Reforming clubs, motivating members
Dr K Sunder Rajan
Orthopaedic surgeon, RC Nagpur West, D 3030
I’m utilising this opportunity to recharge Rotarians in the district, motivating them to be more pro-active,” says Dr Sunder Rajan, referring to RI’s suspension of the district. He ensures that members are engaged in humanitarian activity to sustain their interest in Rotary and feels such involvement will make the club and district vibrant.
“When I joined Rotary in 1990, I had the opportunity to perform several polio corrective surgeries. There is no looking back since then. When you see the happy faces around you, you are inspired to give yourself repeatedly. This is what I experience even today,” he says.
He is confident that the ‘Continuous Rotary Orientation Programme’ that he has devised for every region will rejuvenate the team and keep Rotarians updated.
Rajan is also concentrating on strengthening the district stewardship committee. “We’ve burnt our fingers, there shouldn’t be any more repeats.” The clubs are engaged in several community projects, though the DDF cannot be accessed. “For instance, RC Nasik Road has just constructed seven toilets in a village with CSR assistance.” Several water management projects are also being done, he adds.
He has encouraged his team to send its contributions directly to the Rotary Foundation (India); “accuracy and transparency are my watchwords this year,” he says.
He has inducted around 350 new members and installed two new clubs.
His most cherished moments are the orthopaedic surgeries that he performs annually for the poor in Bihar and Jharkhand, along with six other orthopaedicians. “I was totally zapped when the parents of a polio-afflicted girl whom I had treated years ago fell at my feet and with tears of joy, gave me her marriage invitation.”
Rajan and his wife Bhagyam are Major Donors and donate $2,000 to TRF every year since 2010.
Getting CSR tie-up, his forte
Jeweller, RC Pune University, D 3131
Addressing the challenges of differently- abled people, especially autistic children, is his priority. He is concentrating on getting CSR funds to help them. “Tata Technologies has already given nearly ₹5 crore for equipping schools with e-learning kits in the past five years. We have a tie-up with IOC and AMDOCS, also an IT company, which is planning to pump in ₹7 crore every year,” says Abhay Gadgil.
On membership, he says his benchmark is a minimum number of 30 good members for chartering a club. “I recently rejected an application of a club which had just 10 members.” On June 30 last year, 1,500 members were removed because they were not performing. “This reflects badly on the district. So I’m particular about the genuineness and quality,” he says.
On contributions to TRF, Gadgil reveals that during his early years in Rotary he was not keen on giving to the Foundation. “I was only interested in supporting my club projects. But Vinay Kulkarni (the then DG) inspired me to do this. And today, can you believe it, I am an AKS member,” he smiles.
To this day, Gadgil treasures his club’s global grant project to start the Jagriti School for visually impaired in Alandi, near Pune. “Every time I visit the school, I’m deeply moved to see the children there so passionate about their studies,” he says.
He got inspired to join Rotary from his brother, a Rotarian in Sangli. His wife Deepa is a past president of his club.
Caring for orphans and elderly
T K Ruby
Pharmaceutical marketing, RC Himalayan Ranges – Mansadevi, D 3080
He is a charter member of the club since 2000, inspired by his “Rotarian friends”. Ruby holds his ongoing project — support and care for destitute children — close to his heart. “I was deeply touched when one day a little girl came and hugged me and said, ‘Thank you uncle for helping me go to school’. That is my best moment. There are 200 children in the orphanage we support. We foster-parent and help them in every possible way,” he says.
He is motivating his team to do projects that will make a permanent impact in the lives of the underprivileged, and more importantly, help restore their dignity. His focus is to provide education for children and vocational training for youngsters.
This district is spread across six States — Punjab, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, UP and Chandigarh. “We have hills, plains, industrial and pilgrim towns. Each region has a different need. Instead of persuading clubs to do one signature project, I encourage my team to take care of the local needs of the community they serve,” says Ruby.
He attaches greater significance on care for the elderly. “I know many parents who have been abandoned by their children. They go through intense pain when they are abandoned like this. We try to connect them with their children.”
He is focusing on establishing Rotary clubs in unrepresented areas. Asked about the participation of Rotarians in the hilly areas, he recounts his recent visit to a club in Rampur Basher, a seven-hour journey from Shimla. “This club has just 20 members. People of the town respect Rotary. The same is true in Mussoorie. You can feel the Rotary spirit there. So I think a club need not necessarily be big to do good.”
Ruby has been working with Rotaractors for the past seven years, involving them in organising programmes for children in orphanages. “Their dedication is just mind-boggling.”
When asked about his TRF contribution goal, he laughs and says, “I am one governor who has not been given any target, because I was appointed late.” But he is confident of surpassing previous records, and is on his way to become a Major Donor, Level-III.