With our help and support, hopefully we can slowly arrest migration of villagers to cities. Many of our villages are dying, and have been neglected for long. We want to improve this scenario,” says DG Talla Rajasekar Reddy, RID 3150. Of the 113 Rotary clubs in the district, 64 clubs are actively involved in the district’s signature project — Grama Vikas — a village adoption programme which, he says, will be continued for the next two years. Setting up libraries, check dams, renovating schools, public health centres and anganwadis, and organising medical and veterinary camps, are some of the service projects executed by Rotary clubs in closeby villages.
Recalling his visit to Mallempudi village supported by RC Tadepalli, the DG says that he was “overwhelmed when a family greeted me and my team with a bunch of bananas, tamarind, organic turmeric and lots of other homegrown vegetables and cereals. I was moved beyond words as they thanked us profusely.” The club has set up a library in the village school, dug a borewell and built a check dam. An RCC with 20 villagers has also been installed in the village.
I was moved beyond words when a family greeted me and my team with a bunch of bananas, tamarind, organic turmeric and lots of other homegrown vegetables and cereals.
– DG Talla Rajasekhar Reddy, recalling his visit to a village
Rotary clubs in RID 3150 have done service projects worth ₹50,000 to ₹10 lakh in each of these villages solely through member contributions, says the governor. “These Rotary projects have created remarkable transformation in the villages, with the result that the villagers are more comfortable in communicating with Rotarians than going to politicians for their needs.”
One of his favourite projects was a wedding ceremony facilitated by RC Bapatla for a woman from an underprivileged family in its adopted village, Adarshnagar. “It was a spontaneous gesture where all Rotarians pitched in with gifts worth ₹1.5 lakh. The club’s Grama Vikas chairman sponsored the mangalsutra, another Rotarian gifted the wedding sari, a club member took care of the catering and others gifted basic items needed by the couple for setting up a new home.” The club also constructed rachabandha, a wide granite platform at a cost of ₹2 lakh, to host village gatherings. A dental check-up camp was organised for the villagers and pushcarts were given for their livelihood support. An RO plant, bicycles for schoolchildren and a vocational training centre in the village are in the pipeline.
The district has arranged two cancer screening buses and a mobile eye clinic to visit the villages and patients are taken to the nearest city hospitals for further treatment. “Sapling plantation, campaigns against plastic use and renovation of schools and crematoriums are done in many of these villages,” adds the DG.
RC Secunderabad Cantonment led by Ramani Rao set up a vocational centre at Thimmajipalli village to train women in tailoring. One group of women will be taught to make reusable sanitary pads and “we will provide them the raw material and help market the pads made,” says Ramani. It will be a joint project with RC Smart Hyderabad. The club constructed wash stations, renovated toilets in the village school and has undertaken to pay extra salary to the support staff. “It was a fun-filled day when 11 of us, along with our Rotaractors, drove to the village. We conducted a rangoli competition for the women, and involved the villagers and students in a mega sapling plantation programme on the school premises,” she adds. The club has plans to provide soil testers and fertilisers to increase the crop yield in the village, and make it plastic-free.
Eleven youngsters from a village adopted by RC Smart Hyderabad have found placement after attending a vocational training programme organised by the club. “Our members have appointed them as accounts executives, computer operators and collection agents in their companies,” says the club’s past president Anita Reddy.
RC Nizamabad has provided a 500-litre RO plant, renovated a toilet block in a school and distributed books and school bags at Lingasamudram. DG Reddy inaugurated a 1,000-litre RO plant set up by RC Ongole Central at the Thimanapalem village. The club also sponsored farming equipment, fertilisers and cattle feed in the village.
RC Parchur Central installed an RCC, and constructed a check dam at its adopted village Nagulapalem and the RCC members contributed ₹2,000 each to repair the roads there. RC Guntur Vikas provided 10 cement benches at Ananthavarappadu village.
The clubs sign an MoU with the local panchayats before undertaking development activities in the villages to avoid clash with government programmes, says Anita. “Now the name Rotary is familiar with the villagers across the district. It fills us with so much warmth when they receive us lovingly and treat us as family every time we visit the village,” she smiles, quoting Mahatma Gandhi’s words — India lives in her villages.