The collaboration of Rotary Clubs Thane East, D 3140, India and Mission Viejo, D 5320, USA dates back to 2004–05, and continuing to this day, it has brought extraordinary benefits to the people of Thane.
In year 2004–05, the then president of Thane East, Rtn C P Prafull Karnik visited the Nakhwa School which provides education to around 600 students hailing from the Koli Samaj (fishermen tribe) of Thane. He found the school in a profoundly sad state and his club decided to adopt it with help of a Matching Grant. Discussions led to a coalition with RC Mission Viejo, and thus began this unique partnership which paved way for many more.
Through matching grant with TRF and a total cost of USD 14,000, the clubs provided furniture and water tank, upgraded science and computer lab and library, sponsored sewing machines and tool kits to impart vocational training in tailoring and electrician course for the students, at the school.
Immediately after this, they again worked together in 2005–07, to provide hearing aid equipment and install sound-proof audiometry room at the Kamalini School, which caters to learning needs of hearing and speech impaired children.
Major sustainable projects in water management — construction of four check dams and digging of bore wells in rural areas — undertaken by these clubs in 2008–09, at a total cost of USD 32,000, not only provided sufficient drinking water for the villagers, but also enabled the farmers to cultivate a second crop.
And now in May 2014, the partnership again resulted in the construction of five check dams and bore wells. The project that cost USD 37,000 has benefitted 4,300 people directly in three villages of Murbad Taluka.
Rtn Dr Pushpa Chandwani representing the partner club also visited the project sites several times to ensure the right coordination.
This unusual instance of long standing relationship between the two clubs goes to establish how Rotary clubs with the support of The Rotary Foundation can ring in remarkable transformations in societies in dire need.