Networking and leveraging the district grant projects have helped RC Dimapur, RID 3240, a relatively small club with 63 members in Nagaland, to overcome the constraints of distance and remoteness to reach out to 109 Naga children suffering from congenital heart diseases. “Through Gift of Life, a global grant project, we had sent children below 12 years to Fortis Hospital and National Heart Institute, both in New Delhi, in partnership with a Delhi club since 2006–07. Later on, district project, Heart-to-Heart, helped us to send poor children to the Durgapur Mission Hospital, near Kolkata,” says Pradip Kumar Jain, chair, paediatric heart surgeries.
Having marked the club’s golden jubilee last year (2021–22) with marquee events, Jain, who is also the club’s Foundation chair, says, “we get around 15–20 requests from families of children having congenital heart defects each year. Such heart disease is more prevalent in the lower economic strata of Nagaland society. But we have just two hospitals in the entire northeast and the cost of surgery here is prohibitive.” So, after the district project got over, the club continued with the Heart-to-Heart programme after tying up with the Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Hospital, Raipur. PDGs Ashok Agarwal, RID 3240, and Shashi Varvandkar, RID 3261, took up all the “support work for us to sustain this very critical project for Naga children,” says Jain. Over the last four years, 48 children underwent surgery at the Raipur hospital where “everything is free and they don’t ask for any back papers or medical reports. Food, lodging and other facilities are all given free at the Sathya Sai hospital.” Dr Atul Prabhu, cardiac surgeon from the Raipur hospital, visited the club in 2018 and again this year for screening children in need of surgery.
First matching grant
A youth educational centre with two computers was set up with a matching grant (₹2 lakh) in 2003, thanks to its global partner RC North Phoenix, US, RID 5490, and TRF. The centre trained around 250 youth in basic computer skills in a year. “We also got a district grant of ₹2 lakh and by the time we wound up this centre in 2018, we had 15 computers and trained close to 4,000 students.”
Some of its permanent facilities — three drinking water kiosks (₹24 lakh); a public toilet (₹10 lakh); and six Happy Schools at an overall cost of ₹40 lakh — have brought visibility to the club in this area. “All the Happy Schools have now got handwash stations, libraries, and renovated compound walls, thus benefitting 2,500 children in Dimapur,” says Jain. The club holds an artificial limb fitment camp (lower limbs) each year. It has distributed prosthetics to 800 amputees in the last 20 years.
Recalling a mammoth project, club president Manish Kumar Jain says, “a week-long mega medical camp was conducted at the district hospital, Dimapur, in 2015–16. Around 7,000 patients were screened and over 200 eye surgeries were done. All the facilities including food and accommodation were taken care of by the club.”
Speaking at the golden jubilee event, RID A S Venkatesh urged the Dimapur Rotarians to aim for grand projects “which will make a big difference to your community. You have to expand the scale and reach of the service for the remote people in Nagaland to benefit.” The then DG Dr Mohan Shyam Konwar, Golden Jubilee Committee chair PDG Chandu Agarwal and then club president Bajrang Bucha were among those present.