It has indeed been an interesting experience for us over the last 40 years of our existence. Nestled on the banks of the River Hooghly or Ganga and being in close proximity to the Railway settlement, our existence has been steeped with Port and railway people. Having the historical settlement of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in our territory that is presently called Metiabruz, we have had exposure to different scenarios during the important campaigns of Rotary. Poverty, illiteracy, malnourishment, unemployment were all witnessed and addressed as far as possible.
“Thalassemia” was once synonymous with Rotary Garden Reach; we take pride in the fact that what was started at the club level has now become a District activity of RI District 3291. The efforts were initiated by our members and continued even after they have moved away. Our satisfaction is that the suffering children would get some relief from their deadly disease.
“Pulse Polio” as it was known at the beginning, saw members going all out to reach the vulnerable section of the population overcoming all odds of community and religious opposition. Awareness was created through available means in the alleys and by-lanes of the area. Religious leaders were counselled to convince the masses of its usefulness. Immunization teams were looked after to ensure total output. The effectiveness was evident when bigger children carried the younger ones to immunization booths for the drops. We proved that we could do it. Incidentally we took an additional KMC ward under our fold in the area for reaching out.
“Nabo Disha” a programme conceived by Kolkata Police was another programme that saw members going full steam ahead. Having a significant number of Doctors as members and also the support of the doctors of Central Hospital of South Eastern Railway, the efforts were appreciated by RI District as well as the Police. Providing nutrition to the young children during the camp, along with essential medicines, was ensured during the campaign.
Recognising “Vocational Excellence” was another area that was addressed with a difference. The personnel who serve the local population at the routine locations namely the Post Office, Policeman, Railway Reservation counter, cleaners of the hospital, were invited and honoured at a club event, after being nominated by their administrators. The reason was obvious – to felicitate those who were not recognised for their routine jobs which they executed to the best of their abilities.
Rotary Medical Mission to Africa has been in vogue in the District since 2007. We feel proud that we have had an important role in these missions as the President and members have supported and sent one of our Doctor-member successfully for six such missions. An achievement that that has no comparison in any Rotary District of this country!
After the successful eradication of Polio from India, the focus is now on removing Illiteracy completely in South East Asian countries. Following in the footsteps of the Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM), our Club has undertaken several projects in Tribal villages of Bolpur and a small school in the far reaches of Bishnupur in Bankura District. From distributing Winter Kits, books, toys and basic medicines to the children and their families, our club is looking forward to being more actively involved in Literacy programmes in Kolkata and the neighbouring districts.
We have been known to be a centre of fellowship being a “Garden within Reach”. The legacy has continued and it gives us immense satisfaction when young Rotarians at the helm of the affairs now carry forward this tradition with the true spirit of friendship!
We are proud of another feature of our Club – the family legacy....... Fathers and sons, husbands & wives have actively carried out assignments giving a truly family flavour to our existence. The new generation that has taken over the reins, have dedication, commitment, vigour, enthusiasm and the will to give – to share and care for the world. Over these 40 years, all our members have contributed immensely in their own capacities and have proved time and again that Rotary is truly “Service Above Self”! We are confident that we will surely be “Gifts to the World” “ Making a Difference” while “ Serving Humanity!!”