As Rotary’s youth movement, Rotaract is grappling with the mandatory RI dues from July 2022, here is a club, RAC Karur, RID 3000, whose members, consisting of traders and professionals, are willing to pay an extra ₹1,000 per head annually to raise their club membership fee to ₹3,000 so that it takes care of monetary obligations to Rotary International.
This Rotaract club does not have a single student, teacher or a doctor. Don’t be surprised as it is a community-based club catering to the interests of traders and businessmen in Karur, the textile city of Tamil Nadu. “We have 36 active members in all, hailing from diverse trade such as jewellery, textiles, finance, training academies, architects and engineers. All of them are successful traders, second and third generation entrepreneurs carrying forward the legacy of their families,” says R Sabarish, past president, RAC Karur.
Recently they have launched a blood donation app, R4Blood, which can be downloaded from the PlayStore. “The site has listings of donors, government and private hospitals, and a range of critical care services being offered in and around Karur. The app, developed by Rtr R Jeevananthan, is tailormade to help patients in need of blood and this e-platform can be scaled up to the national level with the support of Rotary and Rotaract clubs,” he explains. An amount of ₹1.2 lakh was pooled in by members to design the mobile app.
We network with each other and mobilise funds easily for gala events, service projects and other programmes. Also, we get sponsorship as we are part of business community.
– R Sabarish, past president, RAC Karur
Project Karna which had a soft launch in March 8 during Rotaract Week offers free NEET coaching to less privileged government school students for medical entrance exam. “We tied up with Graavitons, a coaching centre, to hold classes for 200 students aspiring to become doctors.”
A number of sporting events are being held throughout the year to nurture young talent across the state. A state-level carrom tournament in Dec 2020 saw over 250 contestants and winners in men’s, women’s and doubles categories got a total prize money of ₹50,000. In March 2021, 46 teams competed at the open football tournament from all over the state and a prize money of ₹70,000 was given to the winners. “We raised ₹3.5 lakh from the football matches and donated ₹50,000 to N Hariharan, a final year medical student, for his college fees. Now he is a doctor at the Salem Government Hospital.”
Karur deputy mayor Dharani Saravanan flagged off a three-day volleyball tournament for the top eight teams in TN in the presence of municipal commissioner N Ravichandran. PRID C Basker presided over the inaugural. TN State Volleyball Association patron K Ramakrishnan and Mayor Kavitha Ganesan presided over the valedictory session.
No funding woes
As most of the Rotaractors are traders and entrepreneurs, “we network with each other and mobilise funds easily for gala events, service projects and other programmes. Also, we get sponsorship as we are part of the business community,” explains Sabarish. When queried over the new RI dues effective from July, he says, “membership dues is not a problem at all. Some Rotaractors are willing to pay more club dues to include the financial commitment to RI. As traders, we are well off and can mobilise resources and money for our programmes.”
N Baranish, architect, has taken over as the new club president (2022–23). Listing out a few projects that are being drafted, he says, “training workshops will be held to convert farm waste into charcoal briquette (WCB), a profitable business model, for the youth to reduce our carbon footprint.” A series of public campaign on 3Rs (recycle, reduce and reuse) will be taken up to create awareness on adopting a sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle.
A team of Rotaractors will visit schools under Project Agri School to engage students on the importance of agriculture so that “they appreciate the value of food chain from seed to plate and learn to grow crops.” Under Project RHAC (Rotaract Health Awareness and Consulting), a team of service-minded doctors will be empanelled to offer consultations to poor families who had registered under this Rotaract programme.
Karur has 1,500-plus Rotaractors across 18 clubs (five community-based and 13 institution-based), but 85 per cent of them are yet to register themselves at My Rotary portal which is a mandatory requirement.