Even though this post is about the projects of Pune Ladies Circle 53, it has been inspired by its chairperson Cr.Nirali Verma. I had been in constant touch with Nirali regarding my visit to Pune and she had always been helpful. She even agreed to take me to the school project, once I reached Pune.
Unfortunately, the day before I was arriving, Nirali’s office caught fire and most of it was gutted. I felt extremely sorry for the event. Nirali still had the time to organize another person to take my meeting forward.
I was surprised to get a call from her in the morning saying that she would be taking me to the project. Though she was busy with getting her office sorted, shifting her team to newer offices, moving equipment and also had planned a board meeting, she managed to squeeze in some time for the Ladies Circle in between.
We went straight to Shri Sarawati Vidya Mandir in Karve Nagar, Pune. This school has been the joint project of Pune Round Table 65 and Ladies Circle 53. The school, which was earlier under a tin shed, was moved to its present location a few years ago. The monies raised through twining projects with NBS, musical evenings and plays was spent on building the phase 1 of the school i.e. on 3 classrooms and toilets on the first floor and the offices and an assembly hall on the ground. The cost of this project was estimated at Rs 20,oo,ooo. The school, since then had added two more floors to accommodate around 1200 children!
The Ladies Circle has also donated furniture, a computer lab and conducted various dental check ups and eye camps in the school When needed, they have sponsored spectacles to the children who could not afford them. Ladies Circle Pune now, with their Round Table, is looking to add a new block to the school, a project that will cost Rs 10,00,000.
As Nirali had to head out for her meeting, I was handed over to Sq.Leg Sanjeev and Cr.Vishaka, who volunteered to take me to their next project at the Blind school in Koregaon Park. Established in 1949, the school requires special musical instruments for their classes. Ladies Circle keeps on checking with them and fulfilling these requests, and have donated a synthesizer and a special harmonium, which was custom-made for the visually impaired.
Sq.Leg Sanjeev remembers how the orchestra from the Blind School used to sing in a neighbouring park, where people used to come and listen to them. Times have changed and this practice has stopped but he does hope that it would start sometime. After a quick cup of tea at their house and listening to their son play Hotel California, I was on my way home feeling humbled by Nirali’s, Sanjeev’s and Vishaka’s generosity.