Ravi Vadlamani has seen, firsthand, the power of successful partnerships.
A native of southern India, Vadlamani has witnessed it time and again through his involvement with the International Rotary Club.
Vadlamani has served in a variety of leadership roles in his homeland, including as past District Governor of Rotary District 3150 in Hyderabad, India.
But he found a special connection in the Golden Isles.
Vadlamani met and befriended Hamsa Thota, past president of the St Simons Island Rotary Club (Georgia, US – District 6920).
The two, both Indians, Rotarians and doctors, found common ground and decided to work together to fuel a number of programmes to benefit the needy in their home country.
Vadlamani and his wife, Raji, made a special trip to the area to speak to the club on Tuesday.
During the meeting, he took to the podium to share the contribution of local dollars going toward the $1 million, global effort. He shared some insight about India itself.
“India is a fascinating country with 4,000 years of history. And I am happy to share my country … I first came to the United States and to Georgia as part of a cultural exchange study programme with Rotary International,” he said.
“I am happy to be back here to share with you how your generosity has helped through the Rotary foundation.”
Vadlamani said the partnerships between the districts have provided important aid to Indians.
Among their efforts was purchasing school desks for children, sewing machines for seamstresses, special tricycles for the handicapped and water and sanitation facilities.
“The special tricycles were the first. Many people in India have had polio and cannot walk, so the tricycle programme was very helpful. We donated 500 tricycles,” he said.
“These were so important … because it gave the patients hope and a new meaning of life.”
School desks were next on the agenda. The programme was able to fund more than 8,000 desks for students, who would otherwise sit on the dirt floor.
“The desks are only about $33 and it sits three children,” he said, as a screen showed pictures of rows upon rows of desks.
From there, Vadlamani discussed an initiative for clean drinking water. The drinking fountains were placed in 10 schools, offering fresh water for students.
He then turned to the issue of poverty and a programme that bought 1,000 sewing machines for seamstresses, allowing Indian women to earn $2 to $3 extra dollars.
While Vadlamani noted it was not a significant amount, the minuscule figure heavily impacted the women who received the machines.
“Poverty means not having hope,” he said. “We are empowering women who are in the debt cycle to break out of that. It has given them a new life.”