RC Bhavnagar was born on Valentine’s Day in 1945, and celebrated its platinum jubilee this February. Says Manish Kothari, past president and event chair, “Since then, and for the last 75 years, our club members have been living the Valentine spirit through love and service for the downtrodden of Bhavnagar district.”
He says that all the 131 members of his club, the sixth oldest and one of the largest in RID 3060, have always thought of “creative ways to deal with old problems, and more importantly, think in advance how to solve problems, even before we are approached. This foresight has built Rotary’s image in our city. Our club also owns a beautiful airconditioned, acoustic sound-proof hall, from where we plan and execute centralised community service activities.”
The club marked its 75th birthday by organising a two-day mega celebration event, presided over by PRIP Kalyan Banerjee and attended by DG Anish Shah, DGN Santosh Pradhan, IPDG Pinky Patel, and PDGs Pradeep Gohil and Deepak Agrawal.
The celebration of the club’s platinum jubilee began with a blood donation camp, where 100 bottles of blood were collected. The senior Rotary leaders were then taken around the club’s iconic projects. One of these was A Ray of Hope — a childcare project “which covers the longstanding and critical local need of educating and nourishing street children,” says Club President Rakesh Kanada. This project, on for 20 years, has received much recognition in the city and many of the children nurtured by it “have graduated and are in very good jobs,” he added.
Another project, Light their Path is a school bench project under which 4,300 school benches worth an impressive ₹90 lakh have been donated. The Rotary E-Library is “a unique state-of-art airconditioned library for college students.”
Amrutam is a water-harvesting project to recharge and rejuvenate wells, while improving the groundwater table, and at the Rotary Permanent Vaccination Centre, more than 300 children are vaccinated every Sunday by qualified doctors and nurses at subsidised rates for the last 20 years.
Another project, the Rotary Parekh Diagnostics is a medical pathological lab where tests are done by qualified and skilled personnel at reasonable rates.
PRIP Banerjee congratulated the club for its great work in meeting the community’s needs with sensitivity, empathy and effectiveness.
A grand celebration was organised late in the evening with flags and candles. Apart from the district’s senior leaders, it was attended by the city’s dignitaries and leading citizens, donors, Rotaractors and families of club members.
Kothari, who is also the TRF Chair of his club, added that in this landmark year, the club has launched a scheme titled EREY— Every Rotarian Every Year. This is to encourage all its members to donate to TRF every year. “This year we will donate 131x $100, or $13,100 to TRF and we handed over a symbolic cheque to our DG Anish Shah on this occasion.”
The next day, a spectacular PR and public image exercise was held in which a whopping number of 5,000 youngsters wearing blue T-shirts and caps with Rotary logos participated in a Cyclothon. “We’ve been doing this for the last 10 years and through this sending out a strong and symbolic message of Green Bhavnagar,” said Kothari, adding that to mark this landmark, the club gave out 75 new cycles to needy schoolchildren.