Vapi Rotaractors focus on village development

Rotaract Club of Vapi, RID 3060, has adopted Sangadipada, a hamlet located in the interior part of Valvada, 10km from Vapi, Gujarat. The village is populated with around 1,000 people and the men are daily wage earners employed in a factory nearby. There are two government schools here — one primary with around 60 students and the other, a higher secondary school with an enrolment of 250 children. “We launched ‘Project Samarth’ this year to support the education of the students in these two schools,” says club president Pooja Shah who had decided on developing this hamlet last year even before she took over as club president. She got to know about Sangadipada during a visit to her family-owned chemical factory. “The workers told me about how underdeveloped it was and immediately I decided to provide whatever possible support I can through my club.”

RAC Vapi president Pooja Shah with a little boy after gifting him a sweater.
RAC Vapi president Pooja Shah with a little boy after gifting him a sweater.

The primary school had just two teachers. So the Rotaractors began frequenting the village to teach the students. “We were so drawn by their enthusiasm that we started visiting them during all festivals and commemorative days such as Teachers’ Day, Children’s Day, Independence Day etc and educate the children about the significance of such days,” she says.

The club members conducted a survey to ascertain the students’ needs. “We met the village sarpanch Satish and the teaching faculty in both the schools to understand the schools’ needs and the students’ challenges,” adds Pooja.

A young participant in a colouring competition organised by the club.
A young participant in a colouring competition organised by the club.

To begin with, the Rotaractors distributed literacy kits comprising colouring books, guides and stationery to the children. Various competitions such as elocution, debate and essay writing are conducted by the club to improve the self-confidence in the children. “The parents and elders are also happy with the knowledge their children gain through our visits,” she says.

Rotaractors celebrate a religious festival with the villagers.
Rotaractors celebrate a religious festival with the villagers.

More recently the club, with the support of their parent club RC Vapi, distributed sweaters to the villagers.

The Rotaractors planted saplings on the school campuses and distributed some to the villagers, encouraging them to plant and nurture them around their homes. “We visit the village frequently and educate the residents about various aspects such as keeping their surroundings clean and caring for the environment. We teach them lessons in personal hygiene and the importance of supporting their children’s education,” she says.

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The club had spent about ₹30,000 on this phase of the project since July and it was all pooled in by the members. Next the club plans to set up a library and drinking water facility, renovate toilets and develop the playground in the schools in the coming months. Two Rotarians of RC Vapi have each committed to sponsor construction of a block and fencing the perimeter around the school. “Our dream is to make the schools so beautiful that every child in the village is inspired to come and learn.”

Club president Pooja interacting with children in the village.
Club president Pooja interacting with children in the village.

A medical camp and adult literacy programme are also planned for the villagers. “We did a fundraiser through which we have collected ₹85,000 and we intend spending it for the betterment of the villagers,” says the president of this 52-member community-based club.

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