Cheering the disabled

For 15 consecutive years RAC Ambattur, RID 3232, has been hosting the annual day celebrations for the physically/mentally-challenged students studying in eight special schools in Chennai. “The cultural programmes will be designed by the respective schools and the staff will train their students to perform. We organise the venue and ensure that it is disabled-friendly and comfortable for the children,” says Sathishkumar, president of this 30-year-old club sponsored by RC Ambattur. The event helps to unearth the latent talent of these children and “it is a pleasure to see their performances, overcoming their challenges.” The paintings done by some of the children and exhibited at the venue also won appreciations from the audience. The participants are recognised with gifts and a sumptuous dinner is served for the children, their parents and school staff.

A donor hands over a cheque to a parent to sponsor the education of a student at the Vidiyal programme.
A donor hands over a cheque to a parent to sponsor the education of a student at the Vidiyal programme.

Every year we discuss the children’s needs with the school coordinators beforehand. We also recognise the coordinators and support staff at the event.
– Sathish Kumar, president, RAC Ambattur.

The programme is popular and many people including Rotarians and Rotaractors look forward to attending it every year. Several philanthropists come forward to sponsor the fees for the students. “We do the background verification and authentication. The donors directly hand over the sponsor funds to the students in the presence of the parents.” At the end of the programme the club distributes gift kits such as tiffin box, stationery, school bags, etc each year to all the students. “Every year we discuss the children’s needs with the school coordinators beforehand. We also recognise the coordinators and support staff at the event.” he says.

Above and below: Cultural performances by participants.
Above and below: Cultural performances by participants.

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Cremating unclaimed bodies

The club received the best project award two years ago at the RSAMDIO conference for its service project — cremation of unclaimed bodies. Whenever they get information from the Royapettah General Hospital and the Chintadripet Police Station about anonymous deaths in their jurisdiction, the officials notify the Rotaractors and after the requisite formalities, hand over the body for cremation to them. Not many people are ready to participate in this project as it involves visiting the mortuary and the crematorium, says Sathishkumar, adding that he is part of a specific team in his club that has been executing this project for the past three years.

Artwork done by the children exhibited at the cultural programme venue.
Artwork done by the children exhibited at the cultural programme venue.

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Club member Sudankumar leads the team. “Earlier his father was involved in this project and it was through him we got drawn to it.” The Rotaractors take care of the basic rituals and visit the crematorium to provide a decent cremation. Each service costs about ₹2,500, says the club president.

The club received the best project award two years ago at the RSAMDIO conference for its service project — cremation of unclaimed dead bodies.

The club has 92 Rotaractors and most of them are college students although it is a community-based club. The members pay annual dues of ₹750 each.

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