A winning Rotary-CSR combo

PDG Aswini Kar with students seated on dual desks provided by the club.
PDG Aswini Kar with students seated on dual desks provided by the club.

Four community projects were accomplished by RC ­Bhubaneshwar Meadows, D 3262, under a mega outreach — Sahayata, the brainchild of PDG Aswini Kumar Kar — with CSR funding from New India Assurance Company. The project beneficiaries are 200 rural women; 3,000 school students; 26 polio victims; and a Rotary eye hospital.

The entire funding of Rs 37.68 lakh was sanctioned by the PSU as part of its CSR activity after Kar made a detailed presentation of all the four projects at its head office in Mumbai in May 2016. For the first time, a club has implemented such a large project that was fully sponsored through CSR funding, creating a new precedent in the district. Now “more clubs are interested in taking up similar activities,” says Kar.

 

Nari Samrudhi for women

The club tied up with an NGO Krushi Jeevika to provide eight fruit-bearing saplings to each of the 200 women in Dhanchengeda village in Odisha. As part of Sahayata, the NGO will support rural women in growing the trees and marketing the fruits at a good profit.

“Each woman will earn at least Rs 500–600 a month. We have also given them 8 kg of compost manure along with saplings,” he says. Mini Mohanty, a beneficiary, thanking Rotary, says, “Now, I can look forward to earn, though in a limited way, instead of asking my husband daily for money. I can also take care of my children’s needs.”

Another beneficiary, Manjulata Mohanty, echoes a similar sentiment. Most of these women are either illiterate or school dropouts and this additional income will help them.

 

Dual desks for schools

The project helped to provide 1,000 dual desks to 27 schools. “I roped in 23 other Rotary clubs too for distribution of the desks to their adopted schools, which are in the process of being converted into Happy Schools,” says Kar. The schools were chosen from Balasore, ­Bhadrak, Keonjhar, Berhampur, Cuttack, Puri and Dhenkanal districts and lacked basic facilities for primary education.

Sahayata also provided wheelchairs and tricycles to 26 physically-challenged people, and an ambulance for the Rotary Eye Hospital in Balasore to screen rural patients and bring them to hospital for further treatment.

The mobility aids, dual desks and ambulance were given to the beneficiaries at a meet presided over by PRID Shekhar Mehta at the club’s adopted school. The then DG Narayan Nayak and New India Assurance DGM S Behera were also present.

Extending CSR projects

Kar has got an ‘in-principle’ nod from the Finance Director of NTPC for sanctioning CSR funds to deliver another 1,000 dual desks. Further, a couple of other companies have also expressed interest in giving their CSR funds for installing sanitary napkin vending machines for girl students in government schools. “We want to install these in 100 schools in the first phase, and the cost may work out to Rs 60 lakh,” he says.

Nayak is happy that Project Sahayata has brought the district “tremendous goodwill and has boosted our public image.”

The club has also donated ­ Rs 50,000 from its funds for restoring the eyesight of Pramodini Roul, an acid attack survivor, who had lost both her eyes.

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