A simple but meaningful project for tribal girls in Maharashtra

(L to R): RC Bombay Mahakali Heights community services director Kiran Srivastava, Satinderpal Ahluwalia, Pinkky Rajgarhiya from the Chingari Foundation, club president Gurpreet Singh Uppal, DG Sunnil Mehra, project coordinator Dr Manish Motwani and Verinder Kaur Uppal with the materials collected for the underprivileged girls.
(L to R): RC Bombay Mahakali Heights community services director Kiran Srivastava, Satinderpal Ahluwalia, Pinkky Rajgarhiya from the Chingari Foundation, club president Gurpreet Singh Uppal, DG Sunnil Mehra, project coordinator Dr Manish Motwani and Verinder Kaur Uppal with the materials collected for the underprivileged girls.

On a gloomy monsoon morning in Mumbai, when the skies had opened up, a worried Gurpreet Singh Uppal, president of the Rotary Club of Bombay Mahakali Heights, RID 3141, looked up at the sky from his balcony, to find that it was indeed raining heavily. “We had planned a small event to hand over some material for vanwasi (tribal) girls which we had collected after putting in a lot of hard work for a stretch of two weeks,” he recalls.

It was simple but heartwarming project conceived by Kiran ­Srivastava, the club’s director for community services, and the beneficiaries were little tribal girls of Mangaon village in Raigad district, about 180km from Mumbai. When she heard about the plight of these little girls of Mangaon, and the abject poverty under which they lived, she was very moved and planned this project,” says Uppal.

Money started pouring in and in no time at all — actually barely 2–3 days — we were ready with more than the funds required for the project.
Gurpreet Singh Uppal
club president

He explains the club identified this project as it works very closely with the NGO called the Chingari Shakti Foundation. This NGO not only focuses on the wellbeing and empowerment of the girl child, but also runs a school for ­specially-abled children. The girls who needed the Rotarians’ help live with their families which are so poor that they cannot afford to provide simple items to their daughters for everyday use that all of us simply take for granted… such as talcum powder, hair oil, sanitary pads and undergarments. “The families simply do not have the resources to give them proper clothes and the girls often have to share boys’ undergarments as these cannot be bought separately by the parents for them.”

After learning about this need, an immediate meeting of the club’s board was convened, the project discussed and a fund collection campaign was planned with ­voluntary contributions from members. “Money started pouring in and in no time at all — actually barely 2–3 days — we were ready with more than the funds required for the project. It took only one of our members to raise over 70 per cent of the funds needed,” he adds. The amount was only ₹50,000 but the project was so heartwarming, and the items so badly required, that the Rotarians realised the urgent need for implementation.

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Braving the rain, the club president and his wife headed to a past president’s house where the distribution event was planned and attended by Pinkky Rajgarhiya who runs this award winning NGO.

Under the leadership of RID 3141 DG Sunnil Mehra and chief coordinator Manish Motwani, the meeting started. Apart from pledging the club’s support to the Chingari Foundation for more such admirable causes, Pinkky was also bestowed an honorary membership of the club.

The Rotarians handed over for the tribal girls 500 face masks, five sanitiser stands, an adequate number of sanitiser bottles, 9,500 sanitary pads and 230 sets of undergarments to the NGO and its volunteers have reached these packages to the tribal girls.

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