President’s Comment – 15 Apr 18

Hi All,

Thanks to all who attend our meeting last Wednesday.

A special welcome to prospective member Tebao Awerika, from the Pacific nation of Kiribati.

In many ways it was  special meeting that really gave our Club a purpose  and a new found enthusiasm to expand our Club’s membership. 

Thanks to Guest Speaker Ruth Barber, a member of our Club who spoke about the work she does in her community in Wagga Wagga, NSW. 

Ruth’s history and involvement in Rotary and Community service is listed below:

  • Attended RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in 1970
  • Chartered a Griffith Rotaract (Rotary Club for young adults) in 1971. Started with 30 member grew to 70 members
  • Ruth’s husband Bruce joined Rotary in 1980. Bruce was D9700 District Governor 2004-5. His father D9700 District Governor 1973-74.
  • Chartered a breakfast club – Griffith Avanti
  • Chairman of D9700 District Conference in 2009 – Griffith
  • Moved to Wagga Wagga, joined Wagga Wagga Rotary Club
  • Worked with Dr Alok Sharma on RAWCS project “Darkness to Light”. (Travelling to India to assist Dr Sharma with eye surgery)
  • Established Darkness to Light – Riverina.
  • Working with Vision impaired in Wagga Wagga
  • Oz Harvest in Wagga Wagga, Ruth and Bruce both involved. (collect food from Woolworths, Coles etc and distributes to the needy in Wagga Wagga)
  • Assists at Ronald McDonald House. (stays overnight assisting patients and families at Wagga Base Hospital)
  • Assists at Language Café at Wagga Regional Library (working with refugees with language and other needs)
  • Assist at Kurrajong Waratah (organisation in Wagga Wagga assisting those with special needs) Participates in Quality Assurance Interviews to assess needs are being delivered to the clients.
  • Assists with “Girls at the Centre”. This program, “Girls at the Centre” was establish by The Smith Family to assist the Indigenous students to develop good behaviour and good attendance at school. The Centre is based at Mt Austin High School, Wagga Wagga. Mt Austin has a high indigenous population. Ruth assists with breakfast on Wednesday to ensure one good breakfast a week. It is a privilege to attend. After school activities are held to keep the girls engaged and helps them stay at school. Smith Family provide “Life Coaches” who Ruth comments are excellent role models. After 12 months of good behaviour and good attendance the girls are rewarded with excursions and special functions. One of the attendees of this program is now School Captain and has excelled in sport and has great ambitions for further progress.

Thank you Ruth for a great presentation. We could all follow her example and make our own communities a better place for all.

 

Meet 6 champions of peace

Honorees will be recognized at Rotary Day at the United Nations in November

By Rotary International

The honorees, which were announced on International Peace Day, are all involved in projects that address underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, or unequal distribution of resources. 

The six Champions of Peace are:

  • Jean Best, a member of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Scotland —Best leads a peace project that is designed to teach teenagers conflict resolution skills they can use to create peace-related service projects in their schools and communities. Best worked with peace fellows at the University of Bradford to create the curriculum. She has also worked with local Rotary members and peace fellows to set up peace hubs in Australia, England, Mexico, Scotland, and the U.S. 

    Best became a Paul Harris Fellow for contribution to developing peace strategies.

     


    Ann Frisch, a member of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA — Frisch believes unarmed civilians can protect people in violent conflicts. She collaborated with Rotary members in Thailand to establish the Southern Thailand Peace Process training program in 2015 in Bankok, Hat Yai, and Pattani in southern Thailand. The group brought together electrical and irrigation authorities, Red Cross staff, a Buddhist monk, and a Catholic nun to this border region to train civilians to build so-called safe zones. These are areas in which families, teachers, and local officials do not have to confront military forces every day. 

    Frisch, a UN delegate to Geneva, co-wrote the first manual on unarmed civilian protection, which was endorsed by the UN. Her training in a civilian-based peace process is administered by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the department that trains all UN personnel. 

     

    Safina Rahman, a member of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh — Rahman is an important advocate for women’s rights in the workplace in Bangladesh. As a garment factory owner, she was the first to offer health insurance and maternity leave for her female employees. She worked with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace to organize the first international peace conference in Bangladesh. A policymaker for the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, she champions workplace safety and workers’ rights and promotes girls’ education and women’s rights. 

    Rahman is chair of two schools that provide basic education, vocational training, conflict prevention, and health and hygiene classes. 

     

  • Alejandro Reyes Lozano, a member of the Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Colombia — Reyes Lozano, an attorney, was appointed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to assist with negotiations and set terms and conditions to end the 50-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

    Reyes Lozano’s Rotary Club, Bogotá Capital, worked with Mediators Beyond Borders International to train 27 women from six Latin American countries to develop skills in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and mediation to deal with conflicts in their communities. The project also developed an international network of women peace builders.

     

  • Kiran Singh Sirah, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Sirah is president of the International Storytelling Center in Tennessee, USA, which uses storytelling as a path to building peace. The organization seeks to inspire and empower people everywhere to tell their stories, listen to the stories of others, and use storytelling to create positive change. 

    Kiran, the son of Ugandan refugees, created “Telling Stories That Matter,” a free guide for educators, peace builders, students, volunteers, and business leaders. The resource is now used in 18 countries.

     

  • Taylor (Stevenson) Cass Talbott, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the International Christian University in Japan — Stevenson developed a global grant to improve sanitary conditions for waste collectors in Pune, India. Waste collectors together handle 20 tons of unwrapped sanitary waste every day. Stevenson collaborated with SWaCH, a waste-collector cooperative, to create the “Red Dot” campaign, which calls for people to wrap their sanitary waste in newspaper or bags and mark it with a red dot.

    This helps waste collectors identify sanitary waste and handle it accordingly. Stevenson developed all the educational imaging for the campaign. She also secured in-kind offerings of support, including free training space and campaign printing. She is also a Global Peace Index ambassador. 

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