Rotaract Club of Chennai Celebrities — a community-based club chartered by RC Chennai Celebrities in September 2021 in RID 3232 — is an enthusiastic team of 90 members led by its president A Vinodh Chiranjeevi and secretary Yaser Ahmed.
The club has a ‘branch club’ with 26 members in Pondicherry and another one is being worked out in Madurai. “This is a new club model and the setup is like a corporate having branches in various places,” says Chiranjeevi, adding that there is no separate president/secretary in the branches. “We assist them with the functioning but they manage the fundraising and identify service projects on their own.”
The club has its own office in the heart of Chennai, “a rare feature for any Rotaract club. Rotaractors from other clubs too drop in to just relax and chat with us over a cup of tea or organise their meetings here,” he says.
‘No food wastage’ is the club’s signature project. The members, having developed a rapport with managers of marriage/party halls, collect excess food from social, religious events, arrange a vehicle and distribute it to street dwellers, ragpickers and beggars. “We celebrate our birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions by distributing food to the underprivileged.” The club distributes groceries and had recently provided ₹2,000 worth groceries to 30 families whose income was affected following the long Covid-induced lockdown and the monsoons later. During the floods in November the Rotaractors braved the rains and rescued people stranded in their homes to safer places, and also distributed packed food. Pet lovers of the club got together to provide about 25kg food to stray animals.
For most projects the club has managed to raise its own funds. “But our parent club has been helping us in times of need. They supported us with ₹50,000 and RC Madras Mount gave us ₹10,000 for organising our installation event for which we spent about ₹3.5 lakh,” says Chiranjeevi, adding that he encourages his team to seek support for projects from corporates and business houses. “Since all members are either entrepreneurs or employed, they are quite good in raising funds.”
The club has recently chartered a Rotaract club — RAC Fighter Wings Aviation College — with 62 members. They have executed two projects — rice distribution and Christmas celebrations in a slum colony. “But we have made it clear that they must raise their own funds and that we are not their ATMs. We warned them to account each rupee diligently.” The new club’s treasury has a balance of ₹39,000. “A ‘sponsor head’ has been appointed who drives the members to convince people and get sponsors. Now many other Rotaract clubs are replicating the idea,” he says, adding that the club has installed a fund box in their college which also draws a sizeable contribution.
RAC Chennai Celebrities is meticulous in drafting agreements with other clubs partnering for service projects or events. “We have a legal wing with two High Court advocates. For any project with partner clubs we sign an MoU and the documentation is done by our legal wing. This is probably a new concept,” says the club president.
He is a huge supporter of inclusiveness. An event manager by profession, Chiranjeevi organises his signature fashion show annually for the differently-abled. The funds collected from the show is given to the Headway Foundation that works for their welfare. “We have a separate Inclusive wing in our club headed by wheelchair tennis player Satyamurthy Radhakrishnan. He is employed with the State Narcotics department and mentors for other Rotaract clubs. It was his idea to conduct fashion show for the differently-abled people,” he says.
A ‘Transcent Show’ was organised by the club, jointly with RAC Madras Mount. It had a participation of 20 transgenders walking the ramp alongside other men and women. “After us RC Madras Mount also organised one such event and donated the funds collected to Headway.”
The Rotaract club, in association with its parent club, supported the doctors and nurses at a Covid vaccine camp in Alandur, a city suburb. The members campaigned for the vaccination in the locality and even helped in transporting people to and from the vaccine centre.
A ‘Know Your Numbers’ medical camp was organised with the support of a medical team from the Fortis Malar Hospitals to check blood sugar, BP and other vital parameters. Over 100 people visited the camp. A general physician was present to provide consultations.
A breast cancer awareness campaign was organised in association with the Fortis Malar Hospitals. The Rotaractors met women walkers in public places such as parks and beaches and talked to them about the mammogram test to rule out breast cancer. Early diagnosis increases the chances of cure they were told. A 23-women group did a rally on their bikes to spread the message under the Pink Bikethon programme. “We must have reached out to at least 1,000 women through this campaign,” he smiles.
On World Polio Day (Oct 24), the Rotaractors took out an End Polio Rally to spread the role of Rotary in polio eradication.
“A flash mob was performed at the busy Gemini signal. This drew the attention of several motorists at the traffic junction.”
Digital job fair
About 68 of 133 youngsters got placement in various jobs through a digital job fair organised by the tech-savvy Rotaractors on the Clubhouse platform. A recently concluded Rotaract Club Premier League (RCPL) — a T-10 cricket league hosted by the club, along with RAC Vishwahita (sponsored by RC Madras Industrial Club) and 11 other co-hosts —
brought all cricket enthusiasts to participate with their teams. “The event was a huge public image building exercise,” says the president.
Debate competition, yoga sessions, talent show, modelling/saree/styling workshop and an illustration workshop with Antway School of Design are some of the programmes that help in the personal growth and enhancing the self-confidence of the club members.