Rotaract fundraisers help communities

Come June, the Rotaractors of RAC Chennai Towers, RID 3232, will be all set to provide better huts to the Irula tribe living on the outskirts of Chennai, thanks to an ongoing fundraiser. The club’s dedication to community service over the past nine years has also earned them a valuable donor who is ready to extend financial support to renovate the huts of the tribal people.

Children of the Irula tribe pose for a photograph.
Children of the Irula tribe pose for a photograph.

Club president Sivaranjani Babu came across the community living in dire straits on the city’s outskirts at a village named Pazhaiyanoor near Chengalpattu. They have been ostracised by the villagers and are living in isolation, she says. When she conveyed this to her club the members readily decided to help.

For years, the club, under their project Conquerors, has been into designing monthly sheet calendars featuring women achievers from various fields and these calendars, priced at ₹250 each, are readily bought by NGOs and other Rotary/Rotaract clubs. The proceeds from its sale is used to fund a service project every year. This year’s sale of calendars will help to renovate the huts of 25 Irula tribals. “The huts are in a pathetic shape and would just collapse any moment. So we discussed with the tribals and decided to strengthen the huts and provide a stronger roof using cement sheets,” she says. Each hut would need at least 15–20 sheets. The total cost of the project is ₹2.5 lakh.

Since last year the club has been conducting Ranchana, a mega painting competition for young children from all walks of the society across the city. Mentors are engaged to teach the fine aspects of art to the participants. Drawing kits are provided to all participants by the club. This year the Rotaractors invited 35 children of the Irula families to participate in the painting competition. Transport was arranged to bring the children to the venue in Chennai and drop them back at their homes. “The children had such a memorable experience that day. They were happy to exhibit their drawing skills and return home with a bag of goodies that we gifted to every participant,” she says.

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Fundemic, born out of the Covid pandemic last year, is another fundraiser programme of the club aimed at helping with education of schoolchildren. “We named it Fundemic to raise funds for the Covid pandemic victims. Last year when we started it was an online event. We had a stand-up comedy show and we raised ₹50,000 in a week through ticket sale.” Part of the funds was used to provide groceries and basic essentials to Street Vision, an orphanage, and the remaining amount was spent on a transgender community who were uprooted by the government from their dwelling place within the city and relocated to Semmandur on the city’s outskirts. “We helped them with the basic essentials, medicines and some cash.”

The huts are in a pathetic shape and would just collapse any moment. So we discussed with the tribals and decided to strengthen the huts.

This year the club had organised a variety of performing arts events by budding artists at the auditorium of Saveetha College of Business Management, and it had a good footfall earning the club ₹80,000. The fundraiser helped to support 380 children from a Sri Lankan refugee camp in Gummidipoondi near Chennai. “We gave them school essentials and set up a basic library for them at a local tuition centre. Our parent club sponsored the school fees for 10 children from below-poverty-line families. We had other donors too to support us,” says Sivaranjani, who works for an NGO that takes care of children of terminally ill parents or HIV victims.

DRCC Sesha M Sai and Col Lakshmanakumar, Youth Services director of RC Chennai Towers, presided over the Fundemic event this year.

The parent club is a huge support to the Rotaractors and pitches in with ideas and monetary help. The Rotaract club was chartered nine years ago and presently it has 80 members, a mix of students and working professionals.

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