Rotary Club of Chandigarh, RID 3080, executed 75 humanitarian projects in five days to commemorate 75 years of India’s freedom. These projects, categorised under five divisions — physical/mental health, academic and creative activities, and awareness sessions — were performed at Saketri Colony, a slum area in the city with 650 residents.
The club has been focusing on various developmental programmes for the people here since 2018. “It all began on a cold winter New Year’s night in 2016 when we, along with our mentor Usha Saboo, went to the slum to distribute woollen blankets. Deeply affected by the plight of the people there, Usha suggested that we focus on a holistic development of the colony,” said project chairperson Neenu Vij. Two years later in 2018, the club began working on programmes that included health and hygiene, education, advocacy and skill development. After-school coaching classes are conducted for 120 children from the colony and the club members celebrate festivals with the residents. Resource persons from SEWA, an NGO, and Bhavan’s Vidyalaya work with the club to provide support.
To celebrate Independence Day this year Neenu and Dr Seema Gupta, project co-chair, along with SEWA coordinator Simranjit Singh, decided to reach out to the colony residents with 75 welfare projects over five days. Usha and PRIP Rajendra Saboo immediately agreed to the plan and extended financial support, said Neenu. All members contributed their bit for the projects. “The benevolent Rotarians contributed funds, and the doctors, teachers and artists in our club contributed their skills. It was a perfect teamwork which helped in creating a festive ambience.”
Sports and quiz competitions, workshops on creative thinking, drawing, wax painting and clay modelling for children; and sessions on financial literacy, health and personal grooming for women and adolescent girls; and dance and music competitions were some of the notable programmes. The residents were sensitised on basics such as traffic rules, substance abuse, ethics and moral values, etiquette and personal hygiene. Budding artists from the colony were taken to an exhibition of the artworks and paintings at the Lalit Kala Akademi, Chandigarh chapter.
The ‘Har ghar bageecha’ (a nursery in every house) campaign organised by the club was a big hit among the children. They were thrilled to have their own library and plants, and a birthday decorations bank. The club members donated books to inculcate reading habit in the children and encouraged them to exchange the books among themselves after reading. The colony residents cheered for the winners of the ‘Saketri Queen’ and ‘Healthy Baby’ contests.
“These five days gave us an opportunity to interact closely with the colony residents, giving us an insight into what they actually need and how we can help them grow,” said Neenu.