A palliative centre to mark 50 years of RC Cochin East

DRFC (2021–22) Jayashankar Raghava presents a hearing aid to a beneficiary in the presence of then AG Subramanian Sitaraman and then club president Dr Kuriakose Antony at Project Kelkamo.
DRFC (2021–22) Jayashankar Raghava presents a hearing aid to a beneficiary in the presence of then AG Subramanian Sitaraman and then club president Dr Kuriakose Antony at Project Kelkamo.

To mark its golden jubilee year (2021–22), RC Cochin East, RID 3201, has set up an Oncology Pain and Palliative Care Centre at the Indira Gandhi Cooperative Hospital, Ernakulam, at a cost of ₹50 lakh. The CSR Foundation of Muthoot Finance is the major contributor for this medical facility.

Dr V P Gangadharan, HoD, Oncology department, has approved the club’s plan to donate ₹20,000 each month to patients at the Indira ­Gandhi Hospital. The medical expenses of patients are being fully subsidised. Project Kelkamo, a five-year-old initiative, is providing hearing aids to children from less privileged families. “We have identified special schools for the hearing-impaired, and assessed their families’ financial capacity,” said Jaya ­Subramanian, club secretary.

The club is also creating awareness among parents of hearing-impaired children that they need to be given the right acoustic devices and other ­support to their children to enable them to lead a better quality of life.

Around 165 students at the ­Agostino Vicini’s Special School, Mundamveli, and the Assissi School for the Deaf, Muvattupuzha, have received hearing aids from the club. These were funded by the CSR wing of Next Education in this project.

Having realised the impact of Project Kelkamo the club applied for a global grant worth $30,000 by roping in its global partner RC Ribeirao Preto-Jardim Paulista, RID 4540, Brazil. “Apart from global grant funds, we utilised CSR funds, taking the total cost of the project to around ₹35 lakh,” said Jaya. Since 2017, hearing aids were given to 500 children. “A two-day flea market, ‘Kochi Angadi’, was held in October to raise funds and a second GG worth $30,000 was also applied for Project Kelkamo,” said club president Arun S Reddy.

 

Glorious decades

Chartered in June, 1972, the third oldest club in Kochi was formed with 14 members, with retired captain P K Alexander and Dr Thampy as charter president and secretary respectively. Both the Rotarians were ‘loaned’ to the new club from the parent RC Cochin.

With the aim to promote education and trade, the club members invited a group of Rotarians from Canada and the US who they had met at the International Rotary Convention in ­Birmingham. A matching grant of ₹1.75 lakh was received from RC Huntsville, RID 7010, Canada for starting a Trade School. “The condition was that the land should be provided by our club RC Cochin East and Rtn K Varghese donated 20 cents in memory of his late father C K Varghese,” recalled Jaya. Following the inauguration of Trade School in 1982, the club trained 30 school dropouts in wiremen course, which was recognised by the Kerala Electricity Licensing Board.

Club’s past president Dr Kuriakose Antony (centre) and other members at the inauguration of the Oncology Palliative Care Centre. Also seen is current president Arun Reddy (2nd from L) with his wife Durga Devi to his right.
Club’s past president Dr Kuriakose Antony (centre) and other members at the inauguration of the Oncology Palliative Care Centre. Also seen is current president Arun Reddy (2nd from L) with his wife Durga Devi to his right.

The club has its own Rotary hall where weekly meetings and other events are held. As part of its RCC outreach, the club adopted Nochima village near Kochi and has been conducting regular medical camps and serving that community through sustainable projects for decades. Through sustained efforts, a lower primary school without toilet and other ­sanitation facilities at Nochima was transformed into a gleaming high school with modern amenities.

During its silver jubilee year (1996–97), the club set up a Mahila Samajam Library, as well as bus shelters which gave this nondescript village a mega facelift. “Thanks to the work done by the then RCC chair late Francis our work at Nochima earned us goodwill and enhanced our public image,” said Jaya.

Over the last five decades, the club has sponsored two Rotaract clubs, four Interact clubs and was instrumental in chartering four Rotary clubs in RID 3201. “We have conducted many RYLAs, the last one online, which attracted over 500 participants from around the world.”

Late PDG G Viswanathan (2010–11), a club member, conducted an End Polio roadshow during his tenure for which he is remembered even now. Organ donation was one of his favourite projects, and after his death, his organs were donated for ­transplantation.

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