Have you ever come across an Indian Rotary club sponsoring a club in a foreign country? Rotary Club of Aadarsh Ahmedabad, RID 3054, Gujarat, just did that by chartering RC Chingola Metro in Zambia, RID 9210.
“It all started when I was coordinating with PDG Ravi Devalia of RID 9210 for a medical mission in Zambia a few years back,” says Kapil Bhavsar, trainer for RC Aadarsh Ahmedabad. Subsequently he met Devalia in May 2019 while visiting his niece Chetna Avadekar in Chingola, a city in Zambia known for copper mining. Bhavsar was distressed to see the poor medical conditions prevailing there and floated an idea to his niece to put up a multi-specialty hospital to help the people, as well as start a Rotary club, promising all help from his own club. “She immediately got into the act.”
Devalia introduced Chetna to Musa Kasonka, a past president of RC Lusaka Maluba, RID 9210, and in July 2020 they went on a membership drive, says Bhavsar. Kasonka became the charter president and Chetna, the club secretary. In three weeks, they got 53 new members at the time of installation, “making it the fourth largest club in the district,” he says. RC Aadarsh Ahmedabad chartered the new club in October 2020. The momentum continued and the club now has 62 members — the third largest after RC Lilongwe with its 67 Rotarians.
Devalia is now working on membership retention. He is supporting the club in various ways to keep the members engaged and their interest in Rotary alive. The two clubs are planning to implement some joint service projects. Providing toilets in and around Chingola is a priority and Bhavsar has identified a manufacturer who has agreed to give pre-fabricated toilets for ₹19,000 each against the original cost of ₹26,000. “My club is coordinating with the African club to send the toilets. We will soon work out a plan to establish the hospital too,” he says.
DG Lucie Kasanga, RID 9210, is very happy with the club’s development. Bhavsar says: “When a community gains a Rotary club, it also gains a heart, and a group of caring men and women who come together to transform the area into a better place.”