Transforming rural Telangana
Every day is a motivation and learning experience for Raja Sekhar Reddy as “my clubs have taken up mega village betterment initiatives under Project Grama Vikas,” after doing a need assessment study in their adopted villages, he says. Happy Schools, uprading PHCs, tree plantation drives, a no-plastic campaign, awareness on conserving water, soil test for farmers and agri experts mentoring farmers on growing profitable, sustainable crops, are some of the highlights of Grama Vikas.
At present, 64 clubs are into village development projects in a phased manner. “Most of the funding is through member contributions and donations from philanthropists who have migrated from these villages.” In a day, around 800 Rotarians are doing field trips to monitor village programmes. Existing amenities like burial grounds and community centres are being revamped, while new facilities like parks, walking tracks and cement benches are being created. A dialysis centre (10 machines) was set up at the St Joseph General Hospital, Guntur, with a CSR grant of ₹1.5 crore; while a colour doppler CT scan was installed at the MNJ Cancer Hospital, Hyderabad, with a grant of ₹46 lakh from BHEL-GE.
The two cancer screening buses, flagged off last year, have detected over 1,000 cases of cancer in patients at 85 special camps. His TRF-giving target is $650,000. Among other initiatives, 1,500 bicycles were given to girl students and 600 sewing machines were donated to women. “Thanks to Grama Vikas, villages now seek Rotary’s help instead of politicians to meet their basic necessities,” he smiles.
Demystifying GG process for clubs
In the history of RID 3160, hardly 6–7 global grant projects would have been done till now, estimates DG Vommina Sathish Babu whose family has been involved in Rotary service for around 70 years. “Lack of proper knowledge on the process of GG application and unawareness about the need to contribute big to TRF, in order to avail DDFs as matching amount, are the major hurdles,” he says.
Babu has set up a 19-member grants management team with a three-year tenure so that clubs can know more about the GG process. “The team members were trained through the e-learning centre of rotary.org.” Now they are out in the field doing community assessment to identify potential GG projects.
Through his initiative, cervical cancer equipment (GG: $40,000) and neonatal diagnostic devices ($33,000) were donated to two trust hospitals in Davangere.
Inspired by his father, Rtn Vommina Subramaniam, Babu joined Rotary in 1997. “My parents took me to a number of fellowship events and projects which impressed me as a child. My wife and two daughters are passionate Rotarians too. All my family members are Paul Harris Fellows.” Both he and his wife are major donors, and he is the first person in RID 3160 to create an endowment fund for $25,000 named ater his parents. His target for TRF giving is $250,000 and he wants to start four cause-based and eight traditional clubs.
Project Gram Kalyan in 100 villages
Just being a member of the “one of the world’s largest service organisations and contributing to projects that change the lives of millions of people motivates me,” says DG Shrikant Indani. After finishing his college, he became a Rotaractor in 1997 and a Rotarian in 2006.
As DG, he has conceived Gram Kalyan project which strives to usher in “visible changes in the lives of villagers.” All the 105 clubs have adopted a village where multidisciplinary projects are taken up to provide clean drinking water, better education to children, access to medical services, and empowering women and girls. The ambitious Gram Kalyan projects are funded by a mix of member contributions, CSR and global grants.
From February, over 100 minor surgical camps are being conducted for about 10,000 patients, he says. His target for TRF giving is $1.2 million, “but we are aiming to achieve $1.5 million.” PRIP Kalyan Bannerjee and PDG Ashish Ajmera are his role models in Rotary. “Both are down-to-earth and humble personalities, but they are towering leaders of Rotary India. And they still continue to do great service,” says Indani. After demitting office, “I want to continue my Rotary service under higher assignments at senior RI level.” He is confident of inducting 800 new members in this year.
Major clubs in RID 3060 have set up permanent projects, “which I call temples of humanity as they serve the communities throughout the year without any break,” he adds.
Rallies for public causes
The Save Cauvery rally in Feb last week will aim to stop the chemical effluents and other pollutants let into the river at Mettur and nearby villages. “We will create awareness on river pollution which is alarming and expect over 1,000 participants at this runathon,” says Saravanan.
Earlier, they held a walkathon in Hosur to focus on healthcare; and a marathon in Salem with the support of local police to create awareness on drug menace. “Around 3,000 people across age groups ran in 5km and 10km categories ensuring good public image for us,” he says. He joined Rotary in 1990 at the age of 25 “drawn by the friendship, fellowship and service opportunities it offers us. Later on, I learnt that Rotarians strive to help the underprivileged by doing good through service projects.”
Five dialysis centres will be set up at government hospitals (GG: $175,000) in a phased manner. “Already, our clubs are running dialysis centres at GHs in Salem, Hosur, Tiruchengode and Kumarapalayam. RC Namakkal has its own facility with five units.” Cervical and breast cancer detection equipment will be donated to 10 hospitals under Project Malar with a CSR grant of $210,000. He aims to collect $750,000 for TRF. All the 19 zones hold new member orientation sessions led by their AGs “so that we have committed Rotarians.” While the district RYLA in Jan had 62 Rotaractors and youth, RYLAs are being conducted at the zone and regional levels as an ongoing programme.