RCB lends a hand in rehabilitation of flood affected people in Kerala
Any calamity and RCB is the first to initiate efforts to support the affected persons. The Kerala floods and the devastation inspired many an RCBian to contribute towards the revival of livelihoods and providing assistance to get back to their routine. Upon discussion with PDG Rtn. Sunil Zachariah, it was felt that once the calamity has passed, supporting rehabilitation would be a great challenge and hence we were advised to await the report from the local Rotary Clubs who had set up shelter and rehabilitation camps for the affected persons.
Following this, an eight member committee along with Rtns. Narayanan Menon, Bhaskaran Pillai and KT Ommen got to flood rehabilitation work and after due diligence have identified and selected persons who had made applications for aid to revive their livelihood. The claims were thoroughly verified and the deserving persons called upon to receive financial support and assistance in kind. Several clubs from Kerala joined this mission. They also got help from Rotary Clubs of Chennai; other Bangalore clubs. The Rotary Club of Bangalore had collected an amount of approximately Rs. 9 lakhs specifically for the Kerala flood relief and following the receipt of the details of the first set of individual beneficiaries identified by the Rotary Club of Kalamasserry an amount of approximately Rs. 5 lakhs was disbursed.
On the 7th February evening a program was organised by the Rotary Club of Kalamasserry at the Recca Club, Recca Valley, Thrikkakara, and the beneficiaries were present to receive the aid. RCB was represented by President Elect Rtn. Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh and Rtn. Gertrude D'Souza who were received very warmly by the President, Secretary and members of the Rotary Club of Kalamasserry.After a formal welcome, Rtn. Narayanan Menon explained the process of due diligence and identifying of deserving people. He invited the recipients to receive the cheques in their individual names and the President Elect handed over the cheques.The recipients narrated their stories and expressed gratitude to the RCB for their assistance in the revival of their livelihood. Among the beneficiaries was a lady who lost her two sewing machines which were her only source of earning; a lady who survived by rearing goats and had lost them; an auto driver who lost his only auto; and a book seller whose books were washed away, and so on…
Following this the PE addressed the club and the beneficiaries and wished them well in their future. There was a formal exchange of flags between the clubs, too.
It was heartening to hear that honesty prevails even in the face of tragedy - when the President narrated incidents where beneficiaries in a couple of cases said they had already received aid from other NGOs and from the Government too and suggested it be given to others who are in dire need.
We await the second list of persons which is expected in a couple of days for disbursal of the remaining amount collected for the purpose. The tearful expression of gratitude by a lady who will be able to live with dignity and feed her family now that she has received the aid from RCB was very touching.The stories of the flood affected people certainly leaves us with the message that we have a lot to be grateful for and are obliged to rush help in times of calamities.
Rtn. Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh.