Rotaract gave an opportunity for PDRR Sujith Kumar, RID 3232, to evolve as a better person, thanks to its leadership sessions and other programmes. The founder of Maatram Foundation, an NGO that provides education to poor students, recalled his year as a Rotaract club president when he collected food grains for a Rotary project.
Having collected more grain than anticipated, he was asked by the club president to visit a leprosy home where the collected grains had to be given. Jolted by the plight of the inmates of the special home, he said, “I wanted to run away from there.” The life-changing moment for him came when at a traffic signal a leprosy patient with “no fingers came running to my father’s scooter and raised his hands to bless me. He told my father that he had raised a good child.” That was when he realised that through Rotaract and Rotary he could change lives.
His foundation has helped around 1,500 underprivileged students to get admission in various colleges. Educational institutes are partnering with the foundation to provide not just free admission, but also waive tuition fees, transportation charges, hostel fees and food expenses. They also take care of expenses of books and stationery for students.
The life-changing moment came when at a traffic signal a leprosy patient with no fingers came running to his father’s scooter and raised his hands to bless him. He told his father that he had raised a good child.
Sharing the picture of visually-impaired K Suguna, who has BA and B Ed degrees, once selling candy on a railway station, Kumar said she along with her husband, also visually challenged, were jobless, but they had to support their children. A member of Kumar’s team spotted them at the station selling candy, while their son and daughter were doing their homework. The foundation helped Suguna meet Nirmala Krishnan, principal of Mahindra World School, Chennai. Unaware that she was attending an interview, she answered all the questions; but the only problem was that she could not speak in English. But she was ready to learn the language.
Today Suguna works as a Tamil teacher at the Mahindra World School and is doing her PhD in Tamil at Satyabhama University, Chennai. She is also a motivational speaker. After the end of his presentation, the PDRR said, “I have met so many people like Suguna and was able to transform their lives because of the values Rotary instilled in me.” Rotary trained him to be different in his approach to life. “When you see Rotarians in action, we develop empathy and the art of giving selflessly,” he said.