MEETING INFORMATION

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our club has temporarily postponed all future face-to-face meetings.

Instead, we have established weekly online virtual meetings where we can still meet but from the comfort and safety of our own homes.

 
 
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Our club normally meets at a regular venue every Tuesday evening. However, with stay-at-home and social distancing rules in place, we have now reverted to conducting our meetings online.

While the attendance for the first few meetings has been lower than expected, we are hoping it will grow as the less technologically-minded members become acquainted with the virtual concept.

One of the benefits of these online meetings is that we can invite guest speakers who may be located anywhere in the world. In a recent meeting, our guest speaker was Chris Ochaya  and his wife Sarah from Uganda. Chris was sponsored by our club several years ago to spend 3 months in Australia to learn various farming techniques. Since returning to Uganda, he has established the Tamarind Community Farm which is aimed at supporting many families in the region. Werribee Rotary and several agricultural businesses in Australia have been instrumental in providing funds and expertise for some of the projects which include building a bore water system, constructing a goat shelter and a chicken shed.

During the meeting, Chris gave members an update on the status of the various projects. He also talked about the effects that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on his country.

In the future, we will invite some of our past Rotary exchange students from Japan and Brazil to speak about life in their respective countries.

 

Members and friends of our club recently responded to the urgent call from President Kitty of the Rotary Club of Laverton Point Cook to help create relief packs containing items for distribution to the brave firefighters and evacuees who were involved in the devastating bushfires in south-east Australia.

Sixty people of all ages worked feverishly from midday to 8pm to prepare the kits which contained essential items. Each pack even included a face washer with the words "Thank you" embroidered on it.

The items were generously supplied by local businesses, community groups and families. Some children were even moved to donate their pocket money as a means of expressing their support, particularly for the loss and injury of so many native animals.

While the team was exhausted at the end of the process, they felt extremely satisfied that they had contributed in a positive way.

Click here to view some photos of the successful day.

 

The Rotary Club of Werribee is proud to announce that the chicken and egg business at the Tamarind community farm in Uganda and is now in full production mode. This is the completion of another phase of a joint project between Werribee Rotary and Tamarind, with support from several Australian investors, which has previously seen the establishment of a bore water system, a vegetable garden and a secure compound for the domestic goats.

Tamarind is the brain-child of Chris Ochaya, a local resident who was awarded a Royce and Jean Abbey Scholarship to travel to Australia in 2017 where he was hosted by our club. During his 3-month stay, Chris visited many agricultural businesses to learn about modern practices. With his new-found knowledge, he returned to Uganda and commenced the long road to set up a self-sustainable economy for his community. He wanted to deliver a "hand-up" rather than a "hand-out" solution.

There were a few challenges along the road before the chickens started laying. Chris had to design and construct a building that would be free from predators and vermin. This was a more expensive exercise because the walls had to be made of brick. When the first batch of baby chickens arrived, many of them died from a common disease which could have been prevented if the correct inoculations had been delivered.

Our club is proud of the work that Chris has achieved and is keen to support him on future projects.

Click here to see more images of the chickens.

Click here to see a short video of the good work we are doing in Uganda.

 

 

We hosted a special meeting that was attended by members, partners and guests from neighbouring Rotary clubs. We were privileged to hear from the head of the newly-formed Australian Space Agency, Dr Megan Clark. 

Dr Clark is a past Rotary Exchange student and she comes from a Rotary family. 

Dr Clark delivered a polished and professional presentation. Some of her key points of interest were:

  1. The agency aims to strengthen the connection that young people have with space and to work with partners and education providers to enable the future generation to contribute to the space economy in a wide range of careers.

  2. Australia has an increasing role to play in space-to-earth connections. It can be at the cutting-edge of new technologies, such as lasers for wireless optical communications. In addition, Australia’s geographic location and size, including our territory in Antarctica, makes us an attractive location for ground stations and providing communications for a full range of space systems.

  3. Space is crucial for communications in the 70% of our landmass not covered by mobile phones, as well as in our marine jurisdiction and airspace.

  4. Australia’s southern hemisphere location, the expanse of Australian land and low light contamination make this an ideal location for space debris tracking.

  5. GPS systems are critical for the Australian economy and our everyday lives. They are used by individuals on their smart phones, farmers reducing cost and waste, and the Royal Flying Doctor Service landing in remote areas, through to improving safety on construction and mining sites. As a nation we are entirely dependent on other countries for access to the six global navigation satellite systems that provide information for these services.

  6. The government is now investing $224.9 million to make reliable positioning data accurate to 10 centimetres available across every corner of Australia, our marine jurisdiction and our airspace. Areas with mobile coverage will have access to precise positioning data accurate to three centimetres.

  7. Australia will partner with NASA in projects that will see flights to the moon and Mars.

  8. They are working with Boeing to develop a space launch system.

  9. They are also involved in the Artemis program which will see the next landing on the moon by 2024.

Everyone regarded Dr Clark's presentation as a major highlight of our Rotary year.

 

Our club member Michael Redding was accompanied by Lorry Rowe (Rotary Club of Flemington) on a trip to central Vietnam where they presented self-propelled tricycle wheelchairs to four young people whose mobility has been restricted through illness or injury. The tricycles cost about A$380. The children are from very poor families and their families could not afford to pay for them. The funds were provided by Werribee Rotary and Lorry.

The tricycles are made in Ho Chi Minh City and transported to central Vietnam. They are easily propelled by pushing the steering column backwards and forwards. They are comfortable, very manoeuvrable and can travel at speeds of up to 10 km per hour on the local roads. The four recipients were Nhan, Thanh, Moi and Khanh.

In Vietnam, people with many types of disability are hidden away, living in their family home and destined to remain there for the rest of their lives. In the Hue area alone, it is estimated there are over 29,000 disabled people, nearly all of whom receive no support.  Among this group are many young people who cannot walk but whose lives would be transformed with a tricycle wheelchair. The big challenge is how to locate where they live.

Michael's Vietnamese friend, Dung, has formed a small team of committed volunteers. Through asking questions to a range of people, the team were able to discover where the four recipients lived. Once the wheelchairs were given to them their lives were immediately transformed. They now have their own mobility and can travel wherever they wish.

The team intends to continue identifying where more young disabled people in the Hue area are living.  Any donated wheelchairs in the future they can distribute to the young people they have located.

Click here to read a full report about the four recipients and the joy they expressed when they were presented with their tricycles.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to Michael and Lorry for their generous humanitarian efforts.

 

 

A group of dedicated Rotarians, together with many friends of Rotary and community members, joined forces on Sunday 19th May to plant 1200 trees in Rosslare Reserve, Hoppers Crossing.

The weather was perfect for the occasion and the group worked diligently and quickly to get the job done within 3 hours. It was pleasing to see some local residents joining in as they responded to the call for assistance. 

Special thanks go to staff from Wyndham City Council for providing equipment and services to make the job easier. Thanks also to Geoff Smith for his tireless efforts in organising the event, despite the fact that he was noticeable by his absence on the day.

After the work was completed, we all celebrated our efforts with a sausage sizzle. Thanks everyone for making it a successful and fun day.

Click here to see some photos of the day.

Click here to see a small video of the people hard at work.