Joy of Giving touches over 10,000 lives

Over the last eight years, Project Joy of Giving has brought smiles and happiness to at least 10,000 children, issueless aged couples and elderly people through distribution of sparingly used clothes, toys, ­cooking utensils, stationery items, bags, shoes and a range of groceries which were collected from houses across ­Mumbai. Explaining the flagship project of RAC Mumbai Salt City, RID 3141, club president Pranati Chheda says, “We do this project in three phases. A few days before Diwali we reach out to poor children in an institution or charity home and provide them with all useful items including clothes, utensils and crockery which we had collected in a special drive.”

Rotaractors with children at the ‘Joy of Giving’ event.

In November last year, around 800 houses in Sion, Mulund, Matunga, Worli and Nerul have donated huge bundles of “giveaways which were then sorted out based on gender, age group and application type; and packed neatly by ­Rotaractors.” They went to the Government Ashram School, ­Shahpur, and donated the neatly wrapped packages to 380 children who were looking forward to visit their villages for Diwali. “Also each beneficiary got rice, wheat , sugar, moong and tur dhal (1kg each) under the first phase of the project.” During the second phase, the club has roped in Nimesh Tanna Trust, an NGO supporting childless elderly couples living in different housing societies. “We gave 50kg of rations to the NGO which cooked delicious meals for 165 elderly couples living alone in different areas of Mumbai and don’t have any sources of income.”

It was an amazing five-year journey in Rotaract for me. I was able to create impact with community projects; win great friends with like-minded views on life.
Pranati Chheda, president, RAC Mumbai Salt City

During the final leg of Joy of Giving, they visited Shree Care, an old age home in Mulund, and donated around 50 sarees and clothes to the elderly inmates. Each year, the club used to reach out to at least 2,000 beneficiaries with clothes, utility items and groceries. “But in the first two years of the project, the beneficiaries were much less as we were yet to pick up momentum,” says Pranati.

RAC Mumbai Salt City president Pranati Chheda at the
Government Ashram School, Shahpur.

In February, they hosted Salt City Literary Fest at the Navbharat Nutan Vidyalaya, Mulund, in which 25 types of competitions like storytelling, oratory, essay writing and debating were held for 300 students in four languages. Certificates were given to the winners at a colourful event chaired by the school principal and attended by Rotaractors and parents. “We will be painting the walls of a neglected government high school under Project Rangeela (colours) shortly. We plan to paint scenic landscapes with proverbs, quotes and sayings of great leaders on the walls to inspire the children,” says Pranati.


Good mentorship

RC Mumbai Salt City president Ramachandran Iyer is in regular contact with Pranati and her team to provide suggestions on service projects. “Both Iyer and Rtn Balan Narayanan, club treasurer, offer us ideas, and ways and means of doing projects. We are grateful to them,” says Pranati. Doing her third year in BLS LLB, an integrated Law course, she recalls that it was “an amazing five-year journey in Rotaract for me. I was able to create impact with community projects; win great friends with like-minded views on life.”

Rtrs Diksha Kamble and Rishi Jain with children at Project Joy of Giving.

Her colleague, Vineet Kakkad, club’s PR director, says, “in the last three years, I have taken part in all our Rotaract projects, which gave me self-confidence to face life’s challenges.” The nine-year-old, community club has 96 members, all of them being college-goers from different parts of Mumbai.


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