Making time for a Noble Cause
We live in a rushed world, where we want to position ourselves at the top, afraid to lose our jobs, becoming competitor-oriented, lessons teaching us how to survive in a competitive world. In the process, we forget the compassionate heart.
However, here is a group of people from the business community who relentlessly give back to society in large measures.
Louis Marchesi from Norwich started the RTI – ‘ROUND TABLE INDIA’ in 1945. He felt the need of creating a club of businessmen who collectively could contribute to the civic betterment of Norwich. It has grown rapidly since then worldwide.
In India, we have 309 tables and 4500 Tablers. A table may have 7 to 8 or 20 members to a table. The number of members to a table can vary. Every table has a chairman. RTI is divided into 11 areas in India and has an area board to administer them. Around the world, there are 900 tables and 10,000 members.
What is their ultimate vision? I asked Mr. Lalit Pitie, the chairman of a table, and pat came the response, so embedded is their vision.
Freedom through education
They have in the last 10 years built on an average one classroom a day, that is 5300 classrooms in 2500 schools. Now, this is an achievement. They want to educate every child in India – focus is definitely the rural areas. They also refurbish old schools and make them look new!
Besides this, there are many other social activities they have been actively involved in. During the Gujarat earthquake, the Tablers traveled to the affected and damaged areas, helped rehabilitate the affected, distributed food packets and money. Similarly, they contributed towards the Kashmir earthquake. Rs. 20 lakhs were given to the people who lost their loved ones and homes during the Assam floods.
Funding the causes
I was now curious to know… how do they raise the funds for all of this!
‘Groups contribute’, said Mr. Pittie. “The chairman makes it his responsibility to get funds from the tables.”
The tables raise funds together, give it to the area chairman, and he forwards it to the National President. The funds are then released. All transactions are official, clear and transparent. It is very systematic.
The RTI has CSR partnerships with companies such as Bajaj, Cognizant, and many more. They also help towards these social causes.
RTI had an RTI week from November 11 to 18.
The events were varied. To name a few… Girl Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Day, Go Green Day, Blood Donation Day, Swatch Bharat Abhiyan Day, Limb Donation Day.
Helping the police
I asked if there was anything lined up in the near future. Mr. Pittie said that they are planning to host a Knights in Khakhi night on January 26 next year, for the policemen of India. He added, “We intend to award the police for their work which very often goes unnoticed and unrecognized.” They are waiting for a green signal from the Police Commissioner.
It is a fundraiser, where most of the money will be used to refurbish the police departments, be it installing air-conditioners, computers, painting the walls, constructing toilets, or creating a recreation room; which was a requirement at the jail and has been ignored by the authorities for years. Part of the money will go towards education and schools.
A kind soul
Recently Jackie Shroff helped inaugurate a school and also a mela at the jail showroom where certain products were sold. A kind and compassionate heart that few know of, that fills the car’s trunk with water bottles, food, biscuits, and chocolates for the poor and distributes it as it journeys along to various places.
Who better than this compassionate heart… Jackie Shroff to be the ambassador.
“A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.” – Buddha.
Jackie Shroff and Lalit Pittie
The members of the RTI certainly demonstrate this through their actions that begin with a thought.