The Annual Paul Harris lunch was held at Graduate House in Carlton on November 2nd with a large group in attendance. Past District Governors Gordon McKern and Dennis Shore lead the proceedings ably supported by Roger Thornton.
The audience heard from 3 excellent speakers, reflecting on the projects undertaken through the Rotary Foundation.
District Global Grant Scholar Lien Trinh reflected on her personal journey from the child of Vietnamese refugees to an Ophthalmology student at Melbourne University; and her selection as the first Rotary District 9800 Foundation Global Grant Scholar.
With that support she studied for a Master’s Degree in public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This course section was based on her belief that she could do more good by influencing public health policy than seeing individuals for eye care.
Lien spoke of her work in developing countries and her selection as the face of the End Trachoma 2020 Project focussing on eliminating Trachoma from Australia. She spoke of the SAFE protocol whereby our focus is on the F and the E.
Funding has been obtained for 3 years enabling her to work on the project and also a part time administrator to be employed.
The project aims to provide clean water, sanitation, soap and mirrors to help stop the spread of this preventable disease which is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
Samantha Dunne-Turner, Past President of the Rotary Club of Gisborne and a District 9800 Royce Abbey Champion of Change spoke of her involvement in a Foundation Grant Vocational Training Team project providing childbirth education in Mongolia and Tanzania.
Accompanied by several visuals, Sam spoke of the difficulties in communicating, the desperately poor quality of hospital and medical care and the conditions under which she and her team of midwives operated under.
While the project in Mongolia has been successful and a repeat visit and manual completed, Tanzania was more a fact finding mission and presented more complex issues.
The third speaker was Stuart McIntyre from the Rotary Club of Brighton speaking on the club’s ongoing project to bring clean water and wells to rural Cambodia.
The focus was on the Prey-Nhor Villages, Anlong Veng district, Siem-Reap Province, where the people suffered from no access to safe drinking water and lack of food sources
In the wet season the area floods but the most pressing was that during the dry season when streams revert to muddy stagnant and contaminated water, people are consistently getting sick with serious gastrointestinal illnesses, as a result some even dying.
The initial project was a combination of Biosand Filters and concrete tanks for harvesting rainwater in the wet season, for use in the dry season.
Stuart showed images of the area, the stagnant water supply and then the concrete tanks and biosand filters. This project has made a huge difference to the lives of the people in this area, and the project has been extended to other villages.
Another project was to clear a heavily silted dam to make a viable water storage for fish, agricultural use and as a source of potable water. A focus on sustainable farming of crops as well as pigs and cattle has also been implemented, making another major difference for the community.
District Governor Peter Frueh, Stuart McIntyre, Past District Governor Dennis Shore, Sam Dunne-Turner, Lien Trinh, Past District Governor Gordon McKern.