Developing eloquence in students

Grooming the communication skills of school students in and around Thane, a suburb of Mumbai, has earned a brand identity for Rotaractors at RAC Thane Downtown, RID 3142, over the last six years as Project Eloquence is one of the most awaited inter-school competitions. And this Rotary year too is no different. “Our aim is to improve the vocational skills of students through competitions such as letter-writing, essay, debating and elocution,” says club president Rushikesh Bhadane.

From L: Rtr Mansi Kante, RAC Thane Downtown president Rushikesh ­Bhadane and Rtr Pushkar Kulkarni, along with a young beneficiary, at the Jaipur foot distribution camp.
From L: Rtr Mansi Kante, RAC Thane Downtown president Rushikesh ­Bhadane and Rtr Pushkar Kulkarni, along with a young beneficiary, at the Jaipur foot distribution camp.

In the first phase, 1,500 students from Classes 5–10 took part in 20 intra-school competitions, out of which 500 were selected for the final phase at the Indo Scots Global School, Thane. “After a series of fierce contests, 72 students emerged winners and were given prizes. President-elect Nilesh Kadam from RC Thane Dowtown, our sponsor club, and Rtn Biju Gopalan, chair, partner-in-service, were among the jurors who chose the winners,” he recalls. Project Eloquence was sponsored by coaching institutes Byju’s and School Toppers.

Another satisfying work is their legacy project of distribution of ­Jaipur foot to amputees over the last nine years. “Recently, we gave 24 prosthetic limbs at the Ratna Nidhi Foundation on the premises of King George V Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, at a cost of ₹1.45 lakh. While Rotarians donated ₹25,000, we mobilised ₹69,000, and the balance amount came from public donations,” he says. So far, the club has distributed around 220 Jaipur foot in partnership with the Foundation, which is providing the artificial limbs.

From L: Rtn Nisha Raju, judge Sangita Bhadane, student winner Rohil Tawade and club president Rushikesh Bhadane at Project Eloquence.
From L: Rtn Nisha Raju, judge Sangita Bhadane, student winner Rohil Tawade and club president Rushikesh Bhadane at Project Eloquence.

Bhadane has initiated Project Transition, in which transgenders are given job opportunities. “We have designed an online job application form which the transsexuals have to fill in and send to their prospective employers. We have created a database of employers and companies through our contacts in Rotary, social media, friendship and social circles,” he explains. So far, 29 transgenders have responded to the job portal, among them seven have completed their interviews and waiting for the placement offers.

RI’s annual dues

With 57 members consisting mostly of students and young professionals, the nine-year-old club meets twice a month on Fridays. “We have a quorum of 30 Rotaractors to hold a meeting. For those who could not make it, we send the minutes of the meeting through social media handles and emails. But the real challenge is the collection of RI’s annual dues, that is, $8 per head, plus 18 per cent GST, which comes to around ₹900 for a Rotaractor. We are ready to pay this amount. But it will be easy if we are asked to pay the dues in two equal instalments,” says Bhadane.

A letter-writing contest in progress at the Indo Scots Global School, Thane.
A letter-writing contest in progress at the
Indo Scots Global School, Thane.

Having completed his B Tech, he is waiting “for the graduation ceremony in July or August. I will be joining a company soon.” Being a ­Rotaractor for five years had boosted “my ­confidence levels, improved my public speaking skills, and honed my attitude and skills for a successful career.” Though he was a dual member when he became the Rotaract club president, he had to quit Rotary due to “time constraints and other pressing needs. In the near future, I will be joining my sponsor club, RC Thane Downtown, and extend my active service to their social projects,” he assures.

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