Belgaum gets a green cover

More than 3,000 saplings/plants were planted during the last Rotary year in various parts of Belgaum city in Karnataka, thanks to Rotaractors of RAC Belgaum Yuva Darpan, RID 3170. “We enjoyed this environment project and all of us were deeply involved in the greening drive right from the start,” says club president Prathamesh Joshi. The club members participated in the project on 21 Sundays of the year, and helped with cleaning the fields, sowing the seeds or planting the saplings, enriching the soil with nutrients and consistent maintenance of each plant/sapling. “We have planted several flower/fruit bearing trees in residential localities. The locals also zealously participated in the project,” he says.

Members of RAC Belgaum Yuva Darpan with Interactors after a cleanliness drive as part of World Interact Week celebrations.
Members of RAC Belgaum Yuva Darpan with Interactors after a cleanliness drive as part of World Interact Week celebrations.

This project, he adds, was a learning experience. “We learnt the nuances of gardening — digging the soil, tilling it regularly and giving the right amount of water for the plants.” Every Sunday the Rotaractors would wake up at 5am, and meet up at a common spot and break out into teams. “While one group will go to plant new saplings in a chosen locality, the other group will visit the places where we have planted the seeds/saplings for nurturing them. We have built a good rapport with the residents. Nearly 1,600 of them joined us in the greening drive, inspired by our dedication.” Green Saviours, an NGO, partnered with the club for the project.

A Rotaractor gives a sanitary napkin packet to a woman.
A Rotaractor gives a sanitary napkin packet to a woman.

In another initiative, the club, in association with RSAMDIO and RID 3203, has distributed sanitary napkins to 650 adolescent girls and women residing in the slums in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “Rotaract clubs would have to place an order with us indicating the number of pads they needed and we would send it to them free of cost for distribution in their region,” says Namitha Rajput, club secretary.

Rotaractors with the elderly inmates of the old age home after providing the home with monthly essentials.
Rotaractors with the elderly inmates of the old age home after providing the home with monthly essentials.

The inter-district project has helped in establishing a bond between the two districts, “especially with RACs NGM College and Pollachi Green Paradise in RID 3203,” says Joshi. To help develop interest and a sense of ownership, three new Rotaractors were assigned the job of coordinating with other clubs for the project and spreading the word about the initiative among people.

DG Venkatesh Deshpande, along with Rotaractors and Rotarians, after distributing dustbins at a slum colony.
DG Venkatesh Deshpande, along with Rotaractors and Rotarians, after distributing dustbins at a slum colony.

The club executed three heartwarming activities on Grandparents’ Day, World Interact Week and on Diwali at the Shantai Vrudashram, an old age home with which the club is associated with since its charter three years ago.

A team of Rotaractors, armed with gifts, fruits and vegetables, visited the home. They organised a health check-up and a meditation session for the elderly residents. “We spent the entire day with them, playing games and listening to their words of wisdom and anecdotes from their past. We sang and danced with them. It was a fun day well spent,” says Namitha.

Rotaractors share a warm moment with the senior citizens at the Shantai Vrudashram.
Rotaractors share a warm moment with the senior citizens at the Shantai Vrudashram.

During the Interact Week, the Rotaractors, along with Rotarians of their parent Rotary, RC Belgaum Darpan, took the Interactors to the old age home. “Together we cleaned the ashram and entertained the inmates. Then we organised competitions for Interactors and pepped them up to ­participate in community service projects in a smaller scale,” she explains.

During Diwali, “we spent the evening with the senior citizens at the home. We lit up the home with 150 diyas, recited bhajans with them, performed aarti and burst crackers with them. It was a very special day for all us,” she says. These special projects attracted three new members to the club last year.

More than 3,000 saplings/ plants were planted in various parts of Belgaum. Nearly 1,600 residents joined us in the greening drive, inspired by our dedication.
Prathamesh Joshi
president, RAC Belgaum Yuva Darpan

In a joint project with RAC ­Belgaum Darpan, RAC Belgaum Yuva Darpan installed 80-litre dustbins in 14 locations at the Shreenagar Slum Colony in the city. “We interacted with the residents and explained to them the need for segregating wet and dry waste, and demonstrated the procedure. We reiterated to them to keep their surroundings clean,” says Joshi.

The two clubs came together for another service activity — to distribute blankets to over 360 less privileged people including street and slum dwellers in various parts of Belgaum.

Blankets being distributed to people.
Blankets being distributed to people.

Pawtography was a fundraiser that helped to provide dog food and reflective neck belts for the canines. The event was done in collaboration with the Stray Care Foundation and Waggin Style. “We bought food to feed around 60 dogs and adorned the necks of 20 dogs with reflective belts to protect them from speeding vehicles.” The event called for pet owners to share fancy photographs of their dog after an entry fee was collected for participation.

The club with a membership strength of 55 Rotaractors mobilises the funds for most of its service activities in-house with the help of  annual dues of ₹1,500 a member. “We have executed 55 community projects last year and each one had been meaningful and beneficial to the people,” says club president Joshi.

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