Ever 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 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.
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 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.
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, gender-segregated 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 they have started recently in the New Alipore school, “we intend to replicate it in the other three schools,” she says.
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
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.