Rotary clubs flourish in Mumbai’s housing societies
Three years ago, RC Mumbai Lower Parel was formed in a Mumbai housing society. It set a trend in forming new clubs and driving membership. “Forming Rotary clubs in high-rise buildings, gated communities (GCs) and housing societies was initiated by me to increase membership, and this has become a craze,” says Rajendra Agarwal. He shares this “success formula” of forming vibrant clubs with district governors whenever possible. “Members of such clubs don’t have to step out of their gated premises, or travel a long distance for weekly meetings; and can hold events and programmes there,” he beams.
Agarwal plans to add 10 new clubs and 1,000-plus new members taking, their respective numbers to 127 and over 7,000 in the district. In Rotaract, 1,500 new members and 20 new clubs are planned through weekend events/programmes. Over the last five years, Agarwal has coordinated around 3,000 paediatric heart surgeries on children, and plans 1,500 this year. Each surgery costs around ₹1 lakh, and this is a GG project. Through a mix of GG and member contributions, 25 lakh fruit-bearing saplings will be donated to farmers in Palghar. Over 20,000 cataract surgeries at special camps; fitting of 1,000 Jaipur limbs; and 20,000 bottles of blood are on the cards.
His TRF target is $3 million. Agarwal was introduced to Rotary by Rtn Ajay Goel in 1992. Later on, “I was inspired by PDGs Dr Bal Inamdar and Shrirang Prabhu to climb the ladder of Rotary hierarchy.”
Rotaract gets a booster shot
A self-motivated Rotarian, this former Army colonel wanted to join a social service organisation “after I retired from the Army in Feb 2009, when one of my colleagues introduced me to Rotary. From then on it has been an exciting journey.” Comprising 23 revenue districts of western MP and two regions of Gujarat, Mishra is giving a big push to Rotaract membership.
“So far, 13 new Rotaract clubs have been formed, five awaiting charter; and this will push up membership to over 2,500 Rotaractors, a 300 per cent growth.” By next June the target for Rotaract is 3040, and for Rotary 3040 from the present 2,649. During the charter presentation for RAC Oriental Indore Navalakha, 646 Rotaractors were inducted. “Many of the newly-installed clubs have more than 100 Rotaractors.”
Five dialysis centres, attached to government and charitable hospitals, are being planned (GG: $175,000). Two ICU on Wheels, a mobile cardiac unit, in Gujarat and Jhabua town, MP, with a GG of $40,000 and 10–15 Happy Schools with CSR funding are being planned. Health check-up, eye-screening, dental and diabetes camps are being held through the year. “We will be holding around 850 medical camps catering to rural families.” His target for TRF giving is around $250,000.
“The challenge of retention is being tackled at all levels, from the top to the club-level. The RI leadership is also supervising the growth of membership in India and club presidents are taking care of this issue,” he says.
“Let us maintain the elite nature of Rotary”
As an elite NGO, “Rotary needs to preserve its class and formulate policies to attract quality membership. In recent years, clubs have grown by adapting to rapid changes. The focus must be on inducting new members with intellectual capacity and right attitude to steer our clubs,” says Rajiv Singhal. He plans to charter six new clubs, of which two have been formed, taking the strength to 112 by June next year. Another 300 new members will take the figure to 2,600-plus, he says.
He is aiming to form at least 10 new Rotaract clubs. For the first time, his district will be taking up child heart surgeries in a big way. “I am targeting at least 50 surgeries for children and these will be sponsored by me (about ₹50 lakh) through private agencies,” says Singhal. Ten Happy Schools will be done at government schools through member contributions.
Another mega project is “gender-specific toilets (50 blocks) in schools which will be funded through a mix of GG ($32,000) and member donations. We have already done 20 such toilet blocks, and the rest will be completed this year.” Singhal has set a target of $41,000 for TRF giving. His father, late Rtn J D Singhal inspired him to join Rotary in 1996. “I became a charter president of RC Saket Meerut. My father is my role model.” Rotary clubs across the NCR, western UP and Uttarakhand have shown “promising growth in the last few years. We need to sustain this ‘special class’ structure and not dilute it. Rotary is for special people,” he says.
A mega Rahat camp at Srinagar in pipeline
Education of rural children and environment issues are the priority areas for Dr Upinder Singh Ghai, a laparoscopic surgeon, who is doing at least 4–5 free surgeries each month on patients referred by Rotarians. “I joined Rotary by chance in 1996 when a doctor friend took me to a dinner meeting of clubs. There I met some interesting people. What started as a fellowship turned into service for the community,” says Ghai.
He plans to induct 500 new members, charter 10 new clubs taking their strength to 3,900 and 135 respectively during his tenure. A 3-day RYLA in Manali was attended by 230 Rotaractors including 20 from Nepal. Recently, over 100 women Rotaractors were inducted at the chartering of RAC Sant Singh Sukha Singh College of Commerce for Women, sponsored by RC Amritsar Central. “My target is to add 250–300 new Rotaractors,” says Ghai. Due to terror strikes and bad weather in Srinagar, a 10-day Rahat medical camp in November was postponed. “PDG Rajiv Pradhan is coordinating with RIDs 3141 and 3142 to hold the Rahat camp next year. It will have over 50,000 patients at the OPDs, and perform over 500 surgeries,” he says.
He aims to start three dialysis centres (GG: $35,000–$40,000 each) at private hospitals. “Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi is the younger brother of PDG Manmohan Singh, RID 3080, and we are working with the state government to take up at least 10 Happy Schools.” His target for TRF giving is $200,000. His clubs mark all religious festivals by distributing saplings at gurudwaras and temples.