It was so much fun to be with the little children at Navjeevan. The excitement and joy on their faces can never replace anything that we do otherwise, says Rashida Jasdanwala, President of RAC Bombay Bayview. She is talking about her team’s visit to the NGO that takes care of the children of commercial sex workers in Mumbai. The Rotaractors visit the home frequently and engage the children in some fun and learning. “You should hear them scream and shout to welcome us every time we go there. You too will get addicted to them,” she smiles.
This time it was Holi and the club members taught the children the art of hand-painting. They had bought new T-shirts in white for the children and lots of fabric paints. They made the children do their own designs on their T-shirts and taught them what Holi was all about and the significance of each colour. “More importantly, it was a learning experience for us — the childhood innocence, the happiness in little things and the value of life — these are our takeaways from each of our visit,” adds Rashida.
The club also sponsors the training for a football team, called Worli Wolves, consisting of 12 teenagers. It takes care of their coaching, basic literacy and nutritious food. “It cost us ₹1,50,000 and we plan to repeat this the next year too.” Rashida is happy that these children won a match in an event organised by their parent club, RC Bombay Bayview and her team is planning a day out for the children to celebrate their victory. It will be a perfect opportunity for bonding with them, she says.
The club has some enterprising fundraisers to sponsor their service projects. The Annual Bake Sale cashed in around ₹50,000 and it helped in providing training in nursing and beautician course for the women of Alibag. The sale was for two days and “our cookies, cupcakes and pastries sold like hot cakes not because it was for a charity but people really loved the taste. We got more orders too.” Likewise, the Treasure Hunt helped to raise funds to sponsor fitness classes for children housed in Asha Sadan, an orphanage in Mumbai. They are orphans or children rescued from begging or of convict parents. “So we cheer them up with Zumba and other physical activities with the help of trainers,” says Rashida.
Apart from such community activities, the Rotaractors enrich themselves with sessions on personality development, career opportunities and other educational lectures from various resource persons. An interactive talk was given by Karishma Mehta who runs a hugely popular Facebook page on Humans of Bombay. It showcases the spirit of Mumbaikars as Karishma engages in a conversation with them, capturing their success and failures, hopes and heartbreaks. “The session enlightened us to the fact as to how fortunate we are as compared to our contemporaries on the other side of the fortune scale. All our ventures help us in our personal growth one way or the other and transform us as better and more empathetic human beings,” concludes the president.