RID 3030 empowers girl students

Adorned in exquisite white and gold sarees, women presidents from clubs in RI District 3030 welcomed DG Asha Venugopal, RIPR Pubudu de Zoysa, and their Rotarian spouses Venu Gopal and Krish Fernando at the inaugural parade of the district conference Aashayein. The procession was led by Kathakali and Bharatanatyam dancers, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of traditional panchari melam (Kerala temple music).

RID 3220 PDG Pubudu de Zoysa, RIPR for the district conference, and her spouse Krish Fernando (R) felicitate DG Asha (second from R) and her spouse Venugopal (fourth from R) for her AKS contribution. Also present (from L) PDGs Shabbir Shakir, Kishor Kedia, K Sunder Rajan and Rajiv Sharma.

There were 1,900 registrants and guests who participated. In her welcome address, DG Asha said, “From being a Rotarian to becoming a DG and an AKS member, I have been inspired by the Rotarians present here.”

Giving details of the district projects, she highlighted Udaan, a project by RC Nashik Grapecity, that distributed 5,555 bicycles worth ₹2.22 crore to enable rural girl students to go to school. “Thousands of girls from distant tribal villages in Maharashtra are eager to learn but find just reaching their schools a challenge. A bicycle is more than just a mode of transport for them. It is a symbol of empowerment. With these bicycles, we have transformed obstacles into opportunities for these girls,” she said. Other notable projects included Boond (water conservation), Spandan (blood donation for thalassemia patients), Akanksha (online study tool), and Ankur (bamboo plantation being done in collaboration with the Maharashtra government).

Thousands of girls from distant tribal villages in Maharashtra are eager to learn but find just reaching their schools a challenge. A bicycle is more than just a mode of transport for them.
– Asha Venugopal, District Governor, RID 3030

Congratulating DG Asha on receiving the AKS pin, RIPR Pubudu, past governor of RID 3220, Sri Lanka, said, “For Asha, this is not just about being an AKS member. Of course, it is a prestigious contribution, but it also signifies the love and care she has to offer. She has given to the Foundation not because she has surplus funds, but because she is generous. Thank you for believing wholeheartedly that through our Foundation, you have the power to make a difference.”

Pubudu also stressed the significance of the End Polio initiative and said, “Thanks to the infrastructure, including emergency operations centres, disease surveillance officers and the seamless communication line between local and international health authorities established by Rotary in Africa through the polio model, the spread of Ebola could be stopped! This stands as a testament to Rotary’s strength.”

PDG Shabbir Shakir in conversation with actor Anupam Kher at the district conference.

Commending the district for its remarkable contribution of $27,448 towards the End Polio Fund, she added, “The eradication of polio not only prevents its resurgence but also unlocks a potential return of $50 billion to the global health budget. This financial boost can play a pivotal role in addressing other critical health challenges, such as malaria, cervical cancer, tuberculosis and HIV-AIDS.”

The event concluded with a dance performance by RYE students, portraying the lives of iconic Indian women. Followed by district awards, the release of GML and interactive panel discussions, distinguished speakers including Major General Sanjay Kumar Vidyarthi, Bharati Thakur, founder of NARMADA, an educational institute for underprivileged and rural children, and actor Anupam Kher, addressed the Rotarians.

Pictures by Kiran Zehra

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