Our communities face huge problems and the service projects we do seem to be too little to make significant impacts, said RIPN Shekhar Mehta at the launch of Project Vidiyal, a financial assistance scheme of RC Madras North, RID 3232, for needy girls to pursue college education.
He urged Rotarians to think big, set their targets high and raise funds through events to take up meaningful projects. He complimented the 50-year-old club, the fourth largest in Chennai, for taking up this project which would fund the college education of 10 girls to begin with, but said, “next year the target should be 100 beneficiaries, that is, 10 times more, which is definitely possible.” He cited how his home club, RC Calcutta Mahanagar, had sponsored the school education of around 150 children and will be increasing it to 250 beneficiaries next year.
Mehta presented the charter to a new club, RC Chennai Legends, to its president V Elanchezhian. Twenty-five members of RC Chennai Legends were also inducted at the event. “Make full use of the opportunity that your club provides by reaching out to the community and doing big projects,” he advised the new members. Charter President Elanchezhian said that he would strive to increase the club membership to at least 40 by the year-end.
Citing an event hosted by his district club in Kolkata that had thought leader Robin Sharma as guest speaker, Mehta said each ticket cost ₹5,000 and the programme was a show stealer drawing huge invitees, besides raising large funds for the club’s projects. He urged PDG G Olivannan, the club advisor, to hold similar programmes by inviting eminent people to speak which would enable clubs to raise funds. As a newbie in Rotary decades ago, he chaired a souvenir project which netted ₹1.5 lakh and that was the starting point of the exciting journey so far.
DG G Chandramohan said Mehta was the “right person to launch Project Vidiyal for he had steered RILM which aims to usher in total literacy in India.” The governor said RID 3232 has set a target of $1 million for TRF giving and 1,000 new members in this Rotary year.
Earlier, Club President M Ganapathi recalled the words of Mahatma Gandhi who laid emphasis on women’s education for progress of society. The club was able to establish a corpus of ₹1 crore through a fundraiser, thanks to Project Chairman N Venkatesh, he said.
Tie-up with NGO
A cheque for ₹2 lakh was presented to Anandham Foundation, an NGO, with which the club inked an MoU to implement Project Vidiyal. “We have chosen this NGO which has proven expertise in educating over 500 girl children across Tamil Nadu. We conducted a Musical Nite last year to raise the corpus of ₹1 crore for the project. The interest from this amount will be used to take care of the annual expenses of Project Vidiyal,” said Anand Saravana Raj, Joint Secretary of the club.
District Chair for Membership B Dakshayini said RID 3232 would have eight new clubs for the year ending June 30, of which two have been formed so far. While compering the event, PDG Olivannan recalled the genesis of the project mentored by its Chairman N Venkatesh during his tenure as club president. PRID P T Prabhakar, PDGs Abhirami Ramanathan (RID 3231), P Gopalakrishnan (RID 3000), John Daniel (RID 3211), DGE S Muthupalaniappan, DGND Dr Nandakumar (RID 3232) and RPIC Rajadurai Michael were present at the launch event.
Pictures by V Muthukumaran