Though less than a year old, RAC Pune Synergy Next Gen, RID 3131, has got a charter president in Raghav Somani who is brimming with ideas and is ready to motivate his members to take up impactful service projects. “We have 21 members, 70 per cent of whom are businessmen and small entrepreneurs, and the rest are college students. Our maiden Project Social Santa donated around 100 food packets to homeless and destitute people at the Pune Camp area on Christmas eve,” says Somani.
Project Art Attack was conducted twice to showcase the painting skills of Rotaractors and, to hold a Tie & Dye event to nurture bonding among charter members. “Around 14 Rotaractors enjoyed the artwork and shared ideas that led to camaraderie among them,” he says. During the World Rotaract Week (March 13–20), the club tied up with Sahayata, a local NGO, to distribute food packets to 140 people at the market yard and Gultekdi areas of Pune. “We gave white caps to labourers in the market yard to shield them from scorching sun during summer. Around 240 bottles of blood were collected at blood donation camps under Project Mahadaan during Rotaract Week in partnership with four other clubs,” he recalls.
On its first anniversary (Nov 8), the club is planning to hold interactive sessions at IT companies with the support of HR staff to sensitise their employees on mental health issues.
Thanking the parent Rotary, RC Pune Synergy, for guidance, Somani says, “Rotarians have assured us timely help including monetary support, if needed, for executing social projects.” But the main challenge for him is to “create awareness about Rotary and Rotaract among his charter members, for many of them have to be initiated into the ‘service mode’ for the first time in their life. Another issue is trying to avoid inertia through active participation in club meetings, planning and execution of projects.”
Inter District Youth Exchange
From September 22, the club hosted Rotaract delegates from RID 3232 (Chennai) and RID 3055 (Ahmedabad) for a few days as part of Inter District Youth Exchange, a grand RID 3131 programme which attracted 120 Rotaractors from 22 RI districts, apart from a Nigerian and five Russians. “IDYE was hosted by around 65 Rotaract clubs in Pune with a theme of Samyati (travelling in Sanskrit) to provide good exposure to Ganesh Utsav celebrations in Pune,” explains Somani.
Rotaract District international service director Rajdeep Mule says over 4,000 letterhead exchanges were held among Rotaract clubs and the delegates were taken to various venues of Ganesh Utsav and briefed about the significance of this religious festival in and around Pune. “While Indian Rotaractors stayed in Pune for around 3–4 days, the six foreigners enjoyed the festivity for 12 days,” he says.
On its first anniversary (Nov 8), the club is planning to hold interactive sessions at IT companies with the support of HR staff to sensitise their employees on mental health issues. “We will either put up stalls to distribute flyers on mental health or hold awareness sessions with AV presentations to forewarn the IT staff about the dangers of mental illness like depression and paranoia. We are working out the modalities,” he says.
Raghav Somani (23), a businessman, is “just happy to be a Rotaractor till 30 as I am enjoying the learning curve over the last one-and-half year. But I will definitely join my parent club, RC Pune Synergy, to expand my service activity,” he adds.