Child development is his focus
“I have always been open to child-centric projects. Our district’s signature activity, Project Indica, aims at improving lives of street children and the differently-abled; we want to reach out to at least one lakh children before the end of the year,” says DG R Srinivasan. The project includes health camps, competitions, distribution of clothes and basic necessities, and equipment for paediatric hospitals and “everything child-related.”
He is satisfied that his district has exceeded the membership goal and is inching closer to the TRF contribution target too. “We are planning a Foundation Dinner in honour of RIPE Barry Rassin’s visit and I am confident of meeting our TRF goal of $600,000,” he smiles. As for membership, he has chartered 10 new clubs and inducted 500 new members. “It does not stop there. By June-end we will have 750 new Rotarians.”
Srinivasan became a Rotarian in 2002 “accidentally; I was on the treadmill when a friend invited me to attend a Rotary meeting, and I was lured into the club. Until I became president of my club, I used to attend club meetings and enjoy the fellowship without much involvement,” he says.
As club president, he set up a ‘Transit School’ in Chennai to educate the children of migrant labourers in the metro and help them join a mainstream school. The school is now transformed into a vocational centre and “it provides income-
generating opportunities for many youngsters. This project is close to my heart.”
The governor is keen on involving Annets in the various Rotary programmes. “I want our children to develop an interest in Rotary. We must encourage new generation Rotarians from within our homes before looking elsewhere.” He ensured that his district conference had a special Annets conference segement, and “that was a huge hit. These youngsters have enormous creativity and determination,” he adds.
Promoting greenery is his priority
He joined Rotary in 1999 and has been a “hard core Rotarian since then.” DG B M Sivarraj is happy that Rotary projects such as the Jaipur foot, midday meals for schoolchildren and check dams have enhanced people’s lives in his region. “While RI President Ian Riseley wanted the 1.2 million Rotarians to plant as many saplings world over, we have planted 1.45 million saplings across Maharashtra,” he says, adding that the district has signed an MoU with the State government to plant 5 million saplings in the next two years. Tribal families around Palghar will have a steady income as he has signed an agreement with NABARD to grow fruit-bearing trees in their 500 acres of land.
“Rotary is vibrant here though ours is a fairly new district,” he says, listing out the year’s developments — a membership increase of 500 with six new clubs chartered and 25 clubs with less than 20 members revamped to form 20 clubs. “We may give the Convention a miss, although we have registered for it, as we will be working in a frenzy for TRF collections. The district target is $1 million but I am sure we will be able to collect $3 million,” he smiles with confidence. He is happy that Rotaract is active in the district and Rotarians are funding their projects.
Sivarraj is focusing on a global grant, involving all 83 clubs, to provide e-learning and promote menstrual hygiene in 400 schools. Addressing thalassaemia is also on his agenda. “It’s my aim to see that the district does not report any new case in the next three years.” He is all excited about a sanitary napkin making unit the district is working on with corporate funding. “The price of each napkin will be less than ₹ 2 but the quality will be in compliance with the WHO standards. We want more women to benefit from this initiative,” he says.
He is a Level IV Major Donor. His wife Manonmani is the charter secretary of the Inner Wheel Club of Thane Northend; his son is a Rotaractor and daughter, an Interactor.
A true-blue Rotarian
Mining, RC Bhadrak Midtown, D 3262
“I grew up experiencing the Rotary spirit right from my childhood,” says Ajay Agarwal. His parents are Paul Harris Fellows and Rotarians of RC Bhadrak. He has won the Best Rotaract President award from the then DG Lalit Surjan in 1993 and became a Rotarian in 1997. “As a Rotaractor, I have participated in several polio immunisation camps, visiting remote, inaccessible areas on my bike or in boats. Rotarians used to send us to reach out to people there. As Rotary president in 2001, I can never forget the Hepatitis B vaccine my club administered to 28,000 children. It was a record then,” he beams.
He has been promoting service projects that include a cancer screening van to tour rural and backward areas and refer critically ill patients to the Apollo Hospital and the Konark Critical Care Foundation in Mumbai with whom the district has signed an MoU; five dialysis centres set up in Bhadrak, Joda, Berhampur, Bhubaneshwar and Cuttack; and 15 Saheli centres that impart training in computers, accountancy and sewing to women across the district. He is all excited about the organ donation campaign to be held in April when he hopes to create a world record with the participation of Rotaractors.
Agarwal is satisfied that his TRF collections is on track with $100,000 in the kitty against a target of $500,000 which he is confident of achieving. “There will be few Major Donors too,” he says.
He is focusing on retaining members by inspiring them with good service opportunities and is planning a 10 per cent membership growth. “I have encouraged women members with appointment in significant district posts.” Ritu, his wife, is a member of RC Bhubaneswar New Horizons and a past president of the Inner Wheel club. Both of them are Major Donors.