With a population of 1.2 billion people, India is a culturally diverse country of individuals, lifestyles and religions with experiences driven by family, friends and reverence to God. However, in all of its versatility, India is socially challenged, with growing issues deeply rooted in the rural areas where individuals are still fighting poverty, illiteracy and superstition.
Rural India accounts for close to 70% of the population and are still dependent on agriculture for a living. Struggling to keep the family going with their meager earnings, rural Indians refrain from added expenditure on children, especially females, and concentrate on marriage in an aim to let go of an apparent ‘burden’.
The India of 2016 is still burdened by the threat of the growing inequalities of poverty and education, and has adversely affected the development of Indian villages. Organizations such as Lions Clubs International actively promote the need to educate, develop and establish an independence of thought and action. It is this initiative by Lions Clubs that helps in building a nation driven by intelligence and hard work.
During the year of 2015-16, the Lions Club of Tarapur received an application requesting assistance for equipment for a science laboratory at the Seva Ashram School, a government aided institute of 4000 students from poor backgrounds, which provides education to children at no cost. The school was to commence with science stream for 11th and 12th standards and were in need of space and equipment for physics, chemistry and biology laboratories for practical classes.
With the responsibility of the education of the children and payments of the teachers on the government, there is generally very little funds available for infrastructure and other amenities. Neelima Pathak, President of the Lions Club of Tarapur, along with her husband, Vijay Phatak had a long standing desire to contribute towards the field of education and with this bend of mind they could not refuse the humble request from the school, they could not refuse.
True to the Lions mission, members of Lions Clubs of Tarapur actively joined together to support the dream of their President with contributions, along with other corporate partners, teachers, alumni and the Principal, to develop a three phase development plan for the school. The estimated cost of the project was between 75-80 lakhs and the Lions Clubs of Tarapur was able to collect 25 lakhs from its members.
What started as a Laboratory provision project; ended up being a total redevelopment and renovation project for major part of the premises. Divided into three phases, the first phase was concerned with the construction of science labs, the second phase would revolve around the upgrading of classrooms and the third phase would involve the development of toilet blocks for girls in the school.
Construction began almost immediately after finalization of the plan and on 28th June, 2016 the first phase was successfully completed with inauguration of the science lab by the Chief Guest, District Governor K. L Parmar along with special guests First Vice District Governor Sunil Patodia and Second Vice District Governor Deepak Chaudhari. After the inauguration 125 bags were distributed among the children embedded with the Lions logo.
It is indeed a great achievement by Lions Club of Tarapur to single handedly complete phase 1 of the project and present an opportunity of education to the students of this school thereby upholding the principles of Lionism.
Selfless efforts and actions contribute towards a society where individuals are confident of realizing their dreams. India is in dire need of organizations and individuals who are willing to serve others and celebrate in their success. Lions Clubs International (India) encourages such initiatives and invites everyone to join in support towards the making of a progressive India.