An all-women Rotary club spreads cheer in Jodhpur

Besides contributing ₹1 lakh to the PM CARES Fund, ₹1 lakh towards PPE kits for health workers, ₹66,000 for faces masks and sanitisers and feeding the returning migrant labourers at a cost of ₹1 lakh, RC Jodhpur Padmini, an all-women club in RID 3053, has transformed three government schools into Happy Schools and renovated an anganwadi at Salwa Kalla, a village on the outskirts of Jodhpur where the club runs a vocational training centre and an adult literacy programme. “We can’t wait to see the happy faces of the students when they come back to school,” says Club President Rajshree Chowdary. Coming from a rural background herself, she wanted to work on rural-centric development projects.

RC Jodhpur Padmini President Rajshree Chowdary (second from R) with club members at a Happy School.
RC Jodhpur Padmini President Rajshree Chowdary (second from R) with club members at a Happy School.

The club members reached out to the RCC members in different villages to find out the students’ strength and girl-boy ratio of each school in and around their villages. “Where the ratio of girl students was high, we decided to personally visit those schools,” says Rajshree. About 30 schools were surveyed and in the end three government schools from Budhnagar, Akthali and Piparlai villages were chosen.

Priya Mehta, a club member, recalls her meeting with thirteen-year-old Bhavna, a student of the Piparlai Municipal School. “Bhavna wanted to become a teacher. But was sad that her dream may not come true as she had attained puberty and would not be allowed to go back to school after the academic year ended.” The school had no gender- segregated toilets; “just a cubicle with no water connection or a handwash station,” says Priya.

Children learn computer applications at the vocational training centre run by RC Jodhpur Padmini.
Children learn computer applications at the vocational training centre run by RC Jodhpur Padmini.

To raise funds the club conducted the ‘Jodhpur Junior-thon’ and collected a whopping ₹22 lakhs. All the amount was spent on renovating the schools, setting up WinS facilities, a library, play equipment, uniforms, shoes, school bags and furniture. “We can’t wait to see girls like Bhavna go back to school and hopefully fulfill their dreams,” says Rajshree. This year the club is working on a $50,000 global grant with RC Kandy Hill Capital, RID 3220, Sri Lanka, and TRF, to install WinS facilities in seven government schools impacting 3,000 students.

The club conducted the ‘Jodhpur Junior-thon’ and collected a whopping ₹22 lakhs for the Happy Schools project.

Apart from this the club along with its Interact Club of Rajmata School, conducted sanitation and hygiene workshops for teachers and students at 17 government schools in Jodhpur. Through Natak (plays) and games they sensitised young girls and boys about menstrual hygiene. In early March the club, along with its RCCs, set up 200 birdbaths in different villages around Jodhpur. “The villagers were enthusiastic about this project and felt happy they could quench the thirst of birds and animals during the scorching summer,” says the Club President.

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The anganwadi at Salwa Kalla caters to children from five surrounding villages. The club renovated the facility, repaired the leaking ceiling and painted the walls at a cost of ₹30,000. “Despite the lockdown, food and milk were served to little children in the anganwadi, and in these tough times when villagers aren’t making any money to provide for their families this is a boon for their children,” says Rajshree.

In mid-April the club was informed about shortage of blood at two government hospitals in Jodhpur. Large blood donation camps where not possible given the Covid situation. So, club members split up and, in association with various other clubs, collected over 2,000 units of blood through 41 blood donation camps.

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