Rotaract is a Rotary supported service club for young people between 18 and 30.
During the last one month I regularly interacted with Dr.Natasha Sahijwala, a member of Rotaract club of Caduceus which is a club of medical students, paramedical students and interns from medical colleges across Mumbai and is in its tenth year of existence.
Natasha, a student of D.Y Patil Medical College, was first introduced to this network while she volunteered to survey the victims of 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Since then she has been a part of Caduceus and was elected as the president for her commitment and dedication.
During her tenure, Rotaract of Caduceus worked on various projects with partner NGOs. The most notable one was their close collaboration with The Spastics Society of India. Through funds raised from Rotary, they constructed an activity room and playground for the spastic kids. Apart from that, they organized a toy donation drive across various medical colleges in Mumbai and distributed over 300 toys to the children. Natasha says that it is the best thing that has ever happened to her and nothing can beat the joy that comes with the smiles on their faces. They also regularly organize blood donation camps in collaboration with King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Natasha complains that most people donate but do not empathize. She cited that Rotaract itself is like an NGO and they face similar problems. She observed that NGOs do not give enough incentives for people to volunteer and that most volunteers do not take work seriously. Therefore twenty percent of the people end up being proactive and doing most of the work.
She says that Caduceus is different from most other Rotaracts, as they are more focused on implementing projects rather than networking. But unlike Rotarys, Rotaracts collaborate among themselves and most of their projects are implemented in collaboration with other NGOs. Natasha feels that Rotary too should work with NGOs and other Rotarys to maximize impact.
Apart from managing the team and projects of Caduceus, which is quite a time intensive task in itself, Natasha regularly volunteers at various NGOs despite having a very tight schedule at medical school.
Self motivated people like Natasha are catalyzing the process of change and are changing the world one step at a time despite the odds. This also showcases clubs like Rotaract provide an enabling platform for the youth to rally around a worthy cause and create an impact for the betterment of society.
: : By Varsha Adusumilli : :