India couple pledges US$2 million to Foundation
Rajendra R. and Shubha Laxmi Chhapwale during their induction ceremony into the Arch C. Klumph Society 23 April. Rotary Images/Monika Lozinska-Lee
A desire to improve literacy in their homeland of India has motivated recent Arch C. Klumph Society inductees Rajendra R. and Shubha Laxmi Chhapwale to commit an additional US$2 million to The Rotary Foundation over the next three years.
Rajendra made the announcement during the couple's induction into the society 23 April at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, where their portrait now hangs in the Arch C. Klumph Gallery. The Chhapwales' daughter, Amarja, and son-in-law, Christopher Webb, of Los Angeles, also attended the ceremony.
"It is our concern for the deprived and unprivileged children in our country that made us come here," Rajendra said to the assembled Rotary leaders, dignitaries, and guests. "Rotary is doing such meaningful work through its programs, like polio eradication, Matching Grants, and Health, Hunger and Humanity Grants, throughout the world. I realized that The Rotary Foundation is just the right organization, where proper justice is done to the donations."
The couple has already contributed $250,000 to the Foundation and established an endowed fund. The new pledge will go toward increasing this endowment fund.
"One of the thrust areas of Rotary International is literacy. We thought that by establishing this endowment fund in The Rotary Foundation, we can help this cause more effectively, and the results would be faster," Rajendra said. "With the wider net of Rotary clubs all over India and also through the Matching Grants program, this task is possible and achievable."
Rajendra is the founder of Monarch Realty Developers Pvt. Ltd., a property development company that has constructed more than a million and a half square feet of commercial and residential space in and around Mumbai. He joined the Rotary Club of Mumbai North Island, Maharashtra, in 1989. Shubha is also strongly committed to Rotary: She is a member and past president of the Inner Wheel Club of Mumbai North Island and will serve as district chair in 2011-12.
In 2007-08, Rajendra served as president of his Rotary club, which increased his appreciation for the Foundation's work. "I became more aware of the tremendous activities done by The Rotary Foundation," he explained.
Rajendra said he and his wife have been working to improve literacy in their country for some time. He has worked closely with Child Rights and You, a grassroots nongovernmental organization that addresses the needs of children throughout India. He also helps construct, renovate, and maintain primary and secondary school buildings in rural areas of the country.
"The root cause of all evil is poverty, and poverty can be eradicated only with the spread of education," Rajenda said. "A substantial part of India's population is uneducated rural children. The future of these children is the future of our country.
"We believe it is our responsibility to educate these children and provide opportunities in their life. It is only because of opportunities we have been blessed with that we are all here today. This form of opportunity should be made available to every child on this earth. Whatever I can, I must do. And I shall do."