If you ever go to Surat, don’t ask your friends about their profession. It’ll probably be Diamonds or Textiles. I tried that on a few people and I was always correct!
I was greeted at the railway station by Tr.Dhanesh Rathod, Chairman of Surat Round Table 135. He waited patiently at the station while my train was delayed. Without wasting much time, we picked up Cr.Hemal Parikh (Chairperson SLC 72), Cr.Sangita Rathod (Secretary SLC72) and Tr.Dharmendra (Area projects convener). Soon, we were on our way to the joint project between the Round Table and Ladies Circle in Bonand village, around 25km from Surat.
Bonand Prathamik Shala comes under the management of Government of India and is the only school in the village. The children, who come here, belong to agricultural families. The school was damaged in an earthquake a few years ago and became unsafe for the children to study there. The joint project was identified almost two years ago but the paperwork and permissions from the Government took a little longer than expected. It worked in the favor of my fellow tablers/circlers, who not only saved up but also raised monies through a Blind car rally, art mela’s and various donation. In total, the team of Surat Round Table and Ladies Circle have consented to spend RS 25,00,000 on this project at Bonand.
The old school, which has been temporary shifted to a building opposite to the one being constructed, has four rooms. Each room had two classes in them i.e. two blackboard on opposite walls! The new school would have six classrooms, which are being built according to Government specifications, and will house close to 300 students! The project was started in February 2010 and is expected to be complete in March 2011.
After a coconut water break, we then went to a project, which is completely undertaken by the Ladies Circle. Run by a private trust of the Desai family, the Sogayo Kursenji Dayalji Bahtarkar School has around nine hundred students. While the Trust takes care of the infrastructure like building classrooms and salaries for teachers, the circle has contributed in smaller projects like giving books for the library (under the Vanchey Gujarat Scheme), biological specimens, laboratory charts and a projector. They have also conduced HRD programmes on personal hygiene specially for the girls. The next requirement in this school are benches and filter water facilities, which the circle would like to undertake.
It was a tiring day. Getting off the station and heading straight to the projects and shooting them. I was glad to land up at Tr.Dharmendra’s house for some tea and lots of Gujarati snacks, which we munched on for almost half an hour. Afterwords, everybody regrouped at Chairman Dhanesh’s house for dinner, which was an elaborate affair. I just couldn’t belive that I had to start with the desert first! Talk about Gujarati people being sweet!