Rotarians have an enormous potential to change the world as they are people of action, said Trustee Chair Gary C K Huang and thanked the Foundation which fuels everything that Rotary is doing throughout the world. “It is your investment which keeps the Foundation running. Your dollars are at work in hundreds of places, serving humanity and making the world a better place.”
Addressing members of RC Madras, RID 3232, he cited an instance in which Rotarians found that infant mortality was higher than the national average in a place in Brazil. They spoke to doctors and soon provided an ICU facility and prenatal training courses for young mothers which halved the infant mortality rate in that region. In Lebanon, Rotary had installed water tanks, filter units and faucets at 19 schools where children were drinking contaminated water. “Now over 6,700 children have access to clean water every day. Think of their joy as they could now drink clear, clean water,” he said. The WASH in Schools (WinS) project taken up across Indian schools is a model that could be showcased to rest of the world, he pointed out.
Rotary clubs must be proactive to get their gender balance right by inducting more women members and a club’s profile should represent the communities in which it was located, said Trustee Gulam Vahanvaty. “RCs Madras and Bombay, to which I belong, share a strong bonding as both are celebrating 90 years of their existence,” he noted. While the Madras club has given $260,000 to TRF and received $248,000 for global grant projects last year, the Bombay club has given $870,000 to TRF and got $1.2 million for GG projects in the same period (2018–19). Besides TRF giving, it is essential that Rotarians must contribute to Polio Fund and Annual Fund of the Foundation to designate grants to community projects, he said.
Technical Training Centre
A Technical Training Centre (TTC) will be set up at the Boys Town in Gummidipoondi through a global grant and with the support of RID 7570, US, and its four clubs. “We have tied up with Worth Trust, a global NGO, to educate, train, employ and empower the differently-abled boys from rural families. A two-year residential TTC will offer boys (16–30 years) training in turner and machinist trades which will help them to get secure jobs,” said IPP Ranjit Pratap.
TTC project cost $327,260 including a TRF contribution of $78,690. “We got the project going with seed funding of $50,000 by PDG J B Kamdar and a significant donation by Club President Dr Vijaya Bharathi,” he said.
Gary felicitated Kamdar for giving more than $500,000 to TRF till now, thus reaching AKS-Level 2 and M Srinivasan for completing 25 years in the club. Earlier, Dr Vijaya listed out some of the iconic projects of RCM such as the mid-day meal scheme (1971); Rotary Nagar (1943–45); and the 3-H projects which focused on water, sanitation and hygiene; education and vocational training for empowerment. A parched lake spread over 105 acres was restored at a cost of ₹50 lakh near Sholinganallur, a suburb in Chennai, benefitting 5,000 families in the vicinity; while another dried lake (60 acres) near Tambaram on the outskirts is being revived at a cost of ₹40 lakh. “Once completed by July 2020, the lake will benefit over 50,000 people.”
The Boys Town in Gummidipoondi with 104 orphaned students offers them a secure living, food and vocational training for the last 35 years, she said. Pink cabs driven by trained women will offer call taxi services, which will be another initiative by RCM to empower women.
Rotary End Polio Flame is being revived again after its successful run in 2014–15 passing through 35 countries to commemorate polio-free India when Gary was RI President. “This time two flames will be taken on a pan-India rally from Kanyakumari to reach Kashmir by May-end to raise funds for End Polio Now campaign,” said N K Gopinath, past president. “We have handed over the two flames to RID 3232 as the lead club in implementing the K-to-K project.” The K-to-K rally will kick-off from Kanyakumari on Oct 24 — World Polio Day. Dr Vijaya Bharathi, IPP Ranjit Pratap and PDG Kamdar gave $15,000 each to TRF to mark the special occasion of Gary’s visit to the club.