From an Interactor to a Rotary Governor
Her rendezvous with Rotary began when she was in Class 11 in 1974. “I was charter president of the Interact club at the St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, Nagercoil, and later, a Rotaractor at the Holy Cross College during my UG and post-graduation,” recalls Jacintha Dharma. She vividly remembers her stint as staff advisor to Interactors for over 35 years. She became a member of RC Nagercoil in 2008. “It was a natural evolution as I have love and admiration for this club which sponsored my earlier Interact and Rotaract clubs.” Her husband A I Dharma is a veteran Rotarian from the same club, while her son, D Mohinth, is the charter president of RC Nagercoil Surpeme, formed last year. Both the father and son are major donors to TRF.
Jacintha is the first woman DG from the district, and second in Tamil Nadu after PDG Rekha Shetty.
Girls’ education and empowering women through vocational training will be her priority. “I want to open at least 250 small dispensaries in government schools with the help of parent-teacher associations. Each club can start such health-screening clinics in schools nearby,” she says. E-learning centres and providing drinking water in schools through RO units will be other priorities done through global and district grants.
She has devised a flagship district project called Healthy and Happy Students which will conduct around 1,000 programmes, events and workshops to improve physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual quotients of schoolchildren and college-goers.
One of her pet projects will be Family First which is based on the concept that children will excel in studies and school activities only if they have a ‘happy family’. “We will conduct seminars, workshops for parents each month and encourage clubs to hold similar events in their localities.” Jacintha is fond of RYLAs since her college days and plans to conduct “this youth conclave every month. I will encourage each club to hold club-level RYLA at regular intervals.”
Chartering 100-plus Rotaract clubs, taking its number to 175, and more than doubling the strength of Rotaractors to over 9,600 are her other priorities. She hopes to add 15 new Rotary clubs, and 1,000 Rotarians, half of them women, taking the clubs to 150 and total Rotarians to 6,000 by the end of the Rotary year. For TRF giving, she has a target of $800,000.
50 ambulances for Delhi
He will appoint 50 club advisors and entrust them with the task of forming 50 additional clubs to the prevailing 112 in the district. “We will be adding 1,500 new members to the existing strength of 4,200 in our district and those instrumental in forming a club will be given a Paul Harris Fellow status,” says Anup Mittal. He has formed two district chairs for institution and community-based Rotaract clubs — each panel will have a chairman and three members — to increase the vibrancy and strength of district Rotaractors. At present, there are around 2,500 Rotaractors and he wants to raise this to 10,000 during his tenure.
By July-end, he will be flagging off Life on Wheels Project (₹3 crore) in which 50 ambulances will take care of the emergency medical needs of people in Delhi and NCR. “The project funded by a mix of TRF and CSR grants will come with a Rotary health helpline. We already have commitment for 20 vehicles.”
Medical camps will be held throughout the year to take care of avoidable blindness in 360 villages, “which we will make 100 per cent adult literate.” For TRF giving, his target is $1 million. A third generation Rotarian, “I was inducted into Rotary by my father B P Mittal in 2008. My son PDRR Manuj Mittal is past president of RSAMDIO.” Rotary should take efforts to spread the message of good work it is doing all over the world, he says, so that “people queue up to join Rotary clubs.”
Pandemic is a blessing in disguise for clubs in coastal Andhra
The Covid pandemic has been a blessing in disguise with Rotarians taking efforts to reach out to remote villages to distribute food, medicines, Covid-relief kits and donate oxygen cylinders and concentrators to hospitals and PHCs, says M Rama Rao. “Our emergency work lifted the public image of Rotary in rural areas of Andhra where people had not heard of Rotary earlier. Also, we can now meet and discuss on projects through virtual platforms.” He is planning to start four new clubs taking the total number to 80 across the six revenue districts of coastal Andhra. He is confident of inducting 600 new members taking the headcount to well past 5,000 by the end of the Rotary year.
“The district clubs will be holding 200 blood donation camps to collect at least 10,000 units of blood in residential areas and apartment complexes,” he says. All the clubs were told to make full use of district and global grants for implementing a host of WinS projects, setting up dialysis centres, blood banks, revamping crematoriums, and other need-based programmes. Three more blood banks will be added by the end of the year to the existing five in the district.
“We will install 24 RO plants (GG: $67,500) across the district in the next two months, and provide sewing machines to 300 women (GG: $60,000) after training them through tie-up with garment manufacturers,” Rao explains. He wants to double the number of Rotaract clubs and Rotaractors to 100 and 5,000 respectively. For TRF giving, he has a target of $500,000.
He was inducted into Rotary by his classmate VVS Prasad in 1992. His club, RC Vizianagaram Central, is the youngest in the district, with over 150 of its 264 members below 45.
Improving the livelihood of farmers, villagers
Village adoption projects will be given top priority for “we want to improve the livelihood of farmers and underprivileged families in rural areas. Our clubs will adopt 25 villages and include initiatives such as drinking water supply to houses, skill training for women, laying of roads and organising de-addiction camps to wean people away from liquour there,” says Jeyakkan. He wants to do at least 50 Happy Schools across the district and organise 500 medical camps including Kannoli thittam, an eyecare project, breast-screening camps and events under Project Positive Health.
Jeyakkan will also be focusing on constructing check dams funded by a mix of global and CSR grants in 10 villages. He aims to start 25 new clubs taking the total number to 154, and induct 1,000 new members raising the headcount to above 6,000. There are 73 active Rotaract clubs, while around 150 clubs are in a moribund state. “I want to revive the dormant ones and charter new clubs, and increase the total number to 300 Rotaract clubs in the next one year, and double the number of Rotaractors to over 2,000.”
One of his pet projects, Miyawaki forests will see an addition of native species like palm tree and other indigenous varieties as “part of our drive to preserve the natural ecosystem of our villages.” His target for TRF giving is $1.2 million. In 2001, he was persuaded to join Rotary by his friend working in a bank.
Happy Villages will have transformational projects
Every single club in the district will adopt a village and all the happy 128-plus adopted villages will have transformational projects like vocational training to empower women, promotion of dairy farming, donation of livestock to provide a secure monthly income to the villagers, desilting of local lakes and ponds, and improving adult literacy, says Balaji.
“Currently there are 128 clubs and my target is to add 12 more clubs, inducting at least 1,200 members to increase the strength to 6,400 by the end of the Rotary year,” he explains.
Toilets will be built at community centres and schools as part of Happy Villages project. “We will also focus on sending back dropouts to schools and the education of poor children will be sponsored by clubs. These initiatives will lift up Rotary’s public image,” he says. An important project planned is a mammography bus worth ₹1.5 crore, that will screen at least 100,000 women in its first year. “I wish to start eight vision centres to benefit at least 500,000 patients a year.” Balaji firmly believes in this year RI’s motto Serve to Change Lives, as “Rotary can truly change the lives of underprivileged families through projects.” He has a target of $1 million in TRF giving, and plans to become an AKS member. He was inspired by the then RC Kumbakonam president Dr V C Nedunchezhian to join Rotary in 2001.