When the lockdown eases and schools reopen, children studying in 100 government schools around Bengaluru will be pleasantly surprised to walk into their schools which now sport a new look with enhanced facilities, all thanks to the Rotarians of RC Bangalore Junction, RID 3190.
During the last Rotary year (2020–21), the club provided various facilities including e-learning systems loaded with required digital content, well-stocked libraries, handwash stations, gender-specific toilets, sports and science kits, and cupboards and ceiling fans in classrooms. Saplings were planted on the campus and the buildings were given a fresh coat of paint.
“PDG Rajendra Rai encouraged us to implement this project and guided us right from the start,” said IPP Velu Pethi, adding that he had planned this project six months before his installation as club president. A seven-member committee was formed to identify schools that were in bad shape. “We identified 105 schools. But we skipped four schools which did not have a compound wall because they had a dispute with the neighbouring property owners and we did not want to get into legal issues. One was inside a mosque and the authorities were not very keen to take our help,” he said.
Contribution for the Happy Schools project came from the 156 club members, crowdfunding and district grants. Pethi pitched in with 10 per cent of the total project cost. The Menda Foundation supported the project with 20 per cent funding and e-learning kits. “RILM helped us with books for the libraries. Many other NGOs and corporates such as Larsen & Toubro also extended their support.” While the initial quote was ₹2.5 crore, “we got the cost down to ₹1.75 crore because of the volume,” said Pethi.
RILM chair, PRID Kamal Sanghvi inaugurated the 100 schools on a virtual platform in April in the presence of RID Mahesh Kotbagi, the co-chair of RILM; PRID Bharat Pandya; the then DG Nagendra Prasad; DGN Jeetendra Aneja; PDGs Rajendra Rai and K P Nagesh; Chatru Menda of Menda Foundation; Arvind Garg from L&T; Bhagya Rangachar, founder of the NGO Children’s Lovecastles Trust, and representatives from other corporates.
The club is now all set to transform another 100 schools into Happy Schools this year. “Already we have ₹16 lakh in our kitty. My successor Ajay Bhauwala has the blueprint in place and our vendors know our requirements now,” said Pethi.