We were happy to interact with RI President Shekhar Mehta. He was interested to know about our community service projects and how we plan to expand Rotaract in our region,” says RID 3170 DRR Vishakha Pednekar, on an exciting note, talking about President Mehta’s visit to Kolhapur in October. Mehta urged the Rotaractors to do meaningful projects based on the needs of the community they serve. “His major focus was on membership growth, and he wanted the district to add 20 more Rotaract clubs to take the total to 100,” she says. He also suggested the Rotaractors to become dual members so that they enjoy the benefits of being a Rotarian too.
The district is geared up to celebrate its 50th Rotaract district conference, ‘Aura’, on March 12 and 13, coinciding with the World Rotaract Day (March 13). The event will be hosted by RAC Mapusa in Goa. “We have a huge line-up of events to commemorate the golden jubilee year. But my focus is on promoting Rotaract among the public. People are aware about Rotary but not Rotaract,” says Vishakha.
The district’s significant projects include ‘Sabla’ which focuses on menstrual hygiene and health of women. “We visit villages and rural areas and talk to women about MHM and distribute sanitary napkins to those who couldn’t afford them.”
Under Project Garaj, the Rotaractors donate used bicycles to schoolchildren in remote areas. The project was initiated by RAC Sahyadri Pashan. The club members came to know that children in Mirgaon village had to walk at least 8km daily to attend school situated in the midst of Koyna forest and there was no other mode of transport. So, many of them were irregular to school. The club came up with the idea to provide cycles to the children and the Rotaractors went about collecting used cycles from their friends and acquaintances, refurbished them and gave them to the children. So far 250 children have benefited from the project. “Now it has become a district project and we want the project to benefit at least 1,000 children,” says Vishakha. Every Rotaract club in the district is identifying remote areas where there is no proper transportation facility and providing bicycles to children to make it easy for them to ride to school and back.
The Rotaractors of RID 3170 promote literacy in villages and rural areas through the ‘Each one, teach one’ concept. They visit villages twice a week and spend time with their ‘students’ for atleast two hours daily, teaching them lessons in English, Math and Marathi. In some places the elders are included under adult literacy, says the DRR.
The Rotaractors are also keen on greening the surroundings. “At the start of the year we planted 1,000 saplings across the district. Now the task set for the Rotaractors is to nurture these plants until they grow into big trees, and also plant more saplings over the months.”
A Rotaract Entrepreneurs Network (REN) has been formed in the district on the lines of Rotary Means Business which helps to connect Rotarian-entrepreneurs on a global level. At present 80 Rotaractors of the district are members of REN, “but we are working to build a global network of Rotaractor-entrepreneurs,” she says.
On the fun side, the annual sports event hosted by RAC Krishna Valley for three days in November brought together over 200 Rotaractors and several more to cheer them. Rtn Kishor Lulla inaugurated the sports meet and DGN Nasir Borsadwala was the chief guest for the valedictory.
Earlier during June-July when several places in the district were hit by heavy floods, Rotaractors of RAC Lote rose up to the occasion and assisted in emergency rescue activities. They dealt with the aftermath of the disaster by pitching in to redevelop destroyed homes, and distributed essential items such as groceries, household articles and clothes to 4,000 flood victims. Other Rotaract and Rotary clubs helped with financial support and material.
Over 50 people were treated for various ailments at a homeopathy medical camp organised at Vengurla by RAC Homeopathy College. The club members visited the Jivhala Sevashram, an old age home, and conducted tests for diabetes, haemoglobin count, ECG and blood pressure, and gave them medicines. They also did physiotherapy for the elderly residents of the home.