Charting out a new hope and vision for the differently-abled who are keen to join Rotary as they share its ideals and are passionate about service, Rotaract Club of Varanasi South, D 3120, has so far attracted 20 members who are hearing and speech impaired. The new club formed on World Disability Day (Dec 3) is sponsored by RC Varanasi South. Assistant Governor Deepak Asthana along with DRR Jagrat Kapoor were instrumental in the creation of this exclusive group of ‘special Rotaractors’.
With his involvement in an international NGO Saksham that works for the cause of disabled persons, “I took up this idea with Rtn Asthana who readily agreed for such a differently-abled Rotaract club. We motivated a college student Marshneil Dey, to lead the club as its charter president and she is doing a great job since inception,” says Kapoor. Marshneil is the daughter of Rtn Anita Dey, past president of RC Varanasi South.
At the outset, the DRR clears some misconceptions about these ‘special Rotaractors’. First, they don’t consider themselves disabled, hence “we should not have misplaced sympathy for them. Second, they are eager to communicate with the society and want to participate like any other Rotaract club in community projects.” They have already distributed woollen blankets to slum children, their maiden project, and had received kudos from the locals.
While the parent Rotary club and DRCC Pushpranjan Agarwal, hailing from Varanasi, have assured monetary and other support for the club, “the Rotaractors seem to be capable of doing projects on their own. And some have even started working for our district conference (Jan 5–6) in Prayagraj with enthusiasm.”
Anita is all smiles as her daughter Marshneil is “excited and bubbling with ideas ever since she was chosen as the charter president of this special Rotaract club.” Anita and Pradeep Dey are active Rotarians and they used to take their child to projects, events and fellowships which “made a profound impact on Marshneil who is now working overtime to implement a slew of service projects in Varanasi,” says Anita.
Young Marshneil, a first year BFA student at Jeevandeep Mahavidyalaya, uses three ways to communicate — gesture mode like in dumb charade; sign language; and by writing on a notepad. As a member of The Deaf Way Foundation, a global NGO, she is exposed to modern life such as internet banking, video conference and how to adopt technology for effective communication. “She gets a lot of inputs, suggestions and tips from the US and European experts who visit the local chapter of the NGO,” says her mother.
Besides, Marshneil has a penchant for Rangoli and has won awards for her colourful designs. “A freestyle dancer, she has acted in a number of plays and as Rotaract leader, is determined to make a tangible impact on the community with projects,” says Anita.