They execute 25 social projects in a year. Education for downtrodden children is their primary mission, writes K. Sarumathi

They don’t pass up any opportunity to have a get-together. They enjoy each other’s company, but are hardly a self-centred group. Their meet-ups are directed at brainstorming for ideas to further their mission, which includes looking out for the children of the poor.

Known as Madras Mylapore Ladies Circle, they have been showing the world it takes only a little effort to make life better for the downtrodden. And these women seem to have struck the perfect balance between family, friends and social work.

Started in 1970, the Circle is an offshoot of the Madras Mylapore Round Table and its members are the wives of the ‘tablers.’ Along with the men’s group, and sometimes by themselves, the Circle has executed projects across the city for underprivileged students.

“This is one of the oldest Circles in the country and still the most active one after over 50 years of its existence. Every year, the new chairperson has a huge legacy to take forward. We execute around 25 projects in a year, small and big. But, the basic motto is making education available for the poor. We are also associated with the Lions Club International,” says Runjhun Dhody, the Circle’s current chairperson.

The 21-member team has people coming from diverse backgrounds and working together towards a common goal. “It is a voluntary organisation. We don’t get paid for our work. Our payback is knowing that we make a significant contribution to the uplift of the less fortunate,” she adds.

Their most significant contribution is in terms of creating classrooms in schools supporting poor children. They donated two classrooms to Gurukulam School on ECR and one to Little Angles School. They also financially support the education of deserving students and help destitute women. Money is raised through fund-raising events.

“This year we had mentalist Lior Suchard enthralling the audience with his power to read minds. All the proceeds from charity events are used for funding projects throughout the year,” says Runjhun.

The closed group only takes wives of Tablers as members and sets an early retirement age of 40. “Since socialisation is an equally important aspect of the group, the age limit has been set as 40. Above that, it will become difficult for people to mingle,” says this 38-year-old who joined the team when she came to Chennai after marriage not knowing the language not the culture of the land. “It helped me make friends, learn the language and help others at the same time,” she adds.

When not involved in social activities, the members organise coffee mornings, valentine balls, carnivals, raffle draw, kids’ theatre and stand-up comedy shows. Following their retirement, some of the members have gone forward and started their own groups. “As a matter of fact, the Duchess Club is headed by all past circlers from our Circle. They started the club after they retired from circling. It gives us all an opportunity to discover different capabilities in ourselves,” says Runjhun, who retires in two years.