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.
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
  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 Mental Illness 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!!
 
Our Guest Speaker for our July 28 Wednesday Meeting is Rotarian Susie Cole. Susie will be talking about this excellent initiative of Rotary Prahran, with participation of a number of inner city Rotary Clubs to assist in the supply of donated furniture and household goods to families in need. 
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. 

      

How lucky we were to have Phil and Matthew with us at a  Rotary Club of Preston Zoom meeting to share with us the Bicycles for Humanity journey.

An entirely volunteer-run organisation, Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) was founded in Canada, established with the goal of making a life-changing difference in developing countries by providing bicycles to improve basic mobility, and hence, providing communities with easier access to education, health care and social services.

In 2008, Bicycles for Humanity Melbourne was founded by Matt McCullough and Andy Gild as the first Australian Bicycles for Humanity chapter. In the 12 years since the establishment of Bicycles for Humanity Melbourne, 26 shipping containers have been sent from Melbourne to Namibia, Zambia, Madagascar and Botswana. Each container holds 500 bikes, with assorted helmets and tools, and costs approximately $3000 to buy and $4000 to ship.

The organisation and many of its chapters maintain a strong link to Bicycle Empowerment Network, Namibia where locals are trained in mechanical and business skills and the container is then converted into an independent workshop or eBox (formally known as Bicycle Empowerment Centre, BEC) to create ongoing and self-supporting local networks. There are now more than 30 established eBoxes in Namibia alone. The importance of the work of Bicycles for Humanity has been acknowledged at governmental levels with Australia’s then Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, officially opening a BEC in Namibia in 2009.

In addition, B4H has sent bicycles to locations such as the Northern Territory in Australia and Cambodia, and maintain an association with a range of local communities throughout Melbourne. Indeed, by the end of 2020, a total of 12500 bicycles will have been made available to support the many communities and partners where bicycles make an enormous difference to people.

 

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

 
 
 
 
Preston Rotary
We are 45 members and growing. 13 members have been in the club for over 25 years.  By contrast we have 14 members who have been Rotarians less than 5 years, so there is a good mix.
 
Who is Preston Rotary?
We are aged 38-97 years. Don’t think we are old fuddy-duddies though. 
Look up Children First Foundation, to see a project we have supported over 20 years.  
Around 50% of us are retired, and 50% in employment. Collectively we have 700 plus years of Rotary service and experience. We come from far and wide… Craigieburn, Toorak, and Romsey, from Queensland, from Auckland, and Alice Springs, from Donvale, Mt Waverly, Delhi and Newport, to name a few. Twenty of us have seen the light and live in this local diverse City of Darebin.
So why, why do we come from so far and wide? Because…we are a clever, experienced, and committed bunch that can get you through life’s major hurdles. When we meet weekly there is energy and purpose in the room!
 
With our members’ experience and resources, this club can take you through every stage of life. Read on . . .
We’ve had new babies this past year, so can give our new parents on hand parental advice in bucket loads.
 We’ve got all the education advisors you will ever need, with our retired school principals and lecturers. Then we can advise you into careers, tertiary education, if you require. We can fill in papers and forms and do any Admin jobs you need.
 We can get you married with our connections to the clergy/celebrants. We have had 3 marriages in recent times, inter-country, rainbow, traditional. I told you we were diverse didn’t I ?  We can organize the whole event, catering, design and print the invitations, provide a short film if you so desire, … all at a good rate.
 If you are thinking of buying a house, we can sort that for you too, our real estate agents will make it a cinch for you! If you want to even build a house or business … no worries, architects and project managers extraordinaire, immediate, on hand!
Need the soil tested, land surveyed, why we may even be able to give you your own street name. Just speak with PBP.
But, you can’t take this on without sound and proper financial advice…Ah ha here is the Rotary club of Prestons’ secret and specialist area… plenty to choose from, some under 40, financial advisors, professional fundraisers, investment advisors, accountants, mortgage brokers, we can do your tax returns,… easy … you name it we’ve got the lot! Experience is the name of our game!
 
Having trouble getting a job? Try us out, hopefully with our friendly team, their skills, networks and experience we can get you on track. Should something unfortunate occur with an accident and you lose mobility, or have a disability, we have community contacts waiting to help.
 
Establishing or expanding a business, want it to improve…export to the world even? We are not joking, Preston Rotary’s got your back. By the way, Community markets are also a speciality of ours, experts in sausage sizzles…always for a good cause eg PTSD
 
Need anything advertised/broadcast, no problems, we can well manage all the media communication you want. Just ask our own G Man at 3KND. World conferences in the bag !
Oh, … things getting a little stressful? Experiencing some muscle strain?  We can put you in touch with the right folk, with years of experience. Having a few mental health issues managing life? We have experts in the field. Need to get exercising,… we would strongly recommend the fold up bicycle, no chain but a belt 100% guaranteed….and so, so easy to manouvre.
 
Teenagers veering off the rails… been there, done that, … we can help! In a spot of trouble with the law enforcement…. use our connections far and wide, particularly in the Northern suburbs. Our Club  gives an annual Community Police Award.  Perhaps you need a quiet nice meal out ...  we have choices. Once again, it is all about who you know, isn’t it?
 
Perhaps you feel you’ve got enough in life, and thinking you would like to go and give back to those less fortunate in the world ,… for something completely different ... volunteer overseas. What about Northern India? We’ve got the accommodation already for you, seriously,  … and they desperately need water wells in remote villages, speak with JR. Google Rejoice School  or Jacob’s Well and marvel at what is achievable. 
In fact any country in the world there is probably a Rotary project going on or about to happen!
 
As you get closer to the grave, we have experience in aged care. If desired we can help you write your life story. Remember we can design and print you funeral booklet, provide a celebrant, give emotional and spiritual support and highly recommend a very loyal and local funeral director.
 
And I haven’t even mentioned if anybody wanted to buy or rent a new car!
 
If the above isn’t enough to convince you, google our member Kate Austin at Pinchapoo to be further amazed at our work distributing personal care packs across Victoria.
 
Why wouldn’t you want to be a proud, passionate and paid up member of Preston Rotary? Sorry don’t come if you don’t want to put your elbow to the grind. We do stop gardening after 2 hours in over 30 Celsius however.
 
We are here to do good in the world. We are people of action.
Contact us and come and check us out, you are most welcome!

End Trachoma 2020

 
What does Australia have that the other developed nations of the world don’t?
Trachoma. 
Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of infectious blindness. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and creates swelling under the inner eyelid. Repeated episodes of infection lead to scarring. The scars cause eyelashes to turn inward and scratch the eye, producing intense pain made worse by blinking. Eventually, if left untreated, the scratched cornea becomes cloudy, and irreversible blindness follows.
How it spreads Trachoma spreads by personal contact (via hands, clothing, towels or bedding), or by flies in contact with infected discharge from the nose or eyes of children’s faces. Where does trachoma exist?
Australia is the last developed country where trachoma still remains a problem. It isn’t found in mainstream Australia, but lingers in remote Indigenous communities, where there is poor sanitation, overcrowded households and low personal and community hygiene.
Young children are particularly at risk. Keeping every child’s face clean, and ensuring functional and appropriate wash facilities are available for the community is essential. Improving hygiene will also reduce other common, serious infections.  EndTrachoma by 2020 is an opportunity for all clubs around Australia to unite and support our least advantaged Australians. To get involved, visit: www.endtrachoma2020.org.au
 
 
Preston Rotary Club, in conjunction with the  the Pavilion School and Darebin City Council has completed a Skills Shed, which will help deliver accredited hands on training programs including Carpentry, Car Maintenance, bicycle building, furniture making, Mechanics, Life Skills and horticulture.
 
The benefits to having a skills shed at the Pavilion School
* Learn home maintenance practical tool skills
* Learn broad handyman skills as an important independent living skill
* Engaging Retirees in a  mutually beneficial skills training program
* Culturally safe space for indigenous students
* Accredited training delivered as well as soft skills sessions
* Reinforce the link between local employers via  engagement in programs
* link to employment programs.

20 minutes with Margie Barclay

Given that stories are meant to INSPIRE, to EDUCATE and, where possible, to ACTIVATE, Margie Barclay’s story is a perfect fit.
Currently stationed in midwifery at the Royal Women’s Hospital in Parkville, Margie had a long career as a Nurse Volunteer with MEDICINS SANS FRONTIERES - Doctors without Borders. In 1996, armed with her midwifery, maternity and child-care qualifications, she began that journey, serving with MSF till 2015. Her first appointment was to Tajikistan, a country far removed in every  way from comfortable Melbourne.
 
Medecins Sans Frontieres was founded in 1971 when a group of French medics branched off from the Red Cross. Their intent was to be totally independent financially, politically, militarily and religion wise. They saw this as giving them the full ability to collect independent data and to speak out nationally and internationally where the suffering have no voice. Today they work in over 70 countries, delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare. See https://msf.org.au/
 
Margie described many emergency ‘cases’ in a long list of countries where she has been involved. Most of these were unimaginably life-threatening, physically exhaustive and emotionally draining. Her audience was totally silent! She has worked in Haiti after the earthquake killed over 100,000 persons; in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan; the bloody conflict in North West Yemen; Sudan with its ongoing massacres and child armies. The list continues.
Providing maternity and infant care often times in unsanitary and life-threatening conditions takes its toll. Margie related a strong memory of a woman who came to deliver her seventh child. She was close to delivery when bombing started, close enough to shake the buildings. Anxiety was high for her, the mother and child, and for MSF members. After a few minutes the baby came, healthy and everything was fine after all.
 
Margie said that returning home was always a significant challenge. This video help us understand the impact of this work on its fieldworkers.
Margie Barclay: Inspired. Inspiring.

How an Inflatable Hospital Works

An innovation borne out of the need for an instant medical centre to treat people with significant injuries after natural disasters and war / unrest. Medecins San Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) developed this concept for their aid work. http://msf.org.au
 
 

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?

3KND BRINGS NAIDOC TO LIFE FOR VICTORIA

3KND 1503AM, the “Voice of Indigenous Victoria Australia”, offers Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community members from Melbourne and wider Victoria the unique opportunity to share their experiences, concerns, perspectives and information with the wider community and neighbours over the 3KND radio Airwaves and Internet.

Rotary Club of Preston member Gerry Lyons (aka the GMAN) is the General Manager of 3KND.

Following the cancellation of NAIDOC due to COVID-19, Gerry got together a mob of artists and with the help of Melbourne Arts Centre and other groups they played out the Victorian Naidoc Week Concert. Uncle Archie Roach was the star and the virtual national and international audience on the night numbered 61,000. Gerry sees the role of music in keeping oneself healthy, balanced and sane. Music can bring people together, it can revive pleasant old memories, it can relieve stresses, it can raise the spirit.

IMPACT OF LOCKDOWN ON INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES

3KND GMan Rotarian Gerry Lyons spoke to the Club of the massive jump in domestic violence within the indigenous communities in these lock-down times. Children have been taken away because a parent has become unemployed, home food has diminished and connection with community has suffered badly.

People have been slow to call out for help. Gerry and his 30 person staff, permanent and volunteers, are seeking out those who have no-one to talk to, no voice to call out, no family to share with . . . During the weekend of the Concert there were no cases of domestic violence while currently his mission of being out there listening and sharing is having similar results.

This is one of the reasons that at Preston Rotary, we so strongly support 3KND and the GMAN.

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.

Jacob’s Well Vision

Girl_Drink_Jacobs_Well

Justice and hope for the desperately poor throughout the world by virtue of improved health, knowledge and quality of life.

Mission

Jacob’s Well hopes to break the poverty cycle by sinking fresh water wells in villages, establishing health and resource centres and providing life changing education for children from tribal villages and the slums.

Purpose

To live a life of significance based upon Christian values, working together with all cultures, faiths and genders, empowering others to facilitate change and provide solutions to break the poverty cycle.

Children_Sponsor_Well_Village

Goals

Jacob’s Well aligns itself to alleviate the root cause of poverty through the following Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger – Jacob’s Well aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger through provision of clean water, education, sustainable agriculture initiatives and skills training programs. MDG 1
  2. Achieve universal primary education – Jacob’s Well is taking education into the remote villages where there is no education and no hope. MDG 2
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women – Jacob’s Well ensures that all the boys and girls at Rejoice receive primary and secondary education. Girls are encouraged to go onto further education and become involved in their community transformation. MDG 3Sponsor_Child_Monkey_Bar
  4. Reduce child mortality – Jacob’s Well has provided clean water and hygiene education to assist in the reduction of infant mortality within those villages. MDG 4
  5. Improve maternal health – Through the medical, health and resource centres Jacob’s Well will provide maternal health, first aid programs and hygienic birthing kits to women throughout the district. MDG 5
  6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases – Jacob’s Well’s primary focus to combat disease is through education on preventative healthcare, management of common ailments and nutrition. MDG 6
  7. Ensure environmental sustainability – Jacob’s Well is implementing sustainability initiatives in remote villages where there are no resources and no hope. MDG 7
 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