Rotary Project: My Saturday Experience

Posted: May 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I have been in the Rotary Club movement for many years now. About 15 years or so.

Most of these were as a member of the Rotary Club of Bombay Worli, where I was even Director on the Board, for a few years. I was reasonably active and had a great time as a member there. We did some good projects there, besides having a lot of fun at parties and picnics and outstation trips.

Then, we sold the business and I moved to Delhi for a year and a half. And due to that reason, I came out of Rotary for a couple of years.

Once I returned back to Mumbai and started the new venture, Social Wavelength, for a while I was busy with the set up. But Rotary Club beckoned, and I found my current club, the Rotary Club of Deonar, and joined it. But with a new startup and the priority that work takes in life, and on account of the fact that the weekly meetings are on a weekday evening, I have been a pathetic participant in Rotary Club activities of this club. Not liking it, but that’s how it has been.

Few weeks back, I took a resolve. No, not about Rotary. But about my life and my time!

We have two Saturdays off, in a month, and I realized that I would end up working most times. And I did not want to do so, as there was no end to work, and the holiday had to mean something. I decided that I will NOT work on those holiday Saturdays, and typically, try to do funner things like visiting new places, or something equally interesting.

And I kept at it for a couple of these holiday Saturdays – a trip to Lavasa once, and then to Shapur to a temple another time.

This time, around, we got a Saturday holiday by accident. Our events team at the office, finalized the 2nd anniversary party on the Friday night, and as it would be celebrations that go on till late at night, we decided to give the next Saturday as a holiday (well, we will work on one of the following holiday Saturdays to compensate!). And I got this unexpected Saturday off, which was the 5th Saturday of the month.

I had no other plans on this unexpected off. Then I remembered a Rotary project that was to happen on the Saturday and I decided to go for it.

Our Rotary Club has been associated with a few villages in Taluka Karjat. As a part of this association, there is set up a Rotary Community Corps (local voluntary body) also, out there. In association with the RCC, our club has contributed a lot of good community service projects there, including some 36 borewells, toilet blocks, desks in schools, etc.

I found out most of this information when I went for the project yestrerday.

Seeing this one can really appreciate how some small tasks for us, can give meaningful life for so many.

The households for whom the toilet block happened, live in hygenic surroundings now.

The village gets better water from the borewells.

Classrooms look like classrooms with the desks, and motivate children to go to schools and parents to send them.

In similar vein, we had gone for yet another new project for the village.

There is a river that flows past this village. If left to flow, the extent of water that collects in the lake there, is small, and it also dries up by about December or January. The village has a tough time coping with the last few months of summer.

There is a concept called a check dam – a dam of a few feet in height, that will hold some water in place, allowing the rest to flow over , with the river. There was an old government constructed check dam earlier, but it had got breached and it was not possible to repair that one.

The villagers would then use bags of sand etc. to serve to check the water. This was ineffective beyond a point.

Finally it was decided to build a new check dam. The villagers themselves contributed a decent 20-25% of the cost of this, another good percentage came from a person in the Netherlands, who has been a contributor to projects in this area. Rest of it was arranged and the project coordinated, by our Rotary Club.

Yesterday was the inauguration and final handover of the check dam. This was done by the District Governor Elect, Rtn Vijay Jalan.

Post inauguration, there was a small meeting arranged with the help of the village folk there. Young school girls of the village entertained us with some group singing.

Besides small speeches, the villagers served us vada-pav, sweets, watermelon etc.

There were 5 cars full of Rotary folk (and I mean 5 cars FULL) who had gone for this visit, which only speaks for the extent of interest and effort that the members at Rotary Club of Deonar take, for project and service.

Post this project, we had a planned stop at Saguna Baug, an agro-tourism desination. Run by extremely dedicated and highly motivated folks, the place strives in complete sincerity, to promote the virtues of being an agriculturist, and seeks to guide all of us about agriculture.

A fabulous place, it merits revisit, and perhaps a stay too.

All in all, it was a good trip, a good opportunity to be at a Rotary project after a long time, and interact with fellow Rotarians, and a motivator now, to be a little more regular in Rotary hereafter!

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