Rekha Narula, spouse of Ravi Narula, a member of RC Nainital, RID 3110, has been working with underprivileged women from Mehragaon, a village near Nainital. Many of these women were part of self-help groups (SHG). “They did not want money from us. Instead, they needed a means to earn a living and augment their income,” says Rekha. She approached her husband’s club and “in no time they raised funds to donate sewing machines to eight beneficiaries at ₹3,800 each.”
Some of the beneficiaries had completed a sewing course through the SHG support and they could immediately start taking stitching orders. “We did not stop with just donating the sewing machines. We procured the stitching material and brought them bulk orders,” says club president Babita Jain. The initial order was to make 2,000 cloth bags for ₹20 each. “They received payment directly for the work done,” she says.
Hema Jatin, a beneficiary, says that each woman could earn ₹1,250 from that order. “It may seem like a small amount but we were able to either repay a debt, pay school fees, or buy necessary household items that we could not afford earlier.”.
Last Diwali, they designed and stitched hamper bags, and “we helped them sell it,” says the club president. Now they have orders for wine bottle covers, bags and aprons. They can make between ₹50 to ₹150 per piece. “The women are excited about their work and some of them even give a personal touch to their products by adding lace or decorative buttons. We are planning to help them market their products so that they can get better deals,” she adds.
It may seem like a small amount but we were able to either repay a debt, pay school fees, or buy necessary household items that we could not afford earlier.
— Hema Jatin, a beneficiary
The women can have free access to healthcare facilities at the Rotary dispensary at Farsoli village. The clinic, set up with the support of the Indersheel Jain Trust, will soon turn into a Rotary diagnostic centre with the help of a global grant, says Babita, adding that the hospitals in the region lack proper equipment and villagers have to travel to Nainital for tests and something as simple as an X-ray. “We have raised $30,000 for the project and are waiting for a partner club.”
The club has recently installed benches sporting the Rotary logo on the Mall Road in Nainital to promote the organisation’s public image. “We have put up posters and banners across Rotary Joggers Park to promote cleanliness and curb littering,” says club secretary Narinder Kumar Lamba.
This year the club has installed five new Interact clubs. Post Diwali, the Interact Club of Mehragaon organised a cleanliness drive in their village. Interactors collected and safely disposed of plastic and firecracker wastes. They were treated to a healthy breakfast by the parent Rotary club before starting the cleanliness drive.