When the members of RAC Duliajan, RID 3240, came together in the first week of September to form their Rotaract club, little did they think that they will be initiating a supportive disaster relief service activity in a forest village just two weeks after their club was chartered.
Laika is one of the seven little hamlets situated amidst a forest near Duliajan in Assam. Situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra these villages are prone to floods most of the year. In September Laika was submerged under water after a week-long incessant rains. The Rotaractors of RAC Duliajan were encouraged by their parent club, Rotary Club of Duliajan, to help the flood victims.
The Rotaract club ran a campaign for two weeks and collected clothes, utensils, bedsheets, mats, mosquito repellents, infant food, biscuits and all other essential items and toiletries, from across Duliajan and the members pooled in some funds to support the villagers. The parent club also lent monetary support for the relief activity. A flood relief team of Rotaractors went to Laika and distributed the material among the people. “We had to travel one hour by road and a boat-ride for four hours on the Brahmaputra river. When we reached there we were stunned. The water had drained but the people were at their wits end trying to salvage whatever they could. Their paddy fields were destroyed and they had lost almost everything,” says club president Anabil.
The team distributed relief material worth ₹1.5 lakh. “We had packed vegetables, ready-to-cook noodles, oats and cornflakes which made the flood victims happy. We had segregated the clothes gender-wise and for children, and had neatly made packets of essential items for each family,” he says. Sanitary napkins were distributed to young girls and women and the Rotaractors educated them on maintaining menstrual hygiene.
“We have chalked out a plan to provide total support to the village in all ways possible. These villages are backward because government aid do not reach them as they are not in the revenue records. So they lack basic facilities such as water, electricity, healthcare and education. We are organising a health camp there in October,” says club secretary Nibaron.
The members of this institution-based club is all set to take on more service projects including a self-defense workshop for youngsters, a mobile book bank and a cloth bank. “We still have some clothes left after the distribution at Laika and our parent club suggested that we set up a cloth bank which will help more people,” says Anabil who is pursuing his post-graduation in political science. The 40-member club has a mix of students and young entrepreneurs. n