It is amazing that a 23-year-old college girl in Lucknow is able to transform her Covid relief work that she has been doing, along with her friends and mates on social media across the world, into the first Rotaract E-Club of the world. At the three-day SEARIC Summit in Gwalior (Dec 17–19), her brainchild, E-Club of Inspiring India, RID 3120, was recognised by World Rotaract Co-chair PDG Ravi Vadlamani, RSAMDIO president Arti Goswami and SEARIC MDIO president Kaushal Sahu for “creating a viable e-platform for Rotaractors to stay connected unlike an institution or community-based club in which members ceased to exist after they leave their college or gets transferred to another city,” says Mahi Bhan, charter president of E-Club of Inspiring India.
Hailing from a Rotary family, Mahi, along with friends, was doing a series of Covid-relief work as “we all were at our homes, attending online classes, and then networking with each other on the best way to reach out to patients. We took up food distribution, created awareness on the pandemic and need to follow social distancing, helped Covid patients, and also volunteered at hospitals.” They also provided food to stray animals and birds.
Her mother, Rtn Bharati Gupta, past president, RC Lucknow, took note of her social work and advised her to “combine all your friends across India and create a platform to expand the charitable activity.” From there on, Mahi wasted no time in forming the “the first ever Rotaract e-club with 28 members from Dubai, US, UK, Qatar, Germany and across RI districts in India.”
Rotary E-Club of Inspiring India is the first ever Rotaract e-club with 28 members from Dubai, US, UK, Qatar, Germany and across RI districts in India.
Projects across time zones
Every week, the Rotaractors meet on a virtual platform to decide on the date and time of the next project which is carried out as per that schedule, but at different time zones of the country they live. For example, Mahi says, “tree plantation was taken up by all our members in Sep 2021 at 4–5pm. But depending on their nationality, Rotaractors will do it on their time zones.” Likewise, the Rotaractors took up a cleanliness drive across time zones, but on the same day, and around 25–30kg of garbage was collected by the e-club with Rotaractors from Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, Gandhinagar and Gangtok too chipping in with their contributions.
A recycling contest titled Treasure out of Trash was conducted for Rotaractors which was appreciated by the UP urban development minister Ashutosh Tandon. “We tied up with RAC Singapore on social media to do this garbage removal drive simultaneously,” says Mahi. Project Bezubaan (speechless) is an ongoing work that rescues, shelters and provides care to stray animals abandoned by owners due to the pandemic. Mahi coordinates with her club secretary Sonali Singh, a resident of Bhilwara, Rajasthan, and vice-president Anima Basnett from Pakyong, Sikkim, who is also the president-elect, on issues related to scheduling projects, and convening weekly online meetings. “We brief our DRR Rishu Maheshwari and his district council on our club activities on a monthly basis. His mentorship and doses of motivational tips help us to stay focused on our community initiatives.”
We took up food distribution, created awareness on the pandemic and need to follow social distancing, helped Covid patients, and also volunteered at hospitals.
To boost the morale of poor children, “we distributed toys and stationery including books and notebooks to 50 of them at a slum colony near a railway station at Gomti Nagar, a posh neighbourhood in Lucknow. The gifts will help them to do productive work and think imaginatively as they are idle at home now with schools closed,” explains Mahi. The e-club roped in Stotram, the Art of Charity, an NGO, as a partner in toys and books distribution.
Great work: DRR
Formed in May 2021, the e-club has earned the praise of DRR Rishu Maheshwari: “I am absolutely happy with the way they are working and set about planning everything as per the Rotaract guidelines.” Mahi is in regular touch and “calls me 2–3 times a week. She is energetic and fully committed to take her club to new heights,” says the DRR. At the SEARIC Summit, Arsh Mishra from the e-club was declared Mr Summit and got PHF membership as reward in his first year as a Rotaractor. Mahi Bhan was chosen as the ‘Most Active Rotaractor’ at the summit. The first-ever Rotaract e-club has a tagline that states “it is a platform for the youth to unite, learn, serve, and grow together.” Mahi has coined her annual theme as ‘Shape your dreams’. Doing her Law at Amity University, Noida, she is from a family that has Rotary roots over three generations.
While mother Bharati is her role model, her father late Rtn Satyendra Gupta, both from RC Lucknow, and grandfather Rtn S P Gupta from RC Allahabad East have influenced her eight-month-old, exciting Rotaract journey so far. “We are grateful to our parent Rotary, RC Lucknow, for mentoring and helping us to organise fundraisers such as the Diwali fellowship gala, a ticketed-event,” she adds.