In a touching gesture, RID 3211, under its Project Parinayam (evolution), sponsored the marriage of 30 disabled couples at the Camelot Convention Centre, Alleppey, in a mega community wedding.
Each couple got a gold mangalsutra, cash award of ₹30,000 and travel allowance of ₹5,000 from the sponsors. “Rotary clubs and individuals gifted household articles and appliances worth ₹30,000 as well as grocery items to each couple,” says DG K Babumon. MP A M Ariff, MLA P P Chitharajan, and municipal officials attended. “While some sat on the wheelchairs, others were supported by walkers, crutches to exchange garlands and tie the sacred thaali. Two blind couples were supported by Rotarians for tying the nuptial knot.”
M V Jayadaly, chairperson, Kerala State Handicapped Persons’ Welfare Corporation, herself a victim of polio, said, “Never have I attended a community marriage for the physically-challenged held on such a grand scale.”
Some of the district’s Rotarians have promised to give jobs to some of the handicapped persons. Event chairman P S Sreedharan, district trainer PDG K P Ramachandran Nair and past governors attended the mass wedding.
In another initiative, Project Amritam, a medical camp for school students for eye-screening, ear-testing and dental check-up, has already screened five lakh students from 1,200 private and government schools across the five revenue districts of southern Kerala, said the DG.
So far, 156 clubs had executed Amritam camps with tagline ‘Healthy and happy children’. As the district clubs have “already crossed our initial targets, we will now cover 50,000 more students through these medical camps. As on March, we have distributed 50,000 spectacles to those with vision defects; and 100 hearing aids to students with ear problems.
Amritam has conducted workshops/counselling sessions against drug abuse and on career guidance. Till March, the clubs have done such awareness sessions in 700 government schools, benefitting over one lakh students. So far, 250 RO water units were installed at government schools.
Another flagship initiative is Project Valsalyam (compassion) in which 50 meritorious girl students from underprivileged families are pursuing MBBS with the entire fees and other expenses being sponsored by the clubs. “Free coaching is being given to 100 students for competitive exams like IPS, IAS and IRS; in all 75 clubs are doing Project Valsalyam that enables youth to achieve their academic goals for a bright career,” says Babumon.
Reaching out to disabled children, Project Amritahastham (helping hand) has distributed hearing aids, wheelchairs, walking sticks and mobile phones, all worth ₹1 crore, to 1,500 beneficiaries in a joint project with the National Career Service Centre (NCSC) of the Union government.