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Our Club Information
The Rotary Club of Preston
Preston

SERVE TO CHANGE LIVES

We meet In Person & Online
Wednesdays at 12:30 PM
Darebin RSL Club
402 Bell Street
Preston, VIC 3072
Australia
We also meet on ZOOM at the same time. Please contact the Club for the ZOOM meeting link. For further info, & get in touch via email: g.mcilvenna@bigpond.com
Club Directors
President
Immediate Past President
Vice President
President Elect
Secretary
Treasurer
Conservation and Environment
Director
Director
Director
Director
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Home Page News
A chance for our club to discuss our Strategic Plan and to share ideas. 
Our President Chris Shields will be Chairing this meeting.
All Preston Rotarians are warmly encouraged to attend.
Please notify Secretary Geoff if you are unable to attend.
 

Our famed Fund- raising BBQ's have sadly been delayed due to Covid.
We look forward to serving Premium Snags in later months! 
In  the Virtual Zone 8 Rotary Conference shown recently,   Rotary International President, Shekhar Mehtar described   the moment he felt "defined" as a Rotarian. "Empathy", encapsulated by this year's theme, "Service Above Self" was what he got in touch with, leading him to galvanise a number of club projects such as funding Cardiac Surgeries for those who could not afford it; building literally thousands of toilets to impoverished communities; supporting literacy projects.... the list goes on.
Shekhar Mehtar highlighted the importance of  Engagement & Involvement, embracing core values of Diversity and equity, empowering girls and women as key goals for  current Rotarians.
He concluded his talk with, " we have the power to touch a life, hand, heart and soul." 
ROTARY INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT SHEKHAR MEHTAR.  Member of the Calcutta-Mahanagar Rotary Club West Bengal INDIA.
An amazing statistic. Over 3 billion people in Developing countries use open fires for cooking, contributing to millions of tons of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, deforestation, and, millions of deaths per year from smoke inhalation, not to mention  horrific burns injuries. Poverty is the major driver here. StoveTeam International has installed over 78000  fuel- efficient stoves, thus reducing emissions, and improving safety in the homes of many at a cost of $100/stove.
 
StoveTeam International is a not-for-profit organisation founded by a U.S. Rotarian, Nancy Sanford Hughes. They estimate 20 million need to be installed!
The recent presentation to our club certainly piqued our interest. Stay tuned!
For further info go to:
                                                                  
                           So,- What is CALM Youth? As this weeks Guest Speaker, the wonderful Alexander Michalidis, explained, CALM is an acronym for 
COMPOSED   AMBITIOUS.   LEADERS.    MENTALITY 
Alexander, and partner "in crime", Michael J. Fortune founded CALM Ltd as Year 11 students. Now studying for a BA in Business, & majoring in Finance, Alexander's mantra is
" Opportunities present themselves when you present yourself to opportunities." 
Alexander and Michael visit Secondary Schools in the Northern Suburbs giving motivational talks to hundreds of students, encouraging students to look for good mentors, find creative outlets to expend energy, play sport, and find healthy ways to deal with  stress. Michael & Alexander do this by sharing some of their own life story and experiences, and clearly, their excellent communication skills and empathy, are being well received, as they are getting some wonderful feedback from students. 
They also offer online motivational content, Peer mentorship, AND, creative friends are designing individually designed clothing & apparel which are being rapidly sold via Instagram, such is their appeal. This has helped to bring some much needed income as CALM Ltd is totally self- funded. 
Alexander & Michael hope to expand their school -reach as their message is an empowering one. They also hope to get more people on board with their team. 
Their website will be launched soon so details will be posted here. Follow them on Instagram. CalmYouth.
Rotary Preston Youth Services Committee were delighted to present Alexander with a cheque for $500, and we as a club hope to follow their progress. 
        
This week our Rotary club viewed the webinar hosted by Fiona Biedermann,( Rotary Seaford, SA) on "Steps to Success"- summarised in  the 3 "C's"of successful leadership: Communication
                                    Collaboration
                                    Commitment 
Fiona explored the Environment of Rotary clubs, eg, what typifies the culture of your club, how do we treat each other, speak to each other?
                                                                                what's on show to our members, and our visitors?
                                                                                do you give newcomers your full attention?
Structure of your club: what are your systems and processes within the club?
                                      How are decisions made? How do you communicate? What is the club's criteria for choosing projects, dealing with challenges, exploring new ideas?
                                      Explore where having more structures in place might simplify the things you do in terms of public image, projects, communication, fundraising, coordinating events
                                      Implementation: Members are more engaged when they know what's expected of them- how do you spread the workload, & involve everyone?
Tips for success: Asses areas of your club where the challenges exist: What needs to be changed? 
                                                                                                                 What needs to be expanded?
                                                                                                                  What contributes to your success?
The overall message was "be innovative - try something new"
& a quote from George Bernard Shaw  " Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything." 
 
This is a very brief summary of Fiona's talk, but Rotary members may wish to go to "Rotary on the Move" August edition as sent out by Sec Geoff Aug 15. 
 
 
 
... let alone take the reins as the local club President for 2 years running. As an Aboriginal woman, the perception was that Rotary was a out as 'far as a good fit' as she could get, but in  recent years, the club has pioneered the breaking down of those barriers through what she says has been a" wonderful shift" in that reality."   
- This is a good news story!
Click on the link below for a little insight into Pat.
 
    This week we had the pleasure of hearing from Paul Conte,  Strategist,with the firm Health & Finance Integrated. Paul, who also happens to be a member of Rotary Preston, is known to our club members for his excellent work ethic, and desire to make a difference in the community. 
Health & Finance Integrated is a "people- centred" social enterprise specialising in providing financial advice to people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. It is the only firm in Australia to provide this service. Founded in 2013, "with the aim of assisting people to find solutions best suited to unique situations and to alleviate the anxiety of dealing with financial, social welfare and social service systems." 
        There are two arms to the service. Care Plan: a financial planning and advisory service. Tailored to people with specific requirements, for example there may be a need for setting up a Disability Trust, advising on how to grow wealth and retirement savings on a reduced income after illness or injury, & exploring ways to maximise Centrelink and tax benefits for instance. 
ProAssist is the other facet of Health & Finance Integrated, whereby they represent and advocate for you, the client, - deal with Govt departments, and negotiate application outcomes with the organisations such as Centrelink, Dept of Housing, Public Trustees. Anyone who has had to negotiate their way through these mine- fields will be aware of the complexities involved. 
As Paul noted, " our objective is to make life less confusing, promote autonomy, and provide the right to a dignified life."
A great service, and as Rotarians will appreciate its classification as a Social Enterprise is icing on the cake as a significant profit is returned to the community. 
 Thanks Paul for an insightful presentation! 
 Yes! Another great program in place by participating Rotary clubs. Why recycle play equipment you ask? Well, as Bob Allardice from Rotary Nunawading explained, many developing countries are in dire need of great playground equipment for children. Many are removed here in Australia and regularly replaced. Sadly, the "old" playground equipment ends up in Landfill.
      Since the RORP ( Rotary Overseas Recycle Playgrounds) project was launched, 105 Playgrounds have been "harvested" and send to countries such as Sri Lanka, East Timor, PNG, Fiji,.. the list goes on. 
As Bob says, "this is a living, breathing, existing, and developed project.
Rotary Preston have been invited to participate by identifying playground equipment within the Darebin area that may be about to be removed, and assist with the RORP's team in targeting these for other countries. There are other duties involved, however Chair of International Committee Peter Peyton, is to liase with Bob to sound out future possibilities for our involvement. Watch this space!
Thanks Bob for your informative presentation!
In our current Pandemic crisis, good- news stories are essential for all of our mental-health !
Jo Bartlett & Nicki Nellis, from Epping Pavillion School painted a strong and inspiring picture of their work at this very special school.....
Students attending this school have not often found a place where they can be nurtured in a very specific way.  Jo related that 17% of students have some form of disability, 10% are Indigenous students, and many students have complex issues which they are living with.Students from a wide area attend the Pavillion School, Wallan & Flowerdale for example.  Key principles in supporting students involve-
 .ensuring a stable routine
.providing a well-being program
. supporting emotions,
.assisting in managing conflict,
.making friendships,
.building psychological skills and strength, 
.for Indigenous students- mentorship by Elders
Industry and Higher education visits are undertaken for more senior students, and 80% graduating students go on to productive pathways in employment, or further education. 
Another unique feature of this school community is that graduates can access staff for support after they have left school.
 
Read more in our recent Weekly Bulletin ( Aug 11) as our excellent John McCarthy captures further detail of this great school.
 
Congratulations, students and staff at Epping Pavillion School for your courage and persistence!
 
 
 
 
 
Terrific  to hear from Susie Cole today. Susie hails from the Rotary club of Prahran, and today was our Guest Speaker, giving an update on yet another compassionate enterprise of Rotary. The Rotary Inner Melbourne Emergency Relief Network ( RIMERN) currently is made up of contributions both hands on, and financial, from a number of inner Melbourne Rotary clubs, overseen by the Rotary club of Prahran.
"RIMERN will be to Community Service what Donations in Kind is to International Service... a powerful ongoing project that delivers real help in our own neighbourhoods, that clubs can get involved in as a real hands- on opportunity for service, and something to attract new members."
A myriad of volunteer roles are offered in the collection, and distribution of household goods, appliances, and furniture to people in desperate need, along with building relationships with support agencies, assisting with volunteer training, logistics and fundraising.
Agencies such as the Salvation Army, Uniting Housing, Melbourne City Mission, are just a few of the agencies that have been on board with the equivalent well- established Rotary coordinated Relief Networks in both the Eastern & Western suburbs.
All Rotarians have a heart to assist those in need. Susie also notes, it's a great way to build relationships with local Council and service agencies.
Close to our own turf, Darebin Hard Waste Heroes-http://www.darebinhardrubbishheroes.org are very enthusiastic in assisting with this great outreach. 
RIMERN is currently building their website, but Susie can be contacted via Email: secretary@rotarydistrict9800.org.au
 
 
 
  This is an exerpt from a speech which newly inducted President, Chris Shields gave at his induction in June.  
 ( at left: Chris & his wife Esther.)
 
"We are a great club as we have a big, open heart, willing to take on new challenges. We have a 'can do' positive attitude, and are prepared to listen and adopt new initiatives either within or from outside the club. As a result we have seeded many organisations that are growing in their community work, such as Life Education; Children First Foundation; The Next Step; Pinchapoo, to name but a few!
      We continue supporting community organisations doing great work, such as Wellways Australia, ( formerly Mental Health Fellowship),Burnett Institute; Croxton School; Interplast; RSL; Polio Plus; and not forgetting our student scholarships and Rotary programs, the Rotary Foundation.
      Our recent support for Bushfire Relief, drought affected communities, and our meal and food program with Reservoir Neighbourhood House for those in need during the Covid Pandemic Lockdown warranted mention last December by our Federal Member of Parliament, Ged Kearney. I quote from Hansard "One of my favourite quotes to remember in a crisis is to "look for helpers," During 2020, one of the worst years in decades, I've been so proud to see helpers everywhere in Cooper,... The Jika Jika Community Centre, Preston Rotary, Diverse, the Salvos.... and so many more. You are the backbone of our community, but this year you have gone above and beyond... you wrapped the arms of community around everyone." ( end quote)
" I want all club members to be aware that when you join Rotary you don't join a small club, you join a club with 1.2 million members, with an international reach. A very BIG club. Our club provides direct support to a school in Odessa, India, which provides education for impoverished families."
All at Rotary Preston wish Chris all the best in his year as President!!
 
At our lunchtime meeting this week we heard from Preston Rotarian,  Kannan Subramanian. Kannan  reflected on his experience as a Real Estate Agent. working in Real- Estate for the past 11 years. Based in Reservoir, Kannan has seen significant growth in the housing market in spite of the Pandemic. Whilst social housing is in much demand, and Darebin reflects a broad socio- economic spectrum, all suburbs within Darebin have seen a growth in sales, and areas such as Fairfield has seen buyers exceeding supply in the last 6 months. 
Reservoir, with its four train stations, is attracting great interest, with its highest sale rate since 2015.
Darebin is blessed with some terrific schools, and our club continues to enjoy strong connections with schools in our area.
Did you know one out of three spoonfuls of our daily food depend on bees for pollination? "Bees are essential for our food security," Rotarians,
                       John McCaskill & Faye Kirkwood ( Rotary clubs of Canterbury, and Caulfield) informed us recently at our lunchtime meeting.
                                                   'Rotarians for Bees' are committed to inform, educate, and raise awareness of the need to protect and support bees.
World- wide Bee numbers are falling alarmingly because of Climate Change,  Pesticides & Industrial Agriculture, loss of habitat & flowering plants & the Varroa Mite which is thankfully not yet in Australia, but prevalent throughout Europe. 
 
ACTION ENCOURAGED: ( a few examples)
 
Join ESRAG; (Environmental Sustainability Action Group)http://www.esrag.org/rotarians-bees
Plant bee- friendly plants, eg providing plenty of pollen & nectar in gardens and pots. Have a water source in your garden.
Dont use pesticides outdoors
-Support research into disease & Varroa resistant bees, eg the Wheen Foundation,http://www.wheenbeefoundation.org.au
BUY LOCAL HONEY!yesyes
 
ROTARIANS FOR BEES - has a Facebook site. To join: http://www.facebook.vom/groups/395777217740428/
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mary delighted us recently with her enthusiastic presentation of her 12 months in Taiwan as a Rotary Exchange Student, sponsored by our club. 
 
This warm and generous young woman was a breath of fresh air as she recounted her experiences;- learning to speak Mandarin, living with five different host families, adapting to a culturally very different society, not to mention totally changing her dietary habits! Mary surmounted huge challenges, and remained very positive throughout. 
 
Mary has returned to Australia and is completing her schooling in Tasmania. We congratulate Mary on an outstanding effort, and wish her well for what will be, no doubt, a wonderful future. 

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.

With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.

Our mission

The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

What impact can one donation have?

  • For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.
  • $US 50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.
  • $US 500 can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children

 
 
 
 
 

Coming together to help our indigenous community 

We achieve so much more together! 200 family packs of hygiene products, 200 female hygiene packs and 200 male hygiene packs were collected for 3KND this week to enable them to support indigenous folk in the area who are struggling during this challenging time. Bundles of blankets were added to the collection as well. 

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians often reflect on it at club meetings:
 

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Anne and Bruce McGregor have been sharing with us their journey towards the transformation of the Merri Creek through community action. With the establishment of the Friends of Merri Creek, a mechanism was activated to achieve that goal.

Flood control areas were established, and parkland created to replace rubbish tips and dump sites. Central Creek grasslands were also established to help change the face of what had been unsightly areas, to vegetated areas with walking paths for use by the community.
The Friends of the Merri Creek in the late 1980s defined Current and Future Challenges:
1. Define urban growth areas across the catchment to protect endangered species.
2. Water quality to be improved due to soil problems in the upper catchment. 3. Resources to be made available to allow improvement works to continue
4. Improvement of habitat by widening the corridor.
5. Upgrading infrastructure.
6. Create environmentally appropriate flood control.
7. Establish a management for Conservation Areas.
8. Keep abreast of Climate Change.
What is the goal now?
A mixture of Housing and nature. When the community reported that the quality of water was being affected by rubbish being dumped into the water. The community acted with tree planting along the creek banks and by getting school children involved in visiting the creek on education trips. Two primary achievements:
 transformation of the much degraded lower Merri Creek.
 protection of natural areas
Work continues.
 Past President Paul has been heavily involved in assisting small businesses survive COVID-19 via the Darebin Business Network. 
He shares this news:
City of Darebin – Business Recovery Grants.
The Business recovery program is part of the $11.5 million package to provide immediate relief to local businesses who are experiencing disadvantage or who are in a state of vulnerability.
This Business program has two rounds of funding, the first round of grants opened on Friday 15 May 2020 and closed on Sunday 31st May 2020.
 
It was a lengthy process throughout the month of June to analyse and also make recommendations on all the 200 plus Grant applications that were submitted.
A second round of a similar amount will be announced in a few months.
Businesses had no option but to search for alternative methods of growing their business base.
Unfortunately this second round of COVID – 19 will test businesses once again.
Some statistics listed below.
 
COVID-19: Implications on Businesses in Darebin
 
Many Companies experienced significant downturn in business in the three months to June 2020.
Direct contact with the businesses confirmed sudden fall in sales that forced reductions in working hours.
 
50%, experienced a 70% reduction in sales that caused severe cash flow difficulties (Those that service Cafe and Restaurant have been impacted the most)
 
30%, moderate position and worked at 50% levels
 
20%,  maintained stable level of sales and employment
 
New Approach by Businesses in Darebin:
 
70% said they had changed how they delivered goods, on-line; ready meals, pick up, frozen packs 
 
30% said they have scaled up new product development, process innovation with their idle hours
 

  Preston Rotary actively supports the community outreach of Bridge Darebin (BD) and Reservoir Neighbourhood House (RNH), situated in Melbourne’s Northern suburbs.

Since March, Bridge Darebin and Reservoir Neighbourhood House have not been able to safely deliver their usual weekly food and social support services under the COVID-19 restrictions. Bridge Darebin normally runs a free weekly Friday lunch and Sunday dinner, with up to 80 attendees for each meal who also receive a second meal and some grocery items to take home.  Reservoir Neighbourhood House provide a daily community pantry with free grocery items and breads, monthly community lunches, weekly soup days and grocery support to local public housing estates via Foodbank.

Although both Houses were providing food relief, the introduction of COVID-19 meant community need for food support became next-level virtually overnight. At RNH, Angie Davidson, Executive Officer, opened her grocery giveaway the week of March 16th to a line of people stretching up the street. Numbers she had never experienced before, and social distancing was definitely not the first thing on their minds. Angie had over 150 people in need, without the building space and staff numbers to manage this demand.

Rotary Club of Preston were instrumental in supporting the very first community food relief initiative with Reservoir Neighbourhood House in the first week of lockdown. Together, they were able to support the sourcing and delivery of 200 meals within four days. The following week the program was extended to increase the outreach to vulnerable community members living in public housing estates in East Reservoir.

It was becoming extremely difficult to source bulk foods and keep social distancing measures in place whilst the need for more support for community kept growing. The neighbouring organisation Bridge Darebin assisted through their bulk foods store to support the program. Within a matter of days, donations had transformed their front community hall into a packing hub. In a remarkably short period of time both Neighbourhood Houses formed the Darebin Neighbourhood Houses food relief response for COVID-19.

With support from Preston Rotary and the Donations In Kind truck, collections from FareShare and Foodbank grew. 

By the beginning of April both Neighbourhood houses had distributed: 

  • 4,040 FareShare two-person meals 
  • 3,300 grocery bags (1,100 deliveries) 
  • 2 pallets of fruit and veg and 2 pallets of dairy products 
  • 400 hygiene packs 
  • Supporting 13 welfare/community organisations to access between 20 – 80 meals each week for their communities. 

From mid-May, the meals were estimated at 1400 per week. So as the need for food relief grew, Preston Rotary continued to support the Darebin wide program. Hygiene packs sourced from Pinchapoo have been greatly appreciated, along with donated fresh bread.  The Darebin Neighbourhood Houses have been resourceful in seeking other much needed donations, such as Halal meals, baby goods and nappies.

Rotarian Ruth McCall notes “As a relatively new Rotarian, I am continually inspired by my club’s readiness to assist in providing much needed relief to a vulnerable community. The response to the COVID-19 Pandemic rapidly enacted by Reservoir Neighbourhood House, and Bridge Darebin partnerships demonstrate a passionate commitment to their communities.”

  

The need for food relief assistance will continue long after COVID-19 lockdowns have been lifted. A fundraising campaign has been set up by Bridge Darebin and Reservoir Neighbourhood House to support the continuation and longevity of food relief in Darebin for as long as is possible. Whilst this support continues, so will the program.   

The program has attracted media articles, video diaries and social media posts;

Thanks to Rhiannon Tracey (centre) for her presentation to the Rotary club of Preston at our Zoom meeting last week. Preston Rotary has supported The Next Step SCI since its inception.  A short version of Rhiannon's story appears below.

My name is Rhiannon Tracey and I am the Founder & Executive Director at The Next Step.

After sustaining a spinal cord injury and becoming a quadriplegic in 2009, it became evidently clear there were not enough options for an individual wanting to improve their quality of life post injury. Within the first twelve months of my SCI journey, I met so many SCI survivors who were struggling with their new reality and their families were desperately trying to find answers and amongst all this, hope and this included my own.

I set out to find the best possible recovery options available, which included travelling across the world and collectively began to combine exercise therapy with holistic practices that were improving my own mobility and mindset. During an outpatient visit with my spinal consultant who had once told me to accept my new life in a chair, with me now walking into the hospital with the aid of a frame, I looked around the hospital gym and had a deep realisation that the purpose of having my accident was to show and enable others that life could go on after a negative experience, and how important it now was to turn my own, into something truly positive.

This realisation soon became establishing The Next Step SCI Recovery & Wellness Centre.

Learn about The Next Step Recovery Centre at   
 https://www.thenextstepsci.org.au

 

Living with Post-Polio Syndrome
Bev Watson, Polio Network Victoria Chair, joined us on ZOOM to help us mark WORLD POLIO DAY. The personal perspective she shared on living with polio and post-polio syndrome was much appreciated and re-energised our members as we journey towards eradicating Polio from the world.
 
Bev was struck with polio in 1956 at the age of 6 1/2 years. Her talk took all through from that moment she was paralysed from the waist down.
 
Though muted her audience was gasping at the treatment she endured, while simultaneously envious of her spirit and lifetime achievements. With great care from her mother and after 4 years of rehabilitation she used full callipers and crutches for mobility until her mid 20’s when a manual wheelchair became her preferred method of mobility. Bev was able to attend Thornbury Primary School. On crutches in a two-story school, the teaching staff carried her up and down the stairs. Then off to Preston Technical School where she recalls how her buddies carried her bag and books up the stairs. Completing that stage of her education Bev got a job with a Preston car company where she eventually took over as secretary.
 
Married in 1971 it was off to Box Hill and finally settling on 5 acres at Woodend where she brought up her three children. In 1996 Bev graduated with a BA and became an outreach worker in mental health. She is associated with Polio Network Victoria, Post Polio Victoria, National Polio groups, Bendigo Shire Polio, to name a few, while she is happy to work from her desk at home.
In her rehab years it was strongly inserted in her mind the need to be self sufficient.  Bev has felt the need to achieve, to be competitive, at times to be impatient and work obsessed. With these drives her services in mental health and polio counselling have been very successful.
 
 
In 1985, Rotary International accepted the challenge to rid the world of Polio. This mammoth undertaking has gained traction and shown results beyond imaginings as partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others joined the campaign. Now we are so close . . .
Past President Lisa has thanked Rotary Club of Preston members for our support and service to Rotary and the community in the 2019-2020 year.
The club is a tightly-knit unit and while members are very proud to have their contributions recognised for helping connect the world, as important is our commitment to looking for opportunities to "do good in the world" going forward.  
 Thank you to Past President Lisa for submitting the application and to Assistant Governor Emma for her support.
Preston Rotary Member Joan reports from India
 
Here we are in the middle of September and no end in sight to the disruption to life in India and most of the world. India is still experiencing well over 95000 new cases daily – a figure that’s hard to get my head around as we’re in a beautiful, remote part of the country where there aren’t teeming millions.
 
Schools were officially closed on March 17th and we all thought after the summer vacation from 1st May till mid June, we would be back to normal school hours. Sadly that wasn’t the case and just last week the Chief Minister (premier) of the state announced schools and colleges would not start until 30th October.
 
7 months for so many children is a long, long time to be away from classes. We have been able to hold coaching classes at Rejoice Centre using phones and What's App, with main focus on classes 7-10 six days a week, so our kids are up to date with their studies. Our middle school kids have languages and math classes and our juniors have lots of play activities incorporating the three languages they’re learning and math.
 
As Whats app requires wifi, classes are held on my veranda – fortunately it’s quite long and has side verandas at each end so the groups are separated. Before the rains began the carport was also used, but it’s too wet in the rainy times.
 
We currently have 163 children living on campus – as the first lockdown was announced with only four hours for people to travel home; some parents were able to come for their children. Other children who are with us under government order were told they couldn’t go to their relatives; they must stay in our care. Then we had a third group who lived in the next district. They became stranded with us as all buses and trains stopped running. Fortunately one of these was Hemanta, one of our senior students doing Fine Arts at Patna University. He’d come to visit his siblings in our centre and was also stuck here… that’s been a real blessing to us as he’s worked with children and staff coaching local language, Oriya and doing some art classes. 
 
This year has been challenging in many ways for all of us. I am so grateful for your support to me personally with messages of encouragement, so appreciated as I sit out lockdown in India. I get quite homesick at times, missing family and friends but am glad I’m here to take a stand, keep our gates locked and ensure the safety of our kids and staff at Rejoice Centre.
We are so proud at Rotary Club of Preston, to be able to support our Community
as  a part of Rotary International.
Let's Support The Rotary Foundation - Areas of Focus!

This is what Trachoma looks like. It causes blindness, when the eyelid swells and grows inward, covering the eye.

This is an illustration of the eyelashes growing inward, scratching the cornea following repeated infections.

All we need to do is to enable people to practise better hygiene. Contact: www.endtrachoma2020.org.au