Nepal DG plans $2.2 million TRF contribution
He, along with a senior Rotarian Bal Gopaldas Bhandari, installed the first Rotary club in Pokhara in 1996, inspired by the good work done by Rotarians in other parts of Nepal and the world. “Now my club has sponsored 12 clubs in Nepal,” says Kiran Lal Shrestha, adding that education, healthcare and water were the need of the hour in Pokhara at that time.
Water was a precious commodity in most of the region. “I used to see little girls carrying pots of water to their homes with their mothers in tow. We provided water facility to a village through our first matching grant and more than the villagers, we were happy to see people getting enough water in their houses.”
His most cherished moment was when a woman’s face lit up with joy as she saw water gushing from the tap. “That was our first water grant and many people discouraged us saying that we cannot see water in that village. It was a dry land. And then we dug the first borewell in Pokhara in a hospital where there was no water at all. I am inspired by my grandfather who went from Kathmandu to Pokhara to develop a water system there.”
“As for global grants, every year our district is doing 50–60 grants. This year we are aiming at 100 grants, of which 50 grant projects have been completed,” he says. This includes a cath lab, 30 dialysis centres and community water harvesting projects.
On membership, Shrestha says that the district has 17 per cent women Rotarians and he is encouraging the spouses of Rotarians to become members. “It will not only make Rotary strong, but the family stronger.” The district has 90 per cent retention in membership and will get 1,000 new members, of which 350 new members have been inducted and two new clubs out of 10 have been chartered.
The DG is encouraging new clubs in uncharted regions. “In Nepal there is a need for dialysis facilities. We told the local people that we will install a centre there if they form a club there. And a new club with 40 members has recently been formed there.”
He plans a contribution of $2.2 million to TRF, and has four donors committed to become AKS members and 150 new Major Donors.
His wife, and elder son are Rotarians and the younger son is a Rotaractor.
Club projects make him happy
He was introduced to Rotary by RIPN Shekhar Mehta. Both of them were then members of RC Central Calcutta, and “he was my IPP too,” says Ajay Agarwal.
He is excited to be the Centennial Governor in the place where Rotary India was born. “All the more exciting because all the clubs have imbibed this excitement and are very enthusiastic about doing projects. There is amazing interest in building membership, getting funds for new projects, expanding programmes with global grants, of which 50 are being applied this year,” he beams.
His most cherished moment? “Of course, when Mehta won the RI President’s assignment. When he filed his nominations, we all kept our fingers crossed and when he won, we felt very blessed, as it came when the centennial year was unfolding.”
His main focus has been on strengthening membership. Retention has been extremely good this year, particularly during Dec-Jan when many Rotarians leave Rotary. “We hardly saw any loss and we are trying to touch the magic figure of 4,000 this year, a goal I am confident of achieving as we are only 200 short,” says the DG.
His next goal is to do projects worth ₹176 crore this year. “We are on target more or less.”
His Foundation target is $400,000.
Agarwal loves visiting club projects. “They will be long-lasting memories for any governor. Fellowships come and go, but the satisfaction we get when we see projects on the ground is great. I am just coming back from a RYLA. To see young girls get trained in leadership gives me so much joy, as also water and healthcare projects.”
His wife Mamta is a past Inner Wheel All India President.
He is keen on growing Rotary
He is a Rotarian since 1997 when he was invited by PDG K V S Anjaneya Murthy. Veerabhadra Reddy regrets not having been a Rotaractor and is making up the lost opportunity by installing 20 Rotaract clubs and 100 new Interact clubs in Visakhapatnam this year.
He is happy that his district is executing projects such as a human milk bank and two blood banks, besides global grant projects and a VTT to Nigeria. The district has done the maximum number of NCD screening camps, in response to Project Positive Health programme, he says.
Reddy has also lined up some public image events to commemorate the centennial of Rotary in India.
The DG is happy to have increased women’s membership which was stagnant at 180 for the last few years to 240-plus this year. He has chartered three new Rotary clubs.
On TRF giving, he is focusing on retaining the top rank held by the district in Polio Fund last year, and want to improve Annual Giving too. “Our DDF is just $15,000. It is difficult to support district projects for me or the incoming governors with such a low DDF. That’s why, this year I am focusing more on Annual Giving,” says Reddy.