Rotary Garden for Differently Abled.
In 1983-84, our club took on lease, part of Maharshi Karve Udyan, Wadala, from Mumbai Municipal Corporation and developed “Rotary Garden for Differently Abled” This Garden is ideally located in central Mumbai and is well connected by road and rail transport. It is at a few minutes’ walk from Wadala Station. The Garden is used for various activities by differently abled children and adults. Children from Special schools for mentally retarded, deaf and dumb, blind and physically handicapped, come for a day’s picnic. Most of the play equipments in the garden, are as per the need of these special children. They also use this place for their sports meet, annual get together etc. Our club provides them free snacks and lunch during such picnics. We also provide free transport also for needy schools.
In 2006-07, wespentapprox. Rs.40 Lacs tobuilt a Center within the Rotary Garden for Differently Abled. It measures 2,500 sft. and facilitates various activities of the club as well as the differently abled when they come to the garden. It is used by senior citizens on daily basis. We have provided them games like carom and chess. Once a week we have Yoga Classes. We also hold our regular meetings at this center.
Open Day Meet for Differently Abled
Once a year in February, we invite all the special schools within Mumbai to participate in our flagship project- “Open Day” Meet. This meet was started before 1983 i.e. before we developed our own garden and it used to happen in Five Gardens. On this day, approx. 800+ children from about 30 schools showcase their talents. The performances include solo singing, group singing, solo dance, group dance, drama, fancy dress, skits, musical instruments etc. Separate prizes are given for individual as well as group performances. There is separate category for Mentally Retarded children also. School which wins maximum prizes is given “The Best School” Trophy. The total gathering of children with teachers, parents, care takers, Rotarians and their well wishers is more than 1400 people. We serve breakfast, followed by juice, lunch, ice cream and return gift. Schools look forward to participate and prepare well in advance for the meet. Total expenses are borne by the club.
Carnival for the Differently Abled
This event was held for the first time on 3rd December, 2012. UN has announced 3nd December as “International Day of the Persons with Disability”. The observance of the Day aims to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of benefits to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life. Due to the tremendous response, we were compelled to repeat it in 2013 and now it has become an annual event. All the special schools which come under Social Welfare Department, Mumbai city, Government of Maharashtra are part of this carnival.
The event starts with a rally from Five Gardens, Dadar and ends at Rotary Garden, Wadala. It is flagged off by District Governor. Rally is lead by a student band from our Interact school. Students, teachers, parents, Rotarians and many other volunteers are part of the rally. They carry school banners, placards. Children wear caps and masks. Mascots, clowns, stilt walker, single wheel cyclist are part of the rally. Once they reach the garden and settle down, the carnival is formally inaugurated with message from District Governor and other dignitaries. It is followed by demonstration by military band and magic show. By this time sun sets and the entire garden is illuminated with lights. Children are entertained with fire show, magic show, etc apart from dancing to the tune of music with DJ. It is a mesmerizing sight. Apart from shows, there are a number of games arranged in the garden. There is mini train, merry go round and jumping jack. There are balloon sculptures, tattoo-mehendi artists and also hair braiders. There are pop corns and candy floss. And to top it all, there is dinner also. NGOs working for disabled, are allowed to erect stalls to sell their products for generating funds for a noble cause. All this is free for the special children and their accomplice.
Blood Donation and Thalassaemia Detection Camps
We are one of the largest collectors of donated blood year after year in Maharashtra and have been honoured by the State for this. Our area is an educational hub. There are many colleges in our vicinity and we support NSS units of these Colleges to organize blood donation camps. The camps are preceded by talks on importance of blood donation. We distribute pamphlets giving answers to frequently asked questions about blood donation. Along with blood donation, we educate students on Thalassaemia and encourage them to get themselves checked. Thalassaemia checkups for young college going students are done free of cost.
Medical Camps like Eye & Dental Check-up are conducted at regular intervals with Rotarian Doctors teaming up with others at our own centre or in the vicinity of the club. Eye operations are arranged with Lotus Group of Hospitals for the needy while spectacles are donated free of cost to the poor. Mammography checkups are regularly carried out at various locations at a nominal cost to participants along with “Breast Cancer Awareness” drives among women.
Destitute Children at B.J. Home, Matunga, look forward for the first Sunday of every month. We celebrate birthdays by cake-cutting by the group of children whose birthday fall during that month and distribute gifts to those children & snacks to all others. Some of the festivals of the year too are celebrated by the members at the Home along with the children. Some of our members and their family members go and teach these children on regular basis.