The Rotaract Club of Mahesh Dhristiheen Kalyan Sangh, a new club sponsored by RC Indore Uptown, RI District 3040, has two distinctions. It is an all girls club and all the Rotaractors are visually challenged. This is probably the first of its kind in the world, says District Governor Narendra Jain.
It all began with the RYLA hosted by RC Indore Uptown and co-organised by RC Pune Kothrud, RI District 3131. The two-day programme was organised at the scenic resort of Choki Dhani, Indore, and the Rotarians had invited the students of Mahesh Dhrishtiheen Kalyan Sangh to participate and get empowered with leadership skills.
The Sangh is a residential school-cum-hostel at Indore imparting B.Ed. courses, post graduate studies and other vocational and career-oriented courses for visually-impaired. Around 175 students from across Madhya Pradesh are enrolled in various streams at this centre. The Rotarians of RC Indore Uptown have been involved with welfare activities here for 20 years. At the invitation of the Rotarians some of the students took part in the RYLA programme.
The sessions at the RYLA included workshops on management skills and public speaking. The eight trainers conducting the sessions were also visually challenged. Drawing inspiration from them, the girls zealously took part in the lessons. Their interest and enthusiasm impressed the District Governor who recommended to the Club President Sanjay Bansal that a special Rotaract club be formed for these girls. And thus this unique Rotaract club was born.
The charter ceremony was held on September 21 with 48 members. The Installation Ceremony saw the Rotaractors assume various leadership roles and every word uttered at the solemn oath-taking occasion seemed to come straight from the girls’ heart. They had put up a stall here to display handicraft products like diyas, wall hangings, rakhis and clay Ganesha idols handmade by them. All these items sold like hot cakes and by the end of the programme, the girls had made an impressive Rs 10,000!
The club is led by Rtr Rajni Sharma, from Ujjain, who is pursuing a B.Ed. course at this centre, having completed her Master’s in Hindi Literature. She pens poems too in Hindi. “It is a very nice experience to serve as a Rotaractor. For so long we have been at the receiving end … receiving physical and material support from people. Now as a Rotaractor, I am happy to serve others. This gives me lots of satisfaction and a sense of achievement,” says an excited Rajni.
On the activities planned for her Rotaractors, she says cultural competitions, debates and workshops will be conducted to enhance communication skills of the students at the Sangh as well as in other schools. Rtn Manish Tiwari, Executive Member and Trustee of the Sangh says Rajni suffers from a bleeding disorder called ITP (immune thrombocytopenia); but she is energetic and eager to learn. The dedication and punctuality of the entire team amazes him, he says.
Bansal says the Rotaractors are ready to concentrate on all the six focus areas of Rotary and have adopted projects related to environment, including planting of saplings and initiatives for clean and hygienic surroundings. The girls were taken to the neighbouring slum locality to help spread awareness among the slum-dwellers about the ‘Swachh Bharat’ campaign. This saw good reception from the locals mainly because of their physical condition. “ ‘If a visually-challenged person can have so much concern for our environment, why shouldn’t we?’ was the universal thought of the locality,” says Bansal. The club also plans to publish a monthly bulletin in Braille.
The club provides these Rotaractors a platform to grow their self-confidence and self-esteem. DG Jain has invited the Rotaractors to attend the District Conference in Jaipur in the last week of December, and has waived registration charges for them.