Grabbing the rare opportunity to meet Rotaractors and Rotarians in person after a Covid-induced gap of two years, the members of RAC Hailakandi, RID 3240, made it a grand occasion by hosting a two-day zonal conference-cum-assembly titled Appayan. It was an eclectic mix of interactive sessions, guest lectures, fun and fellowship that included Bollywood musicals and Bengali folk arts that regaled around 60 Rotaractors from the district, seven Rotarians from the parent RC Hailankandi and members from the Inner Wheel club.
Two sessions were chaired by Rtn Dr Sandipan Dhar and DRR-elect Sandip Das on various issues related to Rotary-Rotaract synergy and “how Rotaractors can contribute to the work of Rotarians to mark a difference in the world,” says Rtr Nilanjan Das, ZRR and the contact person at RAC Hailakandi.
Addressing the conclave, DRR Rajarshi Sinha focused on his Rotaract theme “rejuvenate and retain” and called upon the clubs to attract new members by taking up impactful projects that enhance their public image in the society. “Rotaractors are doing a fantastic job, but we need to further expand our work to increase our membership which will ultimately benefit the society,” he said. AG Rtn Harikishore Chanda was the chief guest at the zonal meet, while local MLA Jakir Hussain Laskar, the guest of honour, was briefed on the various initiatives of Rotaract clubs across the district.
A monthly diabetes check-up camp at the S K Roy Memorial Old Age Home in Katlicherra on the outskirts of Hailakandi benefits around 30–40 people including the inmates of the home. “We also distribute nutritious food packets to the residents of this village and cater to the needs of around 25 elders at the S K Roy Home,” says Das. “We reach out to villages around Hailakandi after identifying the needs of the rural, impoverished families. Recently, we distributed new and old clothes to over 500 plantation workers at a tea estate in Narsingpur, 10km from the city.”
If everything goes as planned, “we will be organising Runbhoomi, a cricket tournament for schools in and around Hailakandi, in mid-February. Last time, we had 24 school teams competing with enthusiasm and this year, we expect around 30 teams to take part in this 10 overs-each-side contest,” says club president Kaushik Chakraborty.
So far, the club has given around 1,000 sanitary pads to rural women and “in future we plan to hold a medical camp at the site of our pad distribution. Rural families will be screened for general ailments at these health camps.” With a large number of Bengalis, 85 per cent of the population in Hailakandi, 315km southeast of Guwahati, the Rotaractors celebrate Durga puja, Eid and Diwali by hosting culturals, prize distribution and amusement events. “We used to give prizes to winners of the best stage (pandal), lighting and Durga stall competitions. But due to Covid lockdown, we could not do it last year,” says Chakraborty. His club got the Best Club Introduction Award at the two-day district conference titled ‘Uttoron’.
While the new mandatory rule of annual dues for Rotaractors ($5 per individual for institution-based clubs, $8 for community clubs) from July 1 is a challenge, “we are confident that our members will pay the fee. We are yet to discuss the issue in our club meeting and 4–5 student members have to be convinced about this new RI rule,” opines club president. With 43 members, the club has inducted eight new Rotaractors this year and “we will add another 3–4 members in the next five months.”