RAC Mulund South, RID 3141, is a 16-year-old club with 90 Rotaractors. “Ours is one of the oldest clubs in the district with Rotaractors in the age group 16–31,” says club president Archie Chhadwa (22) who joined the club three years ago. “Many of our members have been with the club for over eight years now,” she adds. Quiz her about the club’s significant projects, and she promptly rolls out several, some ongoing and some new. “We have so far executed 60 projects — offline and online — in this quarter. It is all about impacting lives which is the foundation of Rotary. Even if we can impact one life a day, we have made one step ahead, and we can go to bed peacefully,” she says.
The club’s Dabbawala project is clearly the members’ favourite, going by the enthusiasm with which Archie talks about it. The club feeds children and pavement dwellers with a variety of food cooked by the Rotaractors themselves. “Our cooking has improved in the process and many first-timers have also developed interest in the art,” she says. About 15–20 Rotaractors meet up in one of their homes over weekends and cook dishes such as missal pav, upma, poha, vada pav, sabudhana khichdi, dabeli, pav bhaji, chole pav etc. “Two days ago, we made masala rice and distributed it to 100 children.” Rotarians too join the group at times. The Rotaractors bond over the shared work such as cutting vegetables and washing dishes and “there is so much fun and laughter,” adds the president.
Under Project Parivardhan the club members have adopted a village near Badlapur to help the villagers in various ways. Generally they visit them once every quarter “but if there is something they need urgently then we would attend to it immediately. For instance, they wanted tubelights for their homes and school, and some of our Rotaractors visited the village with the fittings,” says Archie. It is an ongoing project over the last four years and the club has donated sewing machines, ceiling fans, blankets and many other essential items. Children are given books, stationery kits, toys and dresses. Pre-loved clothes are collected and washed by the Rotaractors, and are given to the villagers. “We celebrate Diwali and Christmas with them every year.”
We have so far executed 60 projects — offline and online — in this quarter. It is all about impacting lives which is the foundation of Rotary.
— Archie Chhadwa, president, RAC Mulund South
Project Sole Purpose is a new project launched by the club president this year. Old shoes are collected from people. They are refurbished and donated. Through Project Aanchal the club is in the process of raising funds to provide baby weighing machines and infantometers to anganwadis in Bhiwandi. The club has received quotations and is in the process of shortlisting vendors. “We are particular that we want to give good quality machines as it involves babies,” she says
Under Project Nari, another ongoing project, the club focusses on women’s empowerment by organising workshops. Recently a self-defence workshop was organised for children in an orphanage where they were taught ways to handle various kinds of assaults. Through Project Second Innings, the Rotaractors reach out to the elderly in old age homes.
During the recent monsoons the club members distributed piping hot tea and biscuits early morning to autorickshaw/taxi drivers, police personnel, sanitary workers and street vendors through Ek Cutting Chai. “People were happy with our thoughtful initiative as the chai-biscuit combo was a welcome treat on a rainy day,” smiles Archie.
Every month the club members visit the Thane Regional Hospital which treats mentally-challenged people. They entertain the patients with music, dance and games to “make them relax and unwind,” under Project Anokhe.
Under Project Chairoscuro, an ongoing project to celebrate wellness, the club engaged 430 students of two schools for two days in various fun-filled activities such as tattoo drawing, face designing, mandala art, yoga, quilling, self-defence etc through 10 sessions. “We had seven trainers and we, along with the children, enjoyed the programme and learnt a lot.”
The club helped organise a fun fair at the Rotary Mulund School for the Deaf where the hearing-impaired children organised stalls, and designed entertainment and games. Mehendi stalls manned by the school students were a big draw and so were the food counters. “It was an amazing mela entirely managed by the students. We only gave them the idea and funds,” says the president.
Not to leave the animals behind, the Rotaractors fed cucumbers and carrots to cows at a goshala at the beginning of the year under their Project Chaara Daan. “They did eat the vegetables. After all, it is healthy food,” smiles Archie.