RI District 3291 has conducted 2,500 self-defence workshops under Project Virangana which may be showcased at a global level for other clubs to replicate, said RI President Shekhar Mehta addressing the two-day district conference titled Adhibeshan in Kolkata. He praised DG Prabir Chatterjee for his “outstanding work in changing the lives of people”.
Stating his vision to make India 100 per cent literate by 2027, Mehta said, “if we all work together, nothing is impossible. Once no one thought that polio could be eradicated from the world, but Rotary took it as a challenge and now polio is almost extinct.” Rotarians have a bigger role than the government to make India literate, he said and recalled that an MoU was signed with the Central government for broadcasting e-learning through its regional language channels. Also, heart surgery will be done on 100 children from Uganda by Mumbai clubs. He urged Rotarians to contribute generously to the Foundation.
In his speech, RIPR Mario Cesar Martins De Camargo from Brazil (RID 4420) said Rotarians in India are doing great work with “their boots on the ground,” and noted that DG Chatterjee has initiated a number of projects across all the focus areas of Rotary. “Rotary is growing fast in India,” he observed.
Rotary Day of Service
Giving the major highlights of the district projects, DG Chatterjee said all the clubs showcase their mega events and programmes at the Rotary Day of Service which RID 3291 holds every month. “Virangana sessions are also being organised for all Rotarians of the district. Project Hariyali has planted around two lakh saplings in and around Kolkata; over 1,000 units of blood was collected in blood donation camps; 5,000 school bags have been distributed so far; and blankets and footwear were given to women at rehabilitation homes,” he said. In a joint project with RID 3240, a school was inaugurated for less privileged students and another one is under construction in which 1,000 girl students will be given free boarding, he added.
“So far, the district clubs have sponsored 29,000 eye surgeries and are holding awareness camps for HIV-positive children, paediatric cancer and thalassaemia patients; 200 toilets were built in villages; and heart surgeries are being done free of cost for poor children in the district. “A foundation was laid by Mehta for a 650-bed multi-specialty Rotary Techno India Hospital in Kolkata which was a proud moment for our Rotarians.” In a first-of-its-kind, wellness cards were given to all Rotarians, Rotaractors and their families to avail medical services at discounts.
President Mehta flagged off polio awareness rallies at the conference. Earlier, PDGs, club presidents, Rotaractors and Interactors welcomed the Rotary president, accompanied by RIPR De Camargo and his spouse Denis; RIDN Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and his spouse Shipra; and DG Chatterjee and his spouse Rubena.
During the two-day conclave, a number of interesting sessions and discussions were held. PDG Gurjeet Singh Sekhon, RID 3070, led the session on membership growth and retention; former IPS officer Rina Mitra spoke on women’s empowerment; Rtn Utpal Chatterjee gave a talk on vocational service; and Rotaractors presented a video on youth service.
Former IAF officer Toolika Rani shared her experience of climbing Mount Everest. Dr Debasish Das, RID 3240, dwelt on the importance of giving to TRF; Dr Rajib Handique focused on peacebuilding; PDG Uttam Ganguly chaired a session on polio eradication; and Rotary’s public image session was moderated by PDG Deepak Shikarpur, RID 3131. Former Lt Governor of Puducherry Kiran Bedi was felicitated with the Nari Shakti Puraskaar Award. The entire programme was anchored by Dr Arabinda Ray and Poulami Neogi. Conference chair Hariram Garg welcomed the delegates.