It was ‘Go, Go Goa’ for the Rotarians of D-3131 as they converged at this vibrant Konkan State for the District Conference (February 5–7), with the theme ‘Fun, Friendship and Fellowship.’ PDG Rajkumar, District 3201, was the RI President’s Representative. Conference Chair Gurdeep Singh Arora and team brought out a winning combo of programmes to make the event memorable and lively for the 2,500 participants.
This Rotary Year, the going has been remarkably good for the District. DG Vivek Aranha said in his inaugural address that the Districts had added over 1,000 new members, opened 24 new Rotary clubs, 4 eClubs, 2 all-women clubs and of course, the unique ‘club on wheels’ (RC Pune Deccan Queen). The clubs’ total contribution to TRF was a generous $540,000. “You have enough reason to be proud of and rejoice in this show of solidarity and passion for humanitarian service and Rotary,” he said.
Aranha also commended the Rotarians’ role in establishing dialysis centres at various hospitals across the District and the mammography units which would immensely benefit underprivileged patients, and their diverse literacy initiatives.
RIDE Manoj Desai conferred the prestigious awards on the significant achievers in membership development and service projects. PDG Mukund Abhyankar was honoured with RI’s Vocational Excellence Award and PDG Deepak Shikarpur with RI’s Citation for Meritorious Service. Rotarians Abhay Gadgil, Krishnakumar Jindal and M Radhakrishnan were recognised for their generous contributions of $250,000 each to TRF, thus becoming eligible for the elite Arch Klumph Society membership.
Addressing the Rotarians, Desai outlined RI’s strategies for the coming years and discussed various plans proposed by RIPE K R Ravindran for the next Rotary year. He stressed on the significance of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Schools (WASH in Schools) and its relevance to attract more children to schools regularly. He urged Rotary clubs to adopt poorly- maintained schools particularly in the rural and semi-urban belts and improve the infrastructure, to make ‘Total Literacy’ a reality. He said Rotary had commitment to the Union Government to build 10,000 toilet blocks each year, for two years.
Amidst cheers from the audience, world Boxing champion Mary Kom and actress Juhi Chawla accepted Desai’s invitation to become brand ambassadors to endorse Rotary’s literacy mission. When the ace boxer announced her endeavour to establish a boxing academy at Manipur to train young girls, several Rotarians were quick to promise financial support for the cause.
The various cultural programmes provided a visual treat for the guests, the notable one being the dance performances by the 15 Rotary Youth Exchange students from Europe, US and other Asian countries. Their integration with Indian culture evoked a sense of awe among the gathering.
Not to be outdone were the District’s women Rotarians. The fashion show, Rotary style, concentrated on how much aware the Rotarians were on Rotary and the confidence they exuded; Rtn Shalala Ghaisas of RC Poona University bagged the winner’s award.
The Bambolim Beach Resort provided the ideal setting to unwind at the end of each day, giving the Rotarians from various Rotary clubs an opportunity to network, share ideas and success stories and generally bask in the sea of Rotary fellowship, gearing up for the rest of the Rotary year and many more to follow.