Rotaractors galvanise youth in Bengaluru

Rotaractors of RAC Bangalore after beautifying a wall as part of a cleanathon project.
Rotaractors of RAC Bangalore after beautifying a wall as part of a cleanathon project.

A week-long event called Pawsome invited ­Bangalore Rotaractors to post their selfies with pet animals on social media and those getting the maximum number of likes and comments were presented with goodie bags by RAC ­Bangalore, RID 3190, on Valentine’s Day. “On the next day, we visited CUPA (Compassion Unlimited Plus Action) which ­rescues and shelters stray dogs and other pets and donated an amount to meet their medical expenses for treating injured, traumatised animals,” said Joseph ­Wilson, Club President (2019–20).

Rotaractors have installed water filters in 15 schools out of our target 125 schools.  The project will  benefit 22,000 students in and around Bengaluru.

Carrying lightly on his shoulders the 51-year-old legacy of this club, the oldest in RID 3190 and sponsored by the RC Bangalore which has done milestone projects over the decades, Wilson is grateful to his parent Rotary for mentoring and also takes immense pride in some of the annual programmes and sport meets conducted by his Rotaract club that have galvanised the youth of Bengaluru. The Rotaract Football League (RFL) used to attract around 20 teams from Rotaractors, corporates and from the public as “the two-day tournament was full of competitive spirt and fun, besides shaping up local talent. This was once our flagship event, but we could not continue this for some reason,” he said.

Bengaluru couples take part in Dandiya Raas at the House of Friendship Hall on Dasara festival as it has become a ‘must-do’ schedule for the youth during this season. “We charge a nominal entry fee and get about 80–100 participants attired in traditional costumes for the colourful song and dance show that enables Rotaractors to bond with social celebrities. Awards are given to the best dressed couple, best dressed male, female, and the best dancing couple.”

Rotaractors at the CUPA centre.
Rotaractors at the CUPA centre.

After his installation on July 28, the Charter Day of RAC Bangalore, Wilson took up a project for special children at Manasa Mano Vikasa Kendra in which 30 inmates from this special home were taken to the National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA) and given a demonstration on clay modelling by artistes and curators. “We gave the children painting kits to express their ideas and give shape to their imagination,” said Abhijit Raghunathan, Club Secretary. Rotaractors along with Connect For, an NGO, cleaned up Sarakki Junction at Jayaprakash Nagar by removing garbage and filth that were dumped along a 15ft-wall that stretches to 2.5km. “The Cleanathon was supported by the BBMP staff. We beautified the entire wall by painting natural sceneries, ­sketching messages on hygiene, environment and good habits reflecting the Rotary ideals,” said Wilson.

For the third year in a row, the photography workshop had around 50 shutterbugs displaying their best work in two categories — mobile phones and DSLR cameras. “Two juries from the International Fellowship for Rotarian Photographers vetted the displays and judged the winners,” he said. The Spelling Bee for juniors in Classes 4–6 offered students from private schools to test and benchmark their ability in ­English vocabulary.


Polio camps

More than 800 children were immunised at the two polio immunisation booths the Rotaractors had put up at the Manvarthipet and Magadi Government Maternity Hospitals on National Immunisation Day. “At the end of the camp, we went to ­Chickpet, a crowded bazaar of retail shops and malls, and gave drops to children who were not immunised by randomly selecting them on the street. It was a good learning experience for all of us,” explained ­Siddharth Ganesh, Director, ­Community ­Service of the club.

Rotaractors assemble for a walkathon, a fundraiser to install water purifiers in schools.
Rotaractors assemble for a walkathon, a fundraiser to install water purifiers in schools.

Roto Quiz might well be the longest running quiz show among the clubs as “it is 60 years old and a popular event among college youths. We host it jointly with our parent Rotary,” said Wilson.


RCB’s Day Out

For 30 students from Classes 9 and 10 at Rotary Bangalore ­Vidyalaya, it was one-of-its-kind visit to ISRO complex at Marathahalli. Rtn ­Kalyani Talukder, along with six Rotaractors led by Wilson, accompanied the students on an educational trip to ISRO Satellite Integration and Test Establishment (ISITE).

Scientists at the Regional Remote Sensing Centre explained about satellite construction and remote sensing. The students and Rotaractors were taken to a spacious, hi-tech lab and server room where live feeds from satellites are extracted and processed to develop images.


Water purifiers

Following a 5-km walkathon titled Walk for Water hosted by the club in partnership with Udak Foundation, a sizeable amount was raised for installing water purifier units at government schools. “Out of the target of 125 schools, we have installed filter units at 15 schools. Once completed, the project will benefit 22,000 students in and around ­Bengaluru,” said Wilson.


Professional workshops

With 35 active Rotaractors out of a total membership of 50, the ­community-based club holds a series of professional workshops for Rotaractors to excel in their career and also pursue their passion. “We have tied up with the Bangalore Little Theatre to conduct a series of events related to stage plays, acting, script writing and related avenues. Soon, we will have a one such workshop on voice modulation,” said Raghunathan.

A monthly Speaker Series was initiated by Wilson to give insightful thoughts and suggestions on the aspirational subjects of young professionals. During its inaugural event, a panel discussion on ‘Lifecyle of a startup’ had Vinay Dora, Founder-CEO, Crowd Product, and Naini Tej, investment analyst from Speciale Invest, who gave stimulating ideas to the Rotaractors. Another expert talk on ‘Yellow collar job’ by Mala Mary Martina, founder-CEO, ‘I Love Mondays,’ is in the pipeline.


Upper age limit

Referring to the RI Board decision to do away with the upper age limit of Rotaractors, Wilson said, “the age limit of 30 must be there as otherwise older people will continue to stay in Rotaract and their views will differ with us during our Board meetings.” The decision-making process will become difficult if the age limit is removed, he averred.

However, he and other Rotaractors welcomed the introduction of nominal membership dues, but “it should be kept at the bare minimum keeping in mind the ability of college goers to pay the amount as they are not earners.” Also, the Rotaractors are optimistic on dual membership for once “we cross the age of 27–28, we will look forward to become Rotarians.”


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