the question: “Which toilet to use? I would be laughed at every time I went to the washroom. It made me angry, I decided to do something about it.” He wrote a letter to the management demanding a separate washroom. “The application was accepted and the administration built a separate washroom for the LGBTQI community,” said Mendonca. Another speaker to inspire the Rotaractors was Naval Dayal, former Head of Capex and Opex PAN India of Patanjali Ayurveda Ltd. He addressed


Rotaractors at the fellowship event Rotakeshi.

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 15


Mary Daniel Mendonca

Above: Rotaractors distribute relief material. The Police Mitra initiative.

16 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


the Rotaractors on the most important skills an entrepreneur should possess. Anuradha Prabhudesai, Founder of Lakshya Foundation, that works towards bridging the gap between the Armed forces and the civilians narrated few heartwarming stories of the soldiers serving the Indian Army. “She tapped the patriotism in us as she walked us through the hardships suffered by our soldiers,” says DRR More. Projects and fellowship The Rotaractors of D 3131 also engage in a “special community service project every year where we join hands with the local police to help them manage traffic at several locations during Ganesh Chaturthi. We also help them to regularise heavy crowds and reunite missing children with their parents. We help the elderly citizens and women pass through the procession safely,” says More. After the procession, the Rotaractors engage in cleaning the litter strewn along the route. This year the Rotaractors were awarded a certificate of appreciation by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Rotaract District 3131, along with a few Rotary clubs, provided monetary aid and relief material to the flood victims of Kolhapur and Sangli. “We raised `40,000 for this cause from our members, friends and families. This amount was utilised to buy things like medicines, candles, face masks, mosquito repellents and food packages. We also collected a large quantity of relief material to be donated to the victims and contributed `6,000 to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund. Nearly 200 families benefited from this project,” says the DRR proudly. Rotakeshi, a fellowship event hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Pune Kalyaninagar, Alumini, Mitcon and Pune Ganeshkhind gave the Rotaractors a much-needed break. Around 300 Rotaractors participated in the fun-filled event and it helped them to get closer to Rotarians and draw inspiration to join Rotary after their Rotaract service. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 17


Training workshops energise

Rotaractors V Muthukumaran

18 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


I

t is a big challenge for DRR Ganesh Bhat, RID 3181, to convince and coax all the 1,200 Rotaractors from 58 Rotaract clubs to register themselves at My Rotary, the RI website for members to upload projects and network across the world. At present, only 180 Rotaractors have registered, but “most of them including club presidents and secretaries don’t know the procedure and are

lukewarm to this idea,” says Ganesh Bhat. However, a series of workshops and seminars are being lined up from July to motivate Rotaractors, impress upon them the need to register their names in RI website and bind them as a united force through district events. For the first time, the district Rotaract organised a two-day PETS/ SETS and a training session for district officials (DOTS) in July. Jimry Henry, past president of RSAMDIO,

its Director PDRR Naveen Senna (3190), IPDRR Selvakumar (3201) and PDRR Vijay Sundar (3202) were the resource persons. While 50 club presidents and secretaries took part in the PETS event, DOTS had 23 district officials from various clubs of RID 3181. All the four Rotaract zones in the district hosted the Zonal Office-bearers Orientation and Training Seminar (ZOOTS) and the events were held

Saplings are being given to school students as part of Save Nature campaign.

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 19


Wall makeover during Swachh Bharat campaign.

RSAMDIO past president Jimry Henry at a DOTS-PETS-SETS workshop.

20 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


Flood relief material ready for distribution.

at Mysuru, Hunsur, Mangaluru and Puttur. The sessions were chaired by DRCC Yatish Baikambady.“Rotarians gave an overview of Rotary’s global reach and projects,” says Bhat.

Swachh Bharat activities Rotaract teams have taken up Swachh Bharat campaigns reaching out to schools, staging rallies and painting walls in public space. “While 2–3 clubs are doing wall painting, some clubs are joining hands with local groups and volunteers to clean-up residential areas, streets and congested lanes on a regular basis.” So far, the awareness campaign was held at two government schools,

and more schools and colleges will be covered by the end of this Rotary year, he says.

Flood relief Around `80,000 worth relief material including grocery items, ready-to-eat foods, water bottles and blankets were despatched in private vans and government buses to a shelter camp in Uttar Kannada from where they were distributed to other flood-affected families. The district is planning an All-India Rotaract Athletic Meet in March 2020, as part of the World Rotaract Week. It is an annual event designed to create bonding among Rotaractors across the country. “We

are looking forward to host at least 500 athletes, as against 250 last year,” says Bhat who is a regional manager, Reliance Geo, in Mangaluru. A zonal cultural programme, slated for October, will enable Rotaractors to showcase their diverse talent in fine arts and stage events. In the near future, Bhat is aiming to increase district membership to 2,000 and registered members to at least 1,000 by June-end. “DG Joseph Mathew is helping us to improve the quality of our projects through effective community outreach. Funds are also not a constraint as our parent Rotary clubs are supporting us with enough resources,” says Bhat. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 21


A Rotaract Conference

at the Sun city Team Rotaract News

T

he annual Rotaract South Asia Summit was organised with great pomp and show in Puri, Odisha, from Sept 21 to 23. This mega event of the South East Asia Rotaract Information Centre (SEARIC) was hosted by Rotaract District 3262, under the Chairmanship of PDRR

Puspendu Jena, along with Co-chair PDRR Rtn/Rtr Smrutiranjan Biswal and host DRR Chinmoy Sourav Gayan. DG Debasish Mishra was the chief guest at the inaugural ceremony and the valedictory event was chaired by DGE Saumya Ranjan Mishra in the presence of District

Host DRR Chinmoy Sourav Gayan (centre) with DG Debasish Mishra (standing seventh from L) and other delegates at the Summit. 22 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

Rotaract Committee Chair Lelin Kumar Pradhan, PDRR Asutosh Rath and SEARIC MDIO President Srijita Neogy. The first day of the summit began with several business sessions. Sessions like ‘Team Building’ and ‘Ice-breaking’ were taken by PDRR Rath who spoke on


From L: Rtn Ashutosh Rath, PDRR Smruti Ranjan Biswal, DG Debasish Mishra, IPDRR Prajakta Deboroy, Summit Chair Puspendu Jena, DRCC Lenin Pradhan, SEARIC MDIO President Srijita Neogy and RID 3262 DRR Chinmoy Sourav Gayan.

team-building; PDRR Srijita spoke on leadership and PR skills; and a session on membership development was presented by PDRR Debasish Sarkar. The evening was vibrant with a DJ Night and Masquerade Party. Rotaractor-turned-Rotarian Pravudutta Subudhi extolled the wonders of Rotary after a life in

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 23


Rotaract. “A whole new, exciting world awaits you in Rotary, and particularly, if you have served as a Rotaractor, the pleasures are many. You have been initiated to the act of serving humanity as a Rotaractor and now as a Rotarian you will realise that your vision broadens for a larger community. Rotary amazes me every day,” he said. Rtn Jayashree Mohanty gave a presentation on entrepreneurship. Rota Quiz, beach activity, Mr and Ms Summit, and other

cultural programmes filled the entertainment quotient for the delegates who had come from across the country and abroad. The next Rotaract conference is scheduled to be hosted at Pokhara, Nepal, in Sep 2020. As for the Rotarians and Rotaractors of RID 3262, the event has been a huge success, after the Rotasia Kalinga that was hosted here in 2015. „ 24 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


Nepal hosts Model UN Conference Team Rotaract News

F

or the first time, Nepal hosted the Rotaract Global Model United Nations in Pokhara at which over 60 delegates from India, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Lebanon, besides the host RID 3292, took part in a range of deliberations spread over four days (Aug 21–24) of brainstorming sessions covering policy research, debates and panel discussions related to the Rotary world. Gandaki province Minister Ram Saran Basnet inaugurated the GMUN sessions in the presence of DG Kiran Lal Shrestha, DGE Rajib Pokhrel, UN’s Centre for International Peace and Disarmament Country Director Yuriy Kryvynos, UNICEF former Country Representative Bijaya Rajbhandari (North Korea) and other RID 3292 leaders. In his keynote address, Pokhrel highlighted the global activities of Rotary and its contributions towards community development and peace. DG Shrestha extended his wishes for a ‘memorable conference’ and motivated Rotaractors to continue with their projects and community outreach. UN officials Rajbhandari and Kryvynos spoke on topics Universal Child Health and its Role in Achieving the SDGs and Threats to International

Nepal Minister Ram Saran Basnet honours a foreign delegate in the presence of DG Kiran Lal Shrestha.

Peace and Security Caused by Acts of Cyberterrorism respectively. Prof Binayak Bhadra delivered a speech on Building Resilience to Climate Change in Rural Areas. DRR Sneha Shakya welcomed the delegates, Rotary leaders and the UN officials to the conclave. Awards galore

PDGs Ratnaman Shakya and Yogendra Man Pradhan addressed the delegates at the valedictory session. The UN Economic and Financial Committee gave awards to Rtrs Aadarsha Sainju, Bandana Rai and Bamdev Bhandari under the Best Delegate, Best

Strategist and Best Position Paper categories respectively. Likewise, Shashwat Gaire (Best Delegate), Waiswa Ali (Best Strategist) from Uganda and Lumanti Manandhar (Best Position Paper) were chosen by the UN Human Rights Committee. Urusha Pokharel won the Best Delegate Award; Adam Nsaif from Lebanon got it for the Best Position Paper; and Neeraj Thapa was the Best Strategist at the UN Security Council. While UNDP chose Aavash Mishra as the Best Delegate, followed by Rashik Bhandari as Best Position Paper and Janhavi Amatya as Best Strategist at the UN conference.„

Rotaract delegates at the Global Model United Nations Conference in Nepal.

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 25


Swachh Bharat Abhiyan team from RAC Aryan College, Ajmer.

A workshop to pep up

RID 3053 Rotaractors V Muthukumaran

I

n a first-of-itskind initiative in his district, DRR Kaushal Sahu, RID 3053, will be holding a training workshop for all the 750 Rotaractors in Madhya

26 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

Pradesh and Rajasthan in November. “There will be two training sessions — one in Gwalior and the other in either Bikaner or Alwar on two Sundays

in November — for Rotaractors. DG Harish Gaur will inaugurate the sessions which will also have delegates from Rotaract South Asia Multi District

Information Organisation and South East Asia Rotaract Information Centre,” says Sahu. The training workshops aim to inform Rotaractors through seminars


and discussions on how they can impact communities through projects and outreach activities. “We will also have motivational talks on team-building, problem solving, holding fundraising events and fellowship.” Only 13 Rotaract clubs out of 22 registered clubs are active in this district and Sahu has devised a novel project called Avasar (opportunity) which involves each club adopting a government school, mostly in the rural areas, and Rotaractors holding a range of extracurricular activities to transform the mindset of children. “We will shape up the personal and professional lives of rural children with each club targeting at least one rural school. Three clubs have already taken up Avasar project which is slated for launch in November. We are in talks with around three companies and 6–7 influential persons,

A cycle rally by members of RAC Gwalior Regal.

My aim is to make Aahar a district project so that all clubs take up food distribution for needy students. DRR Kaushal Sahu, RID 3053

including few Rotarians, for funding the project in a systematic manner,” explains the DRR. Dandiya Raas

A gala Dandiya Raas to mark Navratri was organised by RAC Bikaner for the third consecutive year as a fundraiser and also to shore up the public image of Rotary in the city. “Around 800 participants including social celebrities and youth took part to make it a grand success. Seventy Rotaractors made arrangements for the gala evening.” World Heart Day was observed with a cycle rally by RAC Gwalior Regal as 60–70 Rotaractors spread the message of healthy living along the way. “The rally also saw participation

of few Rotarians who encouraged us throughout,” recalls Sahu. A water cooler (`40,000) was installed by RAC Bikaner Marudhara at a government high school in Gopeswar Colony which would benefit 700 students. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is being taken up in rural areas by RAC Aryan College, Ajmer, with a team of 25 Rotaractors fanning out to engage villagers on the need to keep their surroundings clean and hygienic. Aahar Project

Providing food packets to government schools under Aahar Project is one of the pet initiatives of Kaushal Sahu when he was the charter president of RAC Gwalior Youth last year. “Each month, we select a school to distribute food supplied to us by Masala Darbar, a restaurant in Gwalior. We also receive donations from Rotarians and public to run this monthly project. My aim is to make Aahar a district project so that all clubs take up food distribution for needy students in their local schools,” says Sahu. He has donated $350 to TRF, and is eligible for the PHF Award.„ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 27


Of bright eyes and healthy smiles Kiran Zehra

W

hen the Rotaract Club of Jagdalpur, RI District 3261, introduced the dental and eye check-up van in the suburbs of Jagdalpur, little Subhash refused to get inside the van. Club President Unnati Mishra recalls how they had to convince him. “He would continuously say ‘Mujhe injection nahi chahiye.’ It took a lot of convincing and cajoling to make him sit on the dental chair.” But today Subhash comes running with a glee at the sight of the van. It has become a

routine for him and other children in the locality to have their eyesight and teeth checked at regular intervals. Dental care is overlooked in our healthcare system. We don’t much care for oral health, she says. “Dental health education and proper oral care beginning at a young age are the goals of this dental and eye care van initiative,” says Dr Manoj Thomas, a dentist and Rotaract Chairman, RID 3261. In August 2018, with the help of RC Jagdalpur

and many individual donors, the club bought a second-hand bus and modified it to set up a mini-clinic inside it. Details of government schools in the locality were collected from the municipal office. In less than a year this mobile clinic has examined and treated over 2,000 children for dental defects alone and close to 500 children for eye problems. Dr Thomas is the brain behind this venture which the club has christened Project Muskaan. “Availability of

funds is our major worry now. We have donors who are willing to do a lot. But when it comes to improvising the van and upgrading equipment, we will have to seek help from outside. We are looking for partners and sponsors to expand our initiative,” says Unnati. Hundreds of children from low-income families in and around Jagdalpur are receiving free dental and eye examinations that include free spectacles, dental procedures, oral health education and limited emergency

Rotaractors along with the mobile and dental eyecare clinic. 28 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


An eye examination underway.

treatment, all thanks to this community service of the Rotaractors. Post treatment, children and parents are given oral hygiene instructions on the habits that their children should practice at home. They are also provided with dental hygiene kits. Some children are unable to see the blackboard from the backrows of classrooms. They wouldn’t realise that they are shortsighted and hence the parents are also ignorant about it. In some cases, even if the child complains about the inability to see far off things, the parents do not take it seriously. As long as the child is able to see they think she is

Dental check-up for a child.

fine. “Our periodical visits and screening address such children and people suffering from cataract. With free eye check-up and distribution of spectacles, this problem is resolved,” explains Unnati adding that most of the parents don’t even know that their children have vision problems till they go back home with a pair of spectacles. The club aims to see a generation of children who have access to regular dental and eye care. “Annual preventive care, education of good oral hygiene practices, and regular eye check-up will change millions of lives for the better,” says Dr Thomas.„ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 29


Career workshops held

in Kolkata V Muthukumaran

Children at the Kashishwari Primary School with educational kits.

E

ver since inception four years ago, the Rotaract Club of Central Calcutta, RID 3291, is taking extra care in identifying potential Rotaractors who are given a systematic training before their induction as club members. All its 55 members are “full-time, active registered Rotaractors coming from varied professional backgrounds, except for a few college students,” says Rtr Rajarshi Adhikary, an advocate at the Kolkata High Court. At present, the club is training 46 prospective members to become active Rotaractors. Simply put, they first identify the avenues the candidates are interested in and then allot specific responsibilities to them in 30 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

those fields “so they can involve themselves with passion right from the start.” Professional (or career) development is one of the twin focus areas of the club, the other one being community projects. The three-year-old dialectics workshop, a one-day event conducted every month, is a resounding success with at least 50 youth in ages 19 to 25 getting a crash course on diverse fields such as personality grooming, public speaking and designing curriculum vitae for job placement. “We charge a nominal fee of `10 for a participant and over the years, the public feedback to this programme has reached new highs, motivating us to do it

better each time,” says Adhikary. Guest speakers from industries, academics and motivational experts are invited to guide the sessions and share their experiences. Career Café Towards the fag end of the dialectics sessions, an innovative platform — Career Café — offers job aspirants an unconventional means to get employment. “One need not be a graduate to get placed in high-income jobs through Career Café. We find openings in emerging avenues like radio jockeys, cosplayers, magic shows, guest roles in stage plays and charity institutions and find suitable


Rotaractors at a Career Café workshop.

candidates for these job vacancies,” says Amartya Basu, President, RAC Central Calcutta. Held on weekends at the Commune, an iconic venue in Kolkata, the workshop is a signature event for Rotaractors to share notes with social celebrities and city bigwigs. School revamp The club has adopted four government schools in New Alipore, Jhargram village in Birbhum district and Ajaypur village near Shanti Niketan where a host of sanitation and classroom facilities are being provided.

During the first phase, gendersegregated toilet blocks were constructed at the Kashishwari Primary School in New Alipore, besides installing an RO filter to provide clean drinking water to students. In the next phase, a full-fledged library having catalogues for 1,000 books was set up at this school. “We have plans to install a similar library at the primary school in Jhargram,” says Urvashi Mukherjee, IPP. A water pump was donated to Jhargram school to store fresh water in the sump and provide drinking water for students. Following a good response for the vocational course

Club Trainer Rajarshi Adhikary felicitates IPP Urvashi Mukherjee.

One need not be a graduate to get placed in high-income jobs through Career Café. We find openings in emerging avenues like radio jockeys, cosplayers, magic shows, guest roles in stage plays and charity institutions.

Amartya Basu RAC Central Calcutta

they have started recently in the New Alipore school, “we intend to replicate it in the other three schools,” she says. However, the Rotaractors could not take up revamp projects at the two schools — a primary and high school — at Ajaypur village as the land is owned by a private club. “We are exploring the possibility of discussing with the land owner to develop sanitation and other facilities in the two schools.” They have also organised two health camps at the Ajaypur schools for the children and villagers. Through a mix of crowdfunding and fundraiser events held throughout the year, the Rotaractors are able to take up community projects as well as signature activities like dialectics workshop. “We also rope in corporate sponsors and get donations from Rotarians that help us to sustain a number of ongoing projects,” says Adhikary. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 31


Healthcare for communities Jaishree

A patient being examined at the medical camp.

O

ver 10,000 people in and around Prayagraj are happy to have received medical aid, and their ailments are being addressed, thanks to this dedicated group of 28 Rotaractors of RAC Motilal Nehru Medical College, RID 3120. Forty medical camps were organised on a single day, 34 of which were held in the suburbs of the city. Another medical camp organised at the Naini

32 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

Central Jail addressed the illnesses of 1,000 inmates. These Rotaractors are medical students and the club was sponsored by RC Allahabad Elite in 2018. “We formed a team with 76 doctors from various hospitals and clinics for the camps. They brought with them medicines and vitamin supplements which were distributed to the needy,� says Club President Suryabhan Kushwaha. He

is an intern aiming to practise neuro surgery. The Rotaractors also pursue other activities that include a visit to an old-age home where besides entertaining the 15 elderly people residing there, they provided medical help and vitamin supplements for them. They lent a hand for the flood victims in the town and distributed food and preventive medicines. They conduct


Above: A busy registration counter at one of the medical camps. Left: Rotaractors on a green mission in and around Prayagraj.

regular blood donation camps and awareness campaigns to safeguard the public against malaria and dengue, distribute sanitary napkins to girls in the rural surroundings and visit schools in the locality to sensitise children on the importance of handwash and hygiene. The club has provided three television sets for a destitute home and are planning to provide bicycles and sewing machines for women attending a vocational training centre in the city. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 33


Trichy Rotaractors host a science expo V Muthukumaran

M

ore than 150 students from 25 schools in and around Tiruchirappalli (Trichy), 300 km south of Chennai, exhibited their diverse talent at the Science Expo organised after a gap of a few years by RAC Anna University, RID 3000. “It was a grand show with students displaying their projects and demonstrations. They participated in

34 ROTARACT NEWS WS OCTOBER OCT 2019

oratorical contests, quiz and other group and solo competitions with much enthusiasm,” says Club President R Navamadhan. During the inauguration, DG-elect A L Chokkalingam urged Rotaract clubs in the district to hold programmes that will provide opportunity for the young to showcase their extracurricular skills. He also spoke about Rotaract clubs

and their benefits to college students. “There were many project exhibits having futuristic designs and concepts which I hope will have a great impact in our daily life,” says Navamadhan. RC Tiruchirapalli Fort President V Govindaraj and its member P Nagarajan outlined the importance of Science Expos and how the students can use this platform to hone

their skills. IPDRR R Lokesh Kumar was also present at the event. Faculty Advisor P Mani, also a PDRR, as the quiz master presided over an interesting contest which turned the spotlight on the knowledge quotient of the youngsters. Anna University Dean Rtn T Senthil Kumar was the chief guest at the valedictory session in which Rotarians


We are also a planning a mock interview session to help final year college students prepare for their career after they finish their studies. R Navamadhan President, RAC Anna University

RAC Anna University President R Navamadhan (centre) along with faculty and students at the Science Expo.

F Felix Raj, K Mohanraj and J Rajini Kanth were also present. Two specific campaigns — child abuse awareness

and leadership programmes — will be rolled out in schools with the Rotaractors inviting field experts to give guest lectures to students. “We are

also planning a mock interview session to help final year college students prepare for their future careers after college.” A 3-day RYLA, that gave out technical youth leadership awards, was organised for around 60 students of University College of Engineering (BIT Campus) in September. “This was an exclusive programme for engineering students who were given a crash course in leadership skills through inspirational sessions,” explains Navamadhan.

Students display their science projects.

Water conservation rally

In December, a 10-member Rotaract team will be taking out a cycle rally from Trichy to Karur and back, a distance of nearly 150 km, to create awareness on water conservation among the public. “We will distribute pamphlets on the way and instill a sense of awareness against wastage of water.” With 70 members in all, the seven-yearold club gets loads of encouragement and mentorship from its parent RC Tiruchirapalli Fort. “Apart from needbased funding by our parent Rotary, we get generous donations from Rotarians from other clubs too. To cite an example, we got timely help from members of RCs Pudukkottai and Diamond City Pride in hosting the Science Expo,” says Navamadhan.„

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 35


Overcoming

suicide blues Jaishree

S

ome people get so depressed as a result of their mental illness or life circumstances that they consider suicide as an option to escape from their emotional pain. They don’t really want to die; they just don’t know how to cope with or eliminate the pain they are going through, says Rtr Dhruv Parikh, President of RAC ISME, RID 3141, expressing concern over the growing suicide rate in India.

The Rotaractors commemorated World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept 10) with anti-suicide campaigns. ‘Working together to prevent suicide’ is their club’s theme for the year. They visited schools, colleges and offices and conducted events such as slogan writing contests where the participants had to write positive messages to overcome suicidal inclinations, and essay competitions where they had to write

Rotaractors at the Chai with Khaki project.

Self-development workshop in progress.

36 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


words of encouragement to deter people with suicidal thoughts. The charts and essays were displayed on the campuses. Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. You’re alive for a reason, so don’t ever give up. When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long. If you kill yourself, you are also going to kill the people who love you. Pleasure and pain are two aspects of life. They are inseparable. If you are experiencing the painful side of the coin right now, you will inevitably experience the pleasurable side in the future — the tide will turn. This is a gist of the talks the Rotaractors delivered in few of the campuses. “By the end of the programme, we felt so much satisfied that we were able to address a traumatic yet lessrecognised issue plaguing all parts of the world,” says Parikh. The club, along with RACs S K Somaiya and Bombay Powai, organised a session on self-development at the ISME campus in Mumbai. OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 37


An anti-suicide message being written in office.

Motivational speeches were delivered by Sharmee Divan, Pavan Badlani and Raj Shamani on self-love, taking risks, facing failures and the art of giving. “It was the kind of session that helped the students relate to personal challenges and inspired them to think big,” he says. 38 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

Friends of Police It was a different, yet special kind of Friendship Day for the Rotaractors as they made friends with police personnel. “The interaction really helped us understand their ordeal and appreciate the work done by these unsung

heroes,” said a club member. The Rotaractors had named it aptly — Chai with Khakhi, as they visited police stations to tie Friendship Bands on the police, and shared a cup of tea, biscuits, poha and thepla with them on a wet, rainy day. “We visited the Church Gate Police Station at 6.30 am and the timing of our breakfast was just perfect,” she says. The previous night’s downpour prevented the police on the nightshift duty from going back home. “They were tired and our breakfast feast was well-received.” The Rotaractors struck a conversation with them and got to understand their job and lifestyle. “Most of them said that they joined the police force as there was no other option. But then their outlook changed after getting into the role, as one of them said, ‘I transform into a more responsible person after donning my uniform.’ But then the odd working hours, less family time and no personal space were some of the common complaints,” she says. For eg, API Jitendra Kumar who suffered injuries while on duty, had to spend `40,000 for medical treatment. Though he was promised reimbursement, he has not got it yet. “They have to pay a price for helping people in need by sacrificing part of their salary which they could use for their family. Duty is worship for them but their expectations are not met due to lack of support.” The Rotaract team stopped at every traffic police booth on the streets and surprised the policemen with friendship bands, cookies and little gifts. “We planned to cover only South Mumbai but the positivity and zeal got us till Goregaon. Each police station greeted us with lot of warmth and love. They clicked pictures and shared it everywhere to spread the work we were doing. They were delighted with this initiative as they believed the public has no respect for police and no one would ever do such a thing for them.” „


Schoolchildren display notebooks and stationery given by Rotaractors.

Educational kits for a remote government school Team Rotaract News

A

ll 180 students at the remote Bodwad Government School, 100 km from Jalgaon in northern Maharashtra, received educational kits from the Rotaract Club of

Jalgaon West, RI District 3030, under its Mission Shiksha initiative. Rotaractors researched the database of village schools that needed basic assistance. “No one has ever visited

Notebooks being distributed.

this school to spend time with students or offer any kind of help. The school has six partially-handicapped students and 35 students who have either lost their mother or father,” says the Club President Amrut Mittal. When they came to know about the stationery needs, “we decided to go to the school and do as much as we can with the limited funds available,” says Mittal. The kit included notebooks, pens, eco-friendly pencils, school bags and slates. “We were warmly welcomed at the school and overwhelmed by the kindness of teachers,” he adds. Rotaractors spent the day with the children and taught them easy ways to remember multiplication tables. A team of eight Rotaractors visited the school. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 39


Island-hopping in the

monsoon-soaked

Andamans Kiran Zehra

I

n the aftermath of a rain, you might catch a mesmerising rainbow! But make no pre-bookings — hotels, ferry rides or watersports. Because at Andamans, everything depends on the rains. There could be last-minute cancellations,” my husband and I were warned by a friend while we were planning a romantic holiday to the charming archipelago comprising 572 islands located amidst the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. So, with nothing booked and only our air tickets in hand, we landed at the Port Blair

airport. After visiting five islands, we discovered that there’s a lot you can do even as the monsoon weaves its magic, leaving the land grey and wet. Day one, we checked into a modest hotel and took the 9 am ferry the next morning to Havelock Island. The ride isn’t a pleasant affair. Many tourists get seasick on this ride. Don’t boast about riding on the luxury cruise that costs thrice the price of a government ferry! On this boat, you will have to put up with the ordeal of listening to miserable songs being played on its TV screen. Havelock Disembarking at the crowded jetty at Havelock, we befriended a local autorickshaw driver who helped us check into a nearby hotel — the cozy Green Valley Resort, with cottages set between coconut palms, beside a stony beach, and with hammocks hanging under the tropical trees. The cottage cost `1,700 a night, which in balmy weather would have cost `4,500 a night. We soon learned to savour the blessings of the monsoon — the crowd had thinned, the scents and colours of the flowers and palm trees looked and felt more vivid; the rain only makes Andamans more charming and a lot cheaper — almost by 50 per cent.

40 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019


Restaurants are lined up closely, giving you an opportunity to explore different outlets for your meals. We had to dine at our resort just once, thanks to a downpour that lasted the entire night and a good part of the next morning as well. By noon, we were happy to get out, clad in raincoats, on a hired scooter (`350 a day) to explore the island. We reached the spectacular Radhanagar beach on the east side of the island. The ride through the towering trees was spectacular. To warm yourself up after a cold and wet day on the beach, you could head straight to Something Different, a beachside resto-bar. Sip on some pina colada in a pineapple cup and do try the steamed fish with scallions and ginger. It’s a splurge but totally worth it. If you decided to step out and watch the serene beach and corals from the restaurant walkway, you will be surreptitiously charged `100 extra for ‘reef watching’! For our first scuba dive, we visited the sport centres close by to get a good idea of what was on during such a lean season. We visited three centres and settled for `2,000 a person (otherwise costs `4500), all-inclusive of a scuba training, 10-metre dive for half-an-hour and pictures and videos of us underwater. After a safety briefing, we were at a depth of about 8.5 meters in the sea! Seeing small red scorpionfish, yellowtail snappers, colourful parrotfishes, cute little yellow box fish feeding on

algae and reddish-orange coloured worms in the shape of cypress trees makes this a must-do in the Andamans. Neil To head to Neil Islands, use the government ferry. For the locals, a ticket costs `62, but tourists have to pay `550. You can opt to sit on the deck for

The yoga dog. Above: The ruins of Ross Island.

the entire ride and if you are seasick, a crew member will fetch you a lemon and some salt to calm your senses. Located 37 km south of Port Blair, Neil is known as the vegetable bowl of the Andaman Islands. There are no fancy restaurants in Neil Island — shacks by the beaches with plastic tables and chairs serve freshly made food in the open-air setting. A decent fish thali starts at only `140 and the mustard okra is outstanding! Remember you get the most delicious rasgullas in the Andamans only in Neil and make sure to buy them. Unfortunately thanks to the grey monsoon sky at Neil, we did not get to watch the sun dipping down at the gorgeous Lakshmanpur beach. Neither did we catch it rise at the Sitapur beach. But everything is beautiful and laidback in the rains… unexplored coral reefs, the deserted white sand beaches, and tropical OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 41


The woman selling fish by the jetty.

Reserve Forest, where you can’t stop your vehicle to take pictures or get out of it. On the other end of the Jarwah Reserve Forest is the Middle Strait jetty. A ferry takes you to the other side of the strait in about 15 minutes and small boats transport you to the mangroves of Baratang, from where a tough 1.8-km-trek leads you to the

Block No.6 at the Cellular Jail, Andamans. Below: A decent seafood meal.

woodlands! So calm that you may catch dogs and squirrels performing yoga! Although the local guides will harass you to hire them, take a walk alone to the Natural Coral Bridge at Beach No 2 in Neil. The bridge is a beauty and the shallow stony beach around it boasts of amazing marine life. You will get to see hundreds of starfish and sea cucumbers alongside green shore crabs. Ruins of Ross Island A 15 minute-boat ride from Port Blair will bring you to Ross Island, where you can spend three hours walking through the eerie ruins of the old British settlement almost completely swallowed by strangler fig trees, peepal trees and green moss. The rains add to the gloom and if you want to see the creepiest ruins, head to the cemetery that dates back to 1857 on 42 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

the western side of the island. A small detour off the main path will cut you from the crowds, and a bridge across the sea will lead you to a charming old lighthouse beside the statue of the Lone Sailor. It was the Ross Island that took the massive brunt of the 2004 tsunami and saved the city of Port Blair from major destruction. Unless you want to do an expensive scuba dive or snorkelling, going to the North Bay Island will be an utter waste of time and since Mount Harriet, during the monsoons, is infested with leeches, we decided to give it a miss. Baratang The most exciting part of the trip was the drive to the Baratang Islands, 150 km from Port Blair. After reaching Jirkatang Post, a convoy guides you through a 49-km-stretch to the Jarwah


natural limestone caves. The natural formations are breathtaking and your guide-cum-boat driver will show you formations ranging from mythical characters to giant crocodiles and human faces. We spotted two Jarwah men walking in the rain under a huge green leaf on our way back through the reserve forest.

It was the Ross Island that took the massive brunt of the 2004 tsunami and saved the city of Port Blair from major destruction.

Sunday market scene.

Port Blair The city tour includes a visit to the Cellular Jail that stands as a dark reminiscence of British rule in the Indian subcontinent. Solitary confinement of freedom fighters in individual cells earned the jail its name, ‘Cellular’. You might be scared out of your wits to find movement inside a locked dingy cell, but hey! it’s just an over-enthusiastic tourist trying to go back in time to see what it was like to remain in solitary confinement. After visiting a few museums, you can head to Corbyn’s Cove beach to spend the rest of the evening. This is one of the most sought-after beaches in Port Blair, having several Japanese World War-II bunkers. Wandoor and Chidiya Tapu are must-visit beaches, 30 and 35-km from Port Blair respectively. On the way to Wandoor, our auto driver told us stories of survival from the 2004 tsunami, as we passed by fields and homes still flooded with seawater from the tsunami that ravaged this region 15 years ago. “The sticky soil wouldn’t let it drain away from the

land and from our memories. Close to 10,000 lives were lost then,” he said grimly. We wandered through the markets of Port Blair, almost every evening of our stay. The market is dominated by women vendors brimming with the fresh catch of the day. The vegetables and fruits look fresh and sparkling in the rain. After a heavy rainfall it feels marshy, sticky and crowded — a sea of bargaining humans, dead fish and hungry mongrels. By the end of the trip we knew exactly where the ATMs were, had named the mongrels loitering around our homestay, got acquainted with the woman selling fish by the jetty, the timing of the Somu’s pani puri stall, and the location of Bhuvaneshwari akka’s lemon soda shop. It became a routine to drink tender coconut water, eat bananas and tuck in fried fish at every other restaurant. This unfamiliar land suddenly began to feel like home, making you wish you could stay a little longer. Pictures by Kiran Zehra OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 43


Menstrual hygiene seminar for Amritsar girls V Muthukumaran

Rtr Deepika Sharma with school girls.

R

otaract Club of Austin Institutes, RID 3070, organised a menstrual hygiene seminar for students of the Government Girls Senior

Secondary School at Bal Sarai village in Amritsar. “The idea was to end social embarrassment over menstruation. Girls normally hesitate to discuss freely about

ress.

n in prog

sessio al literacy

A digit 44 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

pain, cramps and infections with their parents, teachers and friends. Hence, most of them are ignorant about the entire process. We clarified their queries at an interactive session, at the end of which they became comfortable with us,� said IPP Deepika Sharma. The Rotaractors distributed 1,000 sanitary pads during the session. Project Chair Gurleen Kaur coordinated with the School Principal Narinder Kaur and faculty for the successful conduct of the seminar. Club Trainer Ajit Paul Singh Naphrey, who is also the Director of Austin Institute of Airhostess Training, Jalandhar, gave valuable tips and suggestions on selfdefence and how to guard against stalkers. About 70 girl students, along with 30 faculty members, benefitted from the MH seminar.


Rotaractors at a photo-op after cleaning the park.

In another initiative, the club distributed 500 sanitary pads, sponsored by IPDG Barjesh Singhal, to needy women at Gandhi Nagar in Jalandhar. As many as 35 Rotaractors were involved in the menstrual hygiene project. Naphrey, a member of RC Jalandhar Civil Lines, has been the mentor for the Rotaractors ever since

it was formed in Oct 2018. Their flagship project Meri Pehchaan (My identity) imparts functional literacy for women in rural areas near Jalandhar to make them self-reliant and earn a decent livelihood. “We will continue our focus on women’s development as it is close to our heart,” said Ranjit Singh Naphrey, President, RAC Austin

Institutes, and son of Ajit Naphrey. Digital literacy

A newly-launched district project, Digital Literacy, is being taken up at government schools in Jalandhar with students being taught the importance of digital privacy through proper use of their smart phones and

A flood relief pack being given to a victim.

the need to ensure internet security. This year, the club has adopted a park and the members are working on beautifying it, repairing the play equipment, painting the benches and planting saplings. “We will be organising yoga sessions for residents in the locality. We have also applied to the Municipal Corporation for taking up such aesthetic work in more parks in Jalandhar,” said Naphrey. The Rotaractors are also providing relief to the flood-affected people in villages. “We are supplying clean drinking water, ready-to-eat foods and other essentials to families who had lost their homes in the recent floods. Efforts are on to collect dress material and other utility items for distribution to flood victims,” he said. „

OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 45


Rotaractors create

herbal garden in Nagpur Team Rotaract News

T

he Rotaractors of RAC B P National Institute of Social Work in Nagpur, RID 3030, are proud and excited about the herbal garden they have created in their college campus. The garden is home to 100 varieties of medicinal plants, says the Project Coordinator Vivek Shahare, who mooted the idea among club members. They worked on the garden since October under

the guidance of the Club Coordinator Dr Anant Barde. “Today we are so happy to see the 300-sqft garden vibrant with butterflies flitting over little flowers. Besides, we have planted neem, aloe vera, tulsi and adulsa among others,” says Shahare. The saplings were gifted by teachers and students of the college. Rtn Sandeep Deshpande, President, RC Nagpur Downtown,

Above: Rotaractors at the garden. Left: A Rotaractor tends to a plant in the herbal garden.

inaugurated the garden in the presence of Rtn Abhijit Deshpande, DRR Shantanu Agrawal, PDRR Mukesh Singh and DRRE Abhishek Goyal. In continuation of the greening endeavour, the Rotaractors have also set up a compost pit in the college campus. The pit is used to collect and compost all green waste from 46 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

the college and neighbouring compounds. Besides helping to keep the college clean, the compost made from the green waste will serve as manure for the herbal garden, says Shahare. DG Rajendra Bhamre visited the compost site and the herbal garden and appreciated the efforts of Rotaractors. „


A special celebration Team Rotaract News

T

he Rotaractors of RAC Indore Professionals, RID 3040, celebrated Independence Day and Raksha Bandhan in a very special way. Club members spent the entire day with the inmates of Anubhuti Vision Sewa Sansthaan, an orphanage and home to 70 mentally and physically-challenged children. The club members made rakhis and tied it on the wrists of the children. They fed them sweets and

Above: Sweets being distributed.

A young girl enthusiastically showcasing her talent.

food. “The kids expressed love and warmth and were very enthusiastic to meet us. They showcased their talent and no doubt, they did their best. It was, by far, one of the best Rotaract experiences we’ve had,” says Club President Tanmay Kushwah. The club has also hosted Open Mic Night where 15 performers presented their talent in music, poetry, oratory, stand-up comedy and nazms (Urdu poetry) in front of the audience. „ OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 47


Madurai children get Little Libraries V Muthukumaran

Club President E Vigneshwaran (second from left) along with Rotaractors and schoolchildren at a Little Library.

M

aking efficient use of social networking sites, the Rotaractors of RAC Madurai North, RID 3000, led by President

E Vigneshwaran, are creating the right impact in the community. In no time, they have set up two ‘Little Libraries’ at the Joe Andrea High

tors.

d Rotarac

chers an n with tea

ildre

Schoolch

48 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

School attached to an orphanage, and a Government Higher Secondary School, both located in the suburbs, to “encourage reading habit

in rural students,” says Vigneshwaran. The Little Libraries cost `20,000 each which was mobilised through member contributions and donations from Rotarians. The books were sourced through networking with friends, social activists, and posting messages on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Whatsapp. “We have stacked over 300 books across genres in each library and the project’s idea is to promote


‘Give a book, take a book’ among students. The library project is part of our contributions to Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM) under which many initiatives will be taken.” This 20-year-old club has been active in and around Madurai with all its 35 members drawn from different walks of life. “We are the oldest club in the temple city and owe much of our success to our parent RC Madurai North whose members guide us with valuable inputs and suggestions on project execution,” says Vigneshwaran. A team of 15 Rotaractors visited Hands of Compassion, an old-age home, to spend a day with 60 inmates, sharing fun moments and showering them with gifts. “We prepared a grand feast and served a delicious lunch for them. Their

We received good feedback from the college students for our presentation on hair donation which will help cancer survivors.

happy faces and laughter gave us satisfaction of having served the needy.” They supplied grocery items, rations and other essentials, including bedsheets and toiletries, to the home after getting a list of their monthly requirements. Vigneshwaran is employed as a HR recruiter in Bengaluru. “I visit my home town almost every weekend; or at least once in 15 days, when I interact with my Rotaractors.” He creates a separate Whatsapp group for each project and an exclusive team for its implementation — “all done through Whatsapp and telephonic calls.”

During his weekend visits to Madurai, the Rotaract club meets at the office of Rtn T Saravanaraj, Youth Service Director, RC Madurai North. “We are thankful to him for letting out his plush office at Goripalayam, a nearby village, for planning our projects. All the finer details of our forthcoming projects and activities are chalked out here,” he explains. Recently, the club has formed an all-girls team for hair donation campaign for which a series of awareness events are being planned. Club Secretary C Kausalya Devi and her team visited the Fatima College for Women to

A school girl gives a speech in the presence of Rotaractors.

make a video presentation followed by a guest lecture by Rtr S Samyuktha. “We received good feedback from the college students for our presentation on hair donation which will help cancer survivors and those suffering from hair loss. Twenty-one girls came forward to donate their hair for the cause,” says Samyuktha, Project Chair. A Rotaract Club of Fatima College was also installed on the occasion. A backbone to Rotaract

The parent Rotary club helps the Rotaractors in fixing up appointments with government officials or social celebrities to discuss their club projects and seek contributions. A budget estimate is presented to their parent Rotary before taking up a project or community initiative and RC Madurai North President D N Govardhan clears the proposal without delay so that the Rotaract club gets the funds one week ahead of the D-day. Most of the Rotarians help out their youth wing members by recommending sponsors and donating either in cash or kind for the projects. “We are grateful to all the Rotarians for extending both moral and material support to our projects and without their timely help, most of our initiatives would not have been possible,” signs off Vigneshwaran. Designed by L Gunasekaran OCTOBER 2019

ROTARACT NEWS 49


Another area

the young can lead… Rasheeda Bhagat

A

ll over the world, more and more people are turning to drinking bottled water. While fancy restaurants can serve you water flavoured with lime, orange or other fruits in beautiful glass bottles, 99 per cent of the bottled water we drink comes packed in plastic bottles…. big and small. After her address at the UN, I have become a huge fan of Greta Thunberg, and by now all of us, even those who have mocked her, are deeply aware of the serious questions that she raised on the environment, and the mess that our generation is leaving behind for her generation to deal with. If she has reason to be angry, scowl and growl, so do you, the young people who inhabit the Rotaract world. At various Rotary events in India and internationally, senior leaders have talked about the perils of dumping millions of used plastic water bottles. In both the oceans and on land, marine life and animals have choked to death consuming the plastic waste we generate. Reading an article titled “How safe is bottled water” in the latest issue of Time magazine, which says that about a third of Americans have switched to bottled water on grounds of “safety” and “quality”, I put an Internet search on the “perils of bottled water”. The screen flashed any number of scary headlines such as “Plastic water bottles are a threat to your health; 7 reasons to never drink bottled water ever again; 9 reasons why you 50 ROTARACT NEWS OCTOBER 2019

shouldn’t drink bottled water…” I’m sure you get the general idea. All the research you do on the subject boils down to the fact that apart from creating a horrendous amount of plastic waste, such water comes infused with harmful chemicals that seep from the plastic bottle into the water. And what is the guarantee that the water that you are buying has not been filled just with tap water… and that too untreated tap water? At home we have long ago switched over to drinking water from glass bottles and keeping a few in the fridge too, despite the fact that they are a weighty substitute to plastic. A trick is to go for used wine bottles, which are much lighter in weight. If they are good enough to hold indoor bottled

plants, they are good enough to hold drinking water too. But the bigger dilemma, in a water-starved city like Chennai, or anywhere else I suppose, is finding a substitute for water that comes packed in larger bottles with volumes of 5 or 10 or 30 litres. They are all made of plastic, even though the grade is better. So who will bell the cat, and who will give leadership to this major issue that is staring our planet in the face? Call us hypocritical or hopeful; here too this generation will look towards the next one. While you figure this one out… I am planning to look for another nice paanai or matka made of terracotta. A new matka gives the water a fragrance of the earth that is far superior to the priciest of flavoured water! „


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Rotaract News - October 2019  

Rotaract News - October 2019