Creating hygienic kitchens

Rotary Club of Hiranandani Estate, RID 3142, has undertaken a unique project of providing ‘Hygiene Kitchen’ for public organisations such as orphanages and old-age homes where the kitchen is in bad shape. “Serving safe food is not an option, it is an obligation. And more so when there are children and the elderly to take care of,” says Club President Dr Namrataa ­Srivastav. The project aims to upgrade the  infrastructure, perform repairs, provide amenities and enhance the hygiene standards to establish safety and prevent food contamination of any form. It is being done with support from Muenzer Bharat, an organisation that works with the mission, Swachh Bharat, Swasth Bharat.

Two institutions were identified in the first instance. The Desire Society is an orphanage that looks after 50 HIV-positive boys. “We provided a refrigerator, storage containers, serving bowls and cutlery here,” says Namraata. The next kitchen was that of the Vatsalya Trust that takes care of 30 elderly people and 20 orphaned girls. “It was a total revamp here.” The walls were painted, new shelves and cooking platform put in place, floors tiles were relaid and the electrical wiring was redone. “At the end of it all, we were satisfied at the whole transformation. The kitchen is the most important part of a house from where healthy food gets to the table and it must be excellent enough to inspire a person to cook,” she quips.

Kitchen utensils being presented to beneficiaries in the presence of DGN Mayuresh Warke (centre).
Kitchen utensils being presented to beneficiaries in the presence of DGN Mayuresh Warke (centre).

The kitchens were handed over officially to the beneficiaries in an event presided over by DGN Mayuresh Warke, District Secretary Vinit Shah, Project Director Pradeep Thakur and the club members. Michael Muenzer, the CEO of the partner organisation Muenzer Bharat, its Director Gregor ­Alexander Reindl, MD Sanjay ­Srivastaava and the Project Head Anjali Singh were also present.

The project will ­support eight more ­kitchens before the year-end.

The partnering teams are also working with the food and beverage organisations (FBOs) for safe and proper disposal of used cooking oil, “to prevent it from being sold to street-side vendors for preparing vadapav and samosas. That is actually inviting cancer,” says Namraata. Muenzer Bharat offers to buy the used oil from FBOs and ­processes it into ­environment-friendly biodiesel.

An LN-4 camp in progress.
An LN-4 camp in progress.

Prosthetic hands

More recently, the club, in association with RC Poona Downtown, RID 3131, and RC Kalyan, ­conducted an LN-4 prosthetic hands ­fitment camp in Thane. Nearly 500 ­people who had lost their hand due to accident or electric shock were fitted with these ­artificial hands developed by Ellen ­Meadows Foundation, USA. They were also trained by technicians to use their new ‘hands’ to write and hold or lift articles. Extensive ­publicity in social and print media helped in reaching out to beneficiaries from across the country, says the Project  Chairperson Arunima Singh. Rotaractors and Inner Wheel ­members ensured smooth ­progress of the camp.

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RI Director Bharat Pandya is Treasurer for Rotary International for 2020-21, when Holgar Knaack will be RI President, JohritaSolari will be the Vice President and Stephanie Urchick, the Executive Committee Chair.