Monday, 17 August 2015

Motivating Academic Achievements by Hearing Impaired Past Students of Rotary KDN Shruti School

At the Independence Day Celebrations at Rotary KDN Shruti School for Hearing Impaired (Juhu, Mumbai), three former students of the school were felicitated for achieving excellent performance at the last HSC Exams by Dr.Ramesh Oza, Audiologist & Speech Therapist, Hon.Director of the Institution and Past President of Rotary Club of Bombay West.  This over 40 year old school is established and managed by Rotary Club of Bombay West.

Chinmay Joshi passed his HSC in Science with 76%.  He stood First in Maharashtra in composite score (JEE + HSC) of 89.95% in ‘Physically Handicapped’ (PH) category.  Earlier, he had scored 93% at SSC Exams.  He is currently pursuing Computer Engineering and aims to be an expert in the field.  Speaking to the students, parents and the Rotarians after accepting the Appreciation Certificate from Dr.Oza, Chinmay said…”I came across many obstacles….I thought sometimes since I was differently-abled, I was no good.  But I didn’t give up… instead I resolved to show to the world my unique skills and worked hard with support from my teachers and my mom.”  He motivated the students by saying….”never give up, keep going, connect to as many people as possible, learn from their experiences and knowledge, explore new ideas.”

Chinmay’s twin brother, Aditya Joshi too has hearing impairment since childhood.  Despite all odds, he too has performed well at the HSC  Exams scoring 81%.  He is pursuing B.Com.  Earlier, at the SSC Exams, he had scored 93%.  Speaking on the sidelines of the function, Aditya recalled how he was treated by his fellow students when they came to know about his handicap.  “That’s the time I decided to prove and show my true skills and abilities by taking part in extra-curricular activities.  I won several sports medals and also a bronze medal at International Informatics Olympiad. I even passed elementary and intermediate drawing competition.”  Aditya had a few words of advice for the students of Shruti School….”you are unique and have the potential to do things what people say you can’t. Be around with good people, know oneself better, listen to your own voice. Nothing can stop you from going ahead and achieving your dreams and goals.”

Fighting against all odds, Nidhi Kotian scored 89.85% at HSC and stood first in Maharashtra in PH category. She also qualified for JEE Advanced (IIT). At SSC, she had scored 96.36% and was a topper in her school in the special category.  Her mantra was studying for 10 hours daily with frequent breaks for walk or music for relaxation.  She gives credit for her achievements to the support from teachers at school/college and her parents.  “Due to my hearing problems, it was difficult for me to grasp concepts in class.  The college arranged doubt-solving sessions for me, which helped me understand what was being taught.”  She is presently studying Computer Science Engineering at a college in Mumbai.

The achievements of all these three students have been reported in several mainline newspapers including The Times of India, DNA and Hindustan Times.  Rotary Club of Bombay West is truly proud of their achievements and wishes them all the success in life.

- Rtn.Aslam S. Merchant

Friday, 14 August 2015

Towards A Corruption-free India…

DGP Praveen Dixit, Director General, Anti Corruption Bureau Maharashtra addressed members of Rotary Club of Bombay West recently on Measures to Promote Corruption Free Society. He was welcomed by President Shirish Rege and introduced to the audience by President Elect Rtn.Aslam Merchant.

A dynamic person and an Honorary Rotarian of the Club for 2015-16, DGP Dixit has been instrumental in bringing to book many  corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. He has become kind of iconic for those who wish to see the Country prospering in the right direction in corruption free environment. Thanks to his reputation and zest, people from remote locations feel empowered and come forward to report cases of corruption with conviction that it will be resolved because of him.

He divided his talk in two parts. Corruption having two sides- Supply and Demand. The supply part being the private companies who prefer to take easier option of bribing officials to get their way. India stands 84th in corrupt countries which is a cause for worry. He cited examples of Union Carbide and Green Peace for getting their way through. As ethical global companies shun corrupt countries for expanding their business, we would lose out on opportunities. Moreover, the top brass of Indian companies too are interested in fudging their books of accounts. He advocated that there should be penal sanctions on such companies of the kinds which exist in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. Companies should not resort to evading the scrutiny of their books but instead voluntarily offer ethical conduct. They should follow the codes and pacts developed by ‘Transparency International’. The Board of Directors must insist on recording all transactions and that the company books should be open for scrutiny at all times. Companies should follow rules of conduct framed by the International Chamber of Commerce. He said while answering questions at this juncture that India too is moving forward formulating stringent Acts to fight corruption at supply end.

He then went on to narrate about the actions taken during his tenure. He said the victims of these corrupt practices are across all cross sections of society, from disabled, senior citizens to marginalized sections. Heartening thing, he said, is that youth is coming forward to report these incidents. The accused again were from all professions, i.e. Revenue Officers, Doctors, Engineers, Advocates, Teachers, Police officers, Elected Members of Local Bodies and so on. Female accused interestingly seemed about 10%.  He gave impressive statistics of the number of traps laid and convictions about corrupt practices, disproportionate assets and said that again convictions have taken place across all sections. Traps are laid even in remote places as far away as beyond Gadchiroli and people are coming forward to report such cases from every district and Tehsil in Maharashtra. He spoke about catching people resorting to corruption in welfare schemes too.

He exhorted everyone to come forward to report corruption cases to make our society corruption free.

He elaborated on effective use of technology and social media and gave the web-based mobile friendly application at and toll free number 1064 to report incidents of corruption. One can also lodge a complaint on official website or on email to  Complaints can also be lodged through the Facebook page

While answering a good number of questions, he said that earlier the moral values and ethics that were inculcated at home, need to be now included in school curriculum to drive home such issues.

Past President Rajendra Ruia thanked Hon.Rtn Praveen Dixit  as also his wife Mrs.Arundhati Dixit for honouring the Club with their gracious presence. Rtn.Ruia informed the audience that Mr.Dixit was recently nominated as the first President of Rotary District 3140 Peace Alumni Association chartered recently by Rotary International. He praised Mr Dixit’s initiatives in use of social media. At the end, he quoted Mr Dixit…  we all have to do our bit and pay some price to make our country corruption free.

 Report Dr.(Mrs.) Kavita Rege, Principal, Sathaye College & First Lady of RCBW

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Jeevan ki Pathshala – A 6-Day Value Education Workshop at Adivasi School

Rotary Club of Bombay West recently conducted a 6-Day Workshop on Value Education titled “Jeevan ki Pathshala” at Gokhale Education Society’s Kosbad Ashram Shala at Dahanu in Maharashtra.  Over 180 students in age group of 10 – 13 benefited through this intensive workshop which covered a wide range of areas including health, nutrition, environment, power of mind, intellect, positive thinking, good habits and love for our country.  The learning took place through innovative techniques like story telling, singing and showing video clips from reputed sources including UNICEF. All this was inter-woven with Yoga Philosophy and Techniques to improve mind power, concentration and memory retention among students.  The closing session of the programme included a slick presentation by the students on what they imbibed during the workshop, in presence of their school principal and teachers.  The club also provided the school with set of 100 booklets published by Punarutthan Vidyapeeth, Ahmedabad on value education titled ‘Punyabhoomi Bharat Sanskriti Vaachanmala’ and copies of ‘Kahani Suno Kamyaab Bano’ written by Rtn.Laxminarayan Baijal and published by our Club.

On behalf of the Club, the Workshop was conducted by Rtn.Laxminarayan Baijal and his spouse Kiran Baijal who are experienced in organizing such seminars and clinics on a professional level for various institutions and NGOs in India. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Top Ranking Students from Tribal Villages honoured by Rotary

Top Ranking Students from Tribal Villages honoured by Rotary

Rotary Club of Bombay West awarded Merit Certificates and Cash Awards to about 150 top ranking students of  50 schools and colleges from tribal villages of Talasari and Dahanu in Palghar.  SUPA FARM ROTARY EXCELLENCE AWARDS ceremony was held at Com.Godavari Shamrao Parulekar College of Arts, Commerce & Science, Talasari where Shri Kalyan Banerjee, Past Rotary International President was the Chief Guest.

The Cash Awards of Rs.5000, Rs.3000 and Rs.2000 each to the top 3 rankers at board / university level examinations has been instituted by the Club from the donation of Rs.50 lacs received from Dr.Mohanbhai Patel, reputed industrialist, Ex-Sheriff of Mumbai and Past President of the Club. Addressing the gathering, Dr.Mohanbhai Patel talked what “Excellence” meant to him.  The phenomenal work done by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to unite India post-freedom from the Britishers was epitome of “Excellence” and so was the communication skills of Mahatma Gandhi who could effectively communicate with 40 crore Indians without the availability of present day technology-based tools.  Today, every child in India has equal opportunity to excel. The intention of the Supa Farm Rotary Excellence Awards was to recognize the potential amongst the tribal children and encourage them to have high ambitions in life.  By bringing Rotary to the doorstep of these villages, his objective was to encourage interactions of rural students with urban professionals and contribute towards their  development.

Speaking to the students, Shri Kalyan Banerjee, who is only the 3rd Indian President  in 110 years’ history of Rotary International, said that people from Talasari have majorly contributed to the success of the industries in Vapi belt, including his own manufacturing unit set up since 1972.  He praised the intelligence levels of the local people and was sure that with the encouragement and support of philanthropists like Dr.Mohanbhai Patel, the students from these villages can realize  their dreams.

Earlier, Shri Shirish Rege, President of the Rotary Club of Bombay West welcomed the students, parents, teachers and the principals of the institutions to the awards function.  In his advise to the students, he urged students to follow the 11 vows  recommended by Gandhiji way back in 1915 which were relevant even today and would lead them to the path of success in their lives.

- Report by President Elect Rtn.Aslam S. Merchant