One of the oldest Rotaract clubs in RID 3054, RAC Palanpur, chartered on Jan 21, 1978, takes pride in calling itself “the youth wing of Rotary Club of Palanpur, for, we associate ourselves closely with their service projects. We also conduct programmes to foster bonding among our members through the year,” says its club president Navin Suthar.The club chalks out some exciting events like trekking, fellowship evenings and weekly getaways for its members to bond and know each other better.
It was a mix of fun, adventure, fellowship and bonding for the 55 Rotaractors, some from other clubs, at the two-day trekking to Mount Abu in Rajasthan under Project Shikhar 4.0. “We camped at the scenic Aarna Wild that offers a panoramic view of the hill station. And we played adventure games like loop bridge, ziplining; hiked to the hill crest, held campfire, enjoyed the solo performances and stayed at Alpine tents,” recalls Suthar.
In a noteworthy gesture, over 130 tribal students at two government primary schools in Zumfali and Shivam villages were given sweaters and snacks under district project Vastradan in a two-day event. To mark Children’s Day, around 900 students from five government primary schools were given delicious lunch. “School principals and teachers were happy that we could provide a grand treat to children as most of them are from impoverished families,” he says.
Rotaractors formed teams, spread out to busy highways, approach roads and road junctions to paste reflectors and radium stickers on tractor trailers, camel carts and other farm vehicles which face the risk of accident during night as they are not visible to the incoming, speedy commercial vehicles. “We received a good response from farmers and vehicle owners who make regular trips to the local market to sell their produce, and we got a chance to explain about Rotary to rural people,” recalls Suthar.
Under Project Mission Life, an official from the Gujarat Cleaner Production Centre gave a lecture on environmental issues, along with a poster presentation, for students at three primary schools from Moriya, Delwada and Vadhna villages near Palanpur. “Students and teachers took a pledge to save the environment. School bags, stationery kits and handbooks were distributed to 250 students at the end of the lecture,” says Suthar.
At the inter-district cricket tournament for the blind conducted by their parent Rotary, “we volunteered to make the visually-impaired players comfortable at the G D Modi Arts College, Palanpur. Four teams competed and the one from Palanpur emerged winner to bag the trophy and a cheque for ₹ 5,000.”
Piles fissure camp
Dr Alamdar Chaudhary, proctologist from Relief Hospital, examined 100 children and adults suffering from piles disorder at a five-day medical camp. “While 75 patients were given medicines, another 25 were chosen for surgery at the hospital. This camp was a boon for the poor people who can’t afford hefty fees charged at private clinics,” he explains.
In January, the club celebrated its 45th charter year at the Rotary Hall with special children from the Lions Divyang Children’s Training and Education Centre. “Over 20 blind children gave a stage performance. We distributed gifts and a sumptuous lunch was provided to all the children.” Raksha Bandhan was celebrated with children at the Divyang Training Centre, Dhalwas.
A water booth (₹1 lakh) sponsored by Durga Trade Company was set up near Samarpan Hospital, a busy locality, to provide relief from summer heat to the public. It was inaugurated by DGE Mehul Rathod, RID 3055, DGN Mohan Parashar and DGND Nigam Chaudhary. “This will be functioning for 3–4 months till the summer lasts,” he says. The club is setting up water booth for many years now during summer.
Another permanent project is offering breakfast to thousands of pilgrims visiting Goddess Ambaji during Bhadarvi Poonam in September each year. “We also provide medicines to the elderly and refreshments as many visit the temple from across the country throughout this auspicious time,” says Navin Suthar. From July, work on renovating the Rotaract edifice, a signage, at the centre of Palanpur will commence, thanks to Duke Pipes which had donated ₹1.5 lakh for the project.
With 27 members in all, the club meets every Saturday at the Rotary Hall for brainstorming and to plan ahead. “Our focus is also on membership drive for which we have released a social media poster, aimed at the youth and professionals, detailing the benefits of being a Rotaractor,” explains Suthar, an architect and a Rotaractor for seven years. “I will be joining my parent Rotary after a year or so, as at present, we are busy planning for district and global-level Rotaract events in the near future,” he adds.