Monday, 30 June 2014

Bhavishya Yaan Programme Celebrates 3rd Anniversary !!

RCBW’s Bhavishya Yaan Programme Celebrates 3rd Anniversary !!

RCBW’s Bhavishya Yaan Programme at the Municipal Secondary Marathi School, Vile Parle E, Mumbai completes three academic years.  To celebrate this event, a function was organized by the second batch of students undergoing this programme for the benefit of members of our Club and Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West on Monday, 30th June, 2014 at 11:30 AM at the School premises.  Those present included President Krishna Kejriwal, Incoming President Mohan Joshi and R/Ann Geeta Joshi, PP Sukhdev Puri and R/Ann Urmil Puri, IW President Kirtida Dave, PE Shirish Rege and R/Ann Kavita Rege, Rtn.Hemant Joshi, Rtn.Chandrashekhar Khobrekar and Rtn.Aslam  Merchant.  Also present were the dedicated and committed Ms.Deepa Shetiya, the Centre Manager for the Programme and Ms.Mehtab Uttanwala, the English Teacher.

The students performed a skit, a dance, recitation of poetry and speech on importance of monsoon season.  Two students also gave a brief on the Bhavishya Yaan Programme and how it is was benefiting them in their overall development.  Everyone present applauded the efforts which went into the programme as also the confidence with which the students performed.  Our Club also took the opportunity to felicitate students of Bhavishya Yaan’s first batch who had passed the recent SSC Exams with flying colours.  The first three rankers were Sonali with 82%, Deepak with 81% and Prajakta with 80% marks.

Bhavishya Yaan is a skills enhancement programme for less privileged children studying at Municipal Schools acclaimed by Rotary International as the most innovative project in the field of literacy.  The Programme at Vile Parle E Municipal School is being managed by our Club in partnership with NGOs Vidya and Women’s India Association.  PP Sukhdev Puri and R/Ann Urmil Puri have been at the forefront of this initative on behalf of the Club.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Rtn.Mohan Joshi Installed as President for 2014-15

With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Every year, the installation of a new President at the Rotary Club of Bombay West ushers in new vigor, new ideas and fresh optimism to reach out further for the alleviation of human misery and improving the quality of life in the neighboring communities.

On Wednesday, the 25th June, 2014, our Club witnessed the Installation Ceremony of President Mohan Joshi and his Board for the Rotary WOW Year 2014-15 which begins on 1st July in presence of the Chief Guest Rtn. Ajay Gupta, District Governor (2014-15).  A meticulously planned event, attended by several Past District Governors (PDGs), District dignitaries, WOW Presidents of other Clubs in District 3140 and leaders from Partners in Service, began with an invocation song, seeking blessings of the Almighty by the Past President of Inner Wheel Club of Bombay West, R/Ann Prakruti Vasani.

President Krishna Kejriwal welcomed the dignitaries and guests present, in particular PDG Sajjan Goenka, PDG Prabhakar Store, PDG Bansi Dhurandar and PDG J.T.Vyas.  He also extended a special welcome to the ex-Sheriff of Mumbai and Past President Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel, Past President of International Inner Wheel Club R/Ann Pallavi Shah, Inner Wheel Chair R/Ann Himadri Nanavati and District Rotaract Representative Rtr.Hemang Jakhia.

President Kejriwal recalled the publication of “Yatra – the Journey”, a coffee table book during the Club’s Golden Jubilee Year 2004-05 under the then President Rtn. Saroj Rao.  The current year saw the Club celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and to commemorate the glorious event, a team led by PP Saroj Rao was given the challenge to publish a sequel.  The Yatra Team has designed and published yet another masterpiece -  “Yatra – Hands of Hope” encompassing the Club’s contribution to society in the decade since the golden jubilee celebrations and giving a glimpse of what we aim to achieve in the coming years. The Yatra Team had the privilege of the DGE Ajay Gupta to release the publication Yatra – Hands of Hope amidst thunderous applause from those present.

The main highlights of the Club’s activities during the year gone by included:
·         A donation of Rs.100 lakhs in May 2014 Past President Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel with the objective of creating a corpus under the Rotary Service Public Charitable Trust under the Chandaben Mohanbhai Patel Rotary Excellence Award and utilizing the income (approx.Rs.9 lakhs per annum) for giving cash awards to students from neighbouring schools / colleges for excelling in their Board / University level exams.  To meet any gap in funding for the first awards to be announced shortly, PP Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel has committed a further donation which was appreciated by all.  President Kejriwal felicitated PP Rtn. Mohanbhai Patel with a memento for his generous contribution to the cause of education. 
·         Another key event of the year was the receipt of further donations of Rs.10 lacs from Rtn.Narendra Parekh towards the Cochlear Implant programme which benefits less privileged children with hearing impairment. President Kejriwal also felicitated Rtn.Narendra Parekh for his generosity and continued commitment towards a noble cause. 
·         Another major initiative, the brain child of our PP Rtn. Rajendra Ruia, our one man army on the RI peace programme, was the start of a certificate course on Peace & Conflict Resolution. A 4 day intensive course spread over 2 weekends, designed and conducted by some of the outstanding Rotary Peace Centres Alumni of RI District 3140 and attended by over 20 participants, it now features in the list of permanent projects of Bombay West
·         The other notable projects included the blood donation drives in partnership with the Inner Wheel club of Bombay West and the Rtaract clubs – 4250 bottles of blood were collected for the Rotary DG Goenka Blood Bank, the donation of a 25-seater school bus in partnership with the Inner Wheel Club for tribal students of a school run by the Srimad Rajchandra Aatma Tatva Research Centre at Parli village near Khopoli.
·         Some other highlight achievements of the Club included:
o    Meeting the TRF commitment, thanks to a contribution of USD 10000 by Rtn.Madhu Narang,
o    making a contribution of Rs.7 lakhs towards the Uttarakhand Disaster Relief Fund,
o    providing mid-day meals at schools and
o    helping build 5 Rotary Kutirs under the District Project of Low Cost Housing for the rural poor. 

The incoming President Mohan Joshi, was described as an intelligent, analytical mind with a golden heart - a right choice for leading this prestigious club by outgoing President Rtn Krishna Kejriwal.  Holding a a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from BITS, Pilani and a Management degree from the University Business School, Chandigarh, Mohan is a hard core professional with global experience of over 3 decades across diverse regions and business environments. He has recently retired as President of German Multinational SCHOTT Glass but continues his association with the company as Strategic Advisor. Mohan is now engaged as an independent Management Advisor in areas of Negotiation, Strategy, and Leadership to some German and Indian companies. In his acceptance speech, President Mohan Joshi reiterated his deep commitment to the rotary values for serving humanity.  In his year as President, the Club would focus on identified areas under the LEAP Programme viz. Literacy for all, Environment, Water and Sanitation, Ability and Challenges of the Disabled and Elderly and Poonar-nirman (revisiting the earlier projects of the Club). 

Pres. Mohan Joshi identified 3 major challenges for bringing about improvements in the literacy rate viz. water, infrastructure and e-communication.  While the enrolment rate is quite high, there is a problem about attendance at schools and the need to bring about reductions in dropouts.  These issues need to be addressed in a holistic way to enable us to get desired results.  The young population is our country’s ‘strength’ as well as ‘weakness’.  Strength because it means the availability of a young work-force with innovative ideas.  However, this strength turns into a ‘weakness’ if they don’t receive adequate training for required skills to enter their productive phase. Hence, the need to address the needs of the youth in partnership with Rotaract Clubs.  He further mentioned that all the permanent and regular community service projects of the Club will be continued with renewed zeal to take the achievements of the Club to greater heights.  Lastly, he talked about the importance of Fellowship Events in Rotary which he compared with team building and leadership development events of the corporate world.

President Mohan Joshi then introduced individually his team of Directors who were pinned by the chief guest DGE Ajay Gupta.  Rtn. Dr Usha Jaychandran, Editor of the Flying Carpet had the privilege of having the DGE release a special issue. Group Co-ordinator Vikas Upadhyay expressed his happiness with the projects done by the Club and those envisaged by the new team during the next Rotary year.  Asst. Governor Designate Dr. Raju Sahetya thanked DGE Ajay Gupta for appointing him as the AG of our Club, which he described as a “shining jewel in his AG crown”.  He assured his support in all the activities of the Club and formally introduced DGE Ajay Gupta.

Rtn. Ajay Gupta, DG (2014-15) expressed his complete amazement with the community service projects being undertaken by our Club year after year, for the last six decades.  He saluted the founder members of the Club whose vision has made this Club what it is, with one of the best infrastructures in the form of the Rotary Service Centre in the heart of Mumbai city. Expressing his confidence in the leadership of Rtn. Mohan, the DGE looked forward to working closely working with him and his team in the ensuing Rotary year.  Lastly, he urged the Club to enhance its goals for increases in membership as well as contributions to TRF. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks from President Elect Rtn.Shirish Rege.
The installation programme appeared to have charged up our members and we can look forward to another successful year ahead.  As a member sitting in the audience, I was reminded of a famous quote by St. Francis of AssisiStart by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
Here’s wishing President Mohan Joshi and his team a wonderful 2014-15

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

E-Communication@Rotary by Rtn.Aslam Merchant

Meet Report : 4th June, 2014.


Rotary International has been emphasizing use of e-Communication to the Rotary Clubs around the world.  Our DGE Ajay Gupta too is extremely enthusiastic of taking the e-Communication in Rotary District 3140 to the next level.  His vision is to ensure all Clubs in the District are E friendly, E Alert and E Savvy to be able to make maximum use of eCommunication techniques and social media for internal and external communication as well as a powerful PR tool.  With this in mind, the District has created a position of E-Administrator for every Club…. perhaps the first District globally to make this move.  For the Rotary Year 2014-15, I have been appointed as the E-Admin for our Club.

Thanks to President Krishna Kejriwal, PE Mohan Joshi and PP Chandramohan Saigal, I was given the opportunity to address the Club on eCommunication@Rotary... to understand where we are currently and where we would like to go with the support of 150+ Members using various eCommunication channels available at our disposal today.

The responsibilities of any Rotary Club are sustaining and increasing membership, participation in service projects, supporting TRF finances and programmes and developing leaders beyond the Club level.  E-Communication is a very powerful tool to fulfil these responsibilities. Use of technology facilitates seamless communication with members, with the District and other Clubs globally as well as with public at large.  The possibilities are endless if every member of the Club joins in this mission by actively participating in it.

Our Club has been at the forefront of using technology in its day-to-day functioning.  Our Club’s Website is one of the most comprehensive websites in the Rotary World giving information relevant to every visitor, be it our own member or a member from another club, district officials, potential members and anyone interested in knowing about rotary in general and about our club in particular.  A regular visit by our members will help them in keeping updated about the programmes and events, view photo-gallery, know the latest news from RI, access to club’s weekly bulletin and much more.  Members are encouraged to share the links on our website with their friends and relatives either thru’ emails or on social media. 

Social Media is gaining immense popularity since the last few years and Rotary International has been encouraging the Clubs to have a presence on it to connect with members and non-members alike.  Our Club has a presence on Facebook where a Closed Group of more than 90 Members has been created.  However, lack of ‘posts’ and visits by the members on the FB Group Page has served limited purpose.  Once the traffic on the FB Group increases and more members use it to talk about the projects or project ideas, the fellow-members can share what they like on their personal timelines thus making their circle of friends aware of the rotary projects.  The Club is yet to try out other social media channels like Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Video Conferencing, Group Chats, etc. and suggestions / views of the members are invited to expand our social media presence to achieve our goals.

Our Club was one of the first to subscribe to “Roster on Wheels” (ROW) – an App for Smartphones.  This revolutionary App has been developed by a Mumbai-based IT Company and has received the approval from District 3140.  This App gives access to all the details of the Club Members which are otherwise available in the printed club roster, but with quick search modes by name, classification, family or blood group.  The other exciting feature of this App is the ability to communicate with fellow-members and club officials about meeting schedules, birthdays and anniversaries, events, announcements and flash news on a real-time basis.  Members are requested to download this App and use it for staying in touch with the club activities.

Our District will be launching a new website this July, which will be a permanent district website unlike the earlier ones which changed every year.  The website will be extremely interactive requiring the Clubs to post details of projects, events, minutes of the meetings, attendance, OCV files, etc.  Certain features of the website will be synced with ROW to avoid duplicating data entry efforts for the Club.

It is once again emphasized that to successfully use e-Communication as a tool to achieve our goals, we need active participation of all the 150+ members of our Club.

I thank Rtn.Haituk Desai for my formal introduction at the meeting and PP Rtn.Prakash Shah for the formal vote of thanks.

-Rtn.Aslam Merchant