It all started when I and my brother, now also a Rotaractor, and a friend Hamza Hashmi thought of joining a Rotary club. We were inspired by the contribution of Rotary to the society. But I was asked to start a Rotaract club, which is a Rotary-sponsored programme for young leaders. We started the Rotaract Club of Muzaffarpur sponsored by the Rotary Muzaffarpur in 2013.
My life has undergone a great change since I became the charter president of my club. I got amazing club members and a highly supportive parent Rotary.
We started with the adoption of an old age home called Godhuli at Muzaffarpur. I started visiting that old age home every month and we celebrated all festivals along with the villagers. We conducted regular medical check-up camps and organised cultural activities for them. Spending quality time with the people there made me very emotional sometimes. I realised then how important it is to spend time with senior citizens who were abandoned by their own families. I learnt that they just need someone to talk to and share their experiences and we can provide them the best company. I also enjoyed their company and learned so much from them. Even today I visit that home whenever I go to my hometown. That project is still close to my heart.
As I continued my journey as a Rotaractor, I came across various social aspects which really needed attention. I remember when I was working on a plantation project, many local people appreciated the good work and joined hands with us. This was just one small step but youngsters getting involved in such social work grabbed the attention of the local authorities. We also adopted a small abandoned park and renovated it. I worked at many other platforms such as an orphanage, government-aided schools, a school for the physically-challenged and did many rallies promoting the use of paper bags, awareness on education for all, awareness campaigns on HIV/AIDS, cancer and other deadly diseases.
I learnt that when you start working for the community, you start getting attention from the local media too. That’s exactly what happened with me. Soon many newspapers started publishing articles and taking interviews. This also made me a known figure in my city. What I realised is that you just need to take a small step and that one step will start a journey which lasts forever no matter what. And, if it is for a good cause, people will come forward to join and support you.
While working with the adopted Happy School, we faced so many challenges, such as inadequate library and playrooms, lack of grooming classes etc. I remember we collected around 5,000-plus books, with the help of the local people and a Rotary club, and established a library. We gave books to children from slum areas and other children who could not afford to buy books from the market. We took many personality development, grooming and career orientation classes at a government school. The best part was when the parents started appreciating our good work and started sending their children to the school.
This year as DRR, I am experiencing the best of my Rotaract journey. I find myself privileged to be the DRR of my District 3250 in the golden jubilee year of Rotaract. I learnt many great things at various training programmes in Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad. It is the teamwork that leads the district to a bright future and I am fortunate enough to get a very supportive and friendly set of capable and dynamic presidents, council members and past DRRs of my district, who are always motivating, cooperating and promoting the ideas of the district. And of course, I have got a DG with a golden heart in Vivek Kumar. All together we are serving the community.
All this happened to me when I joined this beautiful organisation, Rotaract. It is a great platform that connects youth leaders worldwide and encourages the idea of global friendship and brotherhood. It gave me a family in every part of the world. I came to know many great service-minded people in my city and other places and made many lifetime friends. While visiting other cities, I find welcoming and supportive Rotaractors all over. This journey has helped me in developing myself as a good citizen. It gave my qualities a foundation and a global platform to expand. I travel around, meet new people and explore new places, all because of Rotaract which offers an ocean of opportunities; all you need to do is take a dive.
(The writer is DRR of District 3250)