The Rotary Club of Deonar received its Charter in May 1987. It had 28 Charter members and by all standards it was a small club. The Geographical area of the club was suburbs of Chembur & Deonar, which were situated in North East of Mumbai city. Today we are 33 years old with vast experience in various community programs benefiting the underprivileged, the differently abled, etc.
Chembur and Deonar are suburbs on the north east of Mumbai. It is a highly industrialized zone with two big Oil Refineries, one Fertilizer Plant, a Thermal Power Station and a Nuclear Research Centre. There are several educational institutions, a Leprosy home, Home for the Mentally Retarded children and a home for the Destitute children. In the neighborhood, there is Shivaji Nagar, a very large slum area. This mix of high and low offer a great challenge for the community service activities.
When Rotary International embarked on its Polio eradication mission, the club found a monumental task in immunization work in Shivaji Nagar slums. Working in a systematic fashion, all houses in Shivaji Nagar were enumerated and Polio vaccine dose was given to nearly 68,000 children in one year. The work of polio eradication continued and recently the area was declared polio free. Ever since Polio eradication program was started, the club consistently won the Polio Eradication Trophy for maximum number of immunizations every year. The club got the distinction of being called Polio Plus club. We have also been conducting Polio Corrective Surgeries annually in Mumbai, Barshi and Chandausi. A very dedicated team of orthopedics from U.K., U.S.A. and India regularly conduct these camps organized by our club. More than 4000 children have benefited from this program.
Club members are active in several other fields such as providing Free medical aid to the poor and needy, vocational guidance to the children of the poor and uneducated parents, clean drinking water to the Municipal schools, Scholarships to the poor students etc. Our Club participated with the Municipal Corporation for establishing several public utility rest rooms. Most of these programs have been funded by the resources of club members.
Club has also been organizing Sports Meets for the physically challenged students (mentally challenged, hearing impaired, physically challenged and visually impaired). These special children are called Differently Abled children and they are highly motivated when they compete with each other in the play-ground. On 7th January, 2006, the club organized a Cricket tournament for these children and the same was highly successful.
On the Rotary front, club has established:
- Senior Citizen Club,
- Inner Wheel Club,
- Rotaract Club
- Interact Clubs
- Rotary Community Corps (At Shelu village)
All these Partners in Service are very active in their service activities and have established a name in the community.
Rotary Club of Deonar is in the forefront in International Service.
- Regularly donated to The Rotary Foundation.
- Sponsored several candidates for GSE team program.
- Sponsored 4 candidates for Ambassadorial Scholarships.
- Participated in Family exchange programs.
It is a known fact that majority of the people of India live in the villages. Due to lack of industrialization, a large part of the population in the villages remains poor. The major problem there is shortage of clean drinking water, sanitation facilities, formal education and lack of small scale industries for generating income.
In the year 1993, the club established a Rotary Community Corp (RCC) at Shelu a village about 80 Kilometers from Mumbai. RCC members with the help of Rotary Club of Deonar- carried out several community service projects with a special focus on Polio immunization.
Consecutively we took up the onus of empowering the villagers, by providing them with clean drinking water and better sanitation facilities. This we hoped would minimize water borne diseases and provide the villagers clean environments. In the beginning, three bore-wells with hand operated pumps and a toilet block was established. The results were highly successful. Later, under a joint project with a club in the USA (RI Dist 5450) another nine Bore-wells were dug. Toilet blocks were constructed at Badwal and Kalambh villages.
The Clean Drinking Water & Sanitation project impressed many who visited the site as also Mr. Jaap Vaandrager of Netherlands who was so motivated that he donated a large sum of money towards this project. Thus began our warm association with Japp. Mr. Vaandrager then initiated a joint project with the help of his Rotary club of Zotermeer Zegwaart, Rotary Club of Deonar, Cordaid and Rotary International and has raised a sum of US $ 105,000. Under this project 18 units consisting of Toilet Blocks & Bore-wells for Drinking water are under construction. The villagers have already started responding positively towards these developmental projects. At Kalambh village, an RCC has started functioning. Our stress has always been that the villagers should be self sufficient and should shoulder the responsibility of maintaining and further improving the facilities we have initiated.
The next big requirement in the rural areas is in the field of primary and secondary education. The existing schools lack basic facilities like proper ventilated structures, school benches, ceiling fans, teaching aids. Rotary Club of Deonar is looking out for like minded institutions/individuals who will contribute towards this program.
Under the Rotary project, Sleeping Children around the World, Slumber Kits (consisting of several utility items including Blankets, Bed sheets, School Dresses, School Bags with stationary items.) are distributed to poor school going children. This has helped in reducing the drop-outs in school going children who can not continue studies due to financial and other reasons. Club is sponsoring specially trained social workers to train the school teachers in modern methods of education. Computers are donated and Libraries are set up in to village Schools.
Children are encouraged to go to schools and those very poor are provided with financial support by way of sponsoring school fees and free books. Vocational training was arranged for some parents and finance arranged for the needy so that they can get a minimum sustainable income. Recently a Women co-operative was formed to manufacture consumable products for sale to generate additional income.
To widen the scope of activities, it is planned to establish a Rotary Welfare Centre. The Club is in contact with Government authorities for leasing out land to establish the Welfare Centre.
We invite one and all to be part of this great Service opportunity and developmental activity.