President's Message
Ian Ross
member photo

At our meeting on Monday 10 March 2020 we had the pleasure of the company of Anthony Spagnolo who has been pre-selected as the Liberal candidate to contest the State Legislative Assembly seat of Riverton Liberal; and Kieran English's son, Winston. There were fewer members than usual and despite our best efforts, we hadn't been able to find a guest speaker, so I devoted the time to Hands Across The World which the Club has previously supported and of which I am a Director and the Board Secretary..

Hands Across the World's (HATW) is an Australian not-for-profit organisation which tackles the atrocities of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and human slave labour through the medium of a quality education for disadvantaged communities in Cambodia. Since it was established in 2013 HATW has constructed and commissioned two schools (one including an extensive library and fully equipped computer room) and through an Interactive Programme has trained twenty four (24) teachers working in nine (9) schools reaching two thousand and eight (2008) students. It has also provided school books and stationary to two hundred (200) students. 

The program has been very successful, but has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced many schools to close and left teachers without income to support their families, a situation made worse by the lack of a welfare safety net in Cambodia,  

To help these teachers, many of whom have found creative ways to continue educating house bound children, our Club has been successful in obtaining a Rotary Foundation District Grant for HATW to use in conjunction with its own limited funds, to provide some short term financial assistance of about USD 90 per  teacher. It isn't much by Western standards, but will make a quite a difference to them.   

Which brings me to The Rotary Foundation (TRF). It is a not-for-profit corporation funded solely by donations from Rotarians and Foundation Friends. Individuals can make tax deductible donations through the Australian Rotary Foundation Trust and Clubs are encouraged to contribute $100 AUD per member per annum through the Centurion Program to TRF Annual Fund (SHARE) Fund. (We can be justly proud that our Club exceeded that target well and truly in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and only fell a little short in 2020 due to our budgetary constraints; and that this was in addition to donations made each year to other TRF programs, such as Polio Plus). Both forms of donation earn credits towards Paul Harris Fellowships (PHF) valued at $1000 USD each and I'm very happy to report that Kevin Baruffi was recently recognised by TRF with a sapphire to add to his existing PHF for personally achieving this  milestone. 
Each year TRF makes funds available for Global and District Grants. Global grants are for large-scale projects and District Grants for shorter term projects and activities. The primary source for these grants is TRF Annual (SHARE) Fund where fifty percent (50%) of contributions made are returned three (3) years after they are received and that's all the more reason for us to contribute.
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Mary chose the Rotary Club Of Sheffield because her husband, Dave, hails from there. She reported that the members are positive individuals who want to make a difference.  They come from a wide range of backgrounds, professions and age groups and they aim to:

    •  Be a force for good in and around Sheffield

    •  Work with others to maximise our positive impact

    •   Support each other, respecting differences and adapting to the modern world

    •   Play our part locally, nationally and internationally

Their President is Mark Casson and they meet twice a month however are currently meeting online due to CoVid.

Amongst other their activities include

  • Music in the garden.
  • A large number of Rotary members from the Sheffield and neighbouring clubs help with the organisation of Music in the Gardens annual event.  Members help with security, stewarding, litter picking and clearing up after the event. Over the past 15 years £500 000 has been raised and distributed to local charities.  Sadly due to the Covid pandemic this year's event has been postponed to July 2022.
  • Rotary4foodbank
  • A District initiative to provide food to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic takes off!
  • Eco Bottle Greenhouse for Clifford All Saints Primary School.Rotarians, parents and students collected 1600 two (2) litre plastic bottles to make the greenhouse. As well as teaching children about the imporatnce of recycling plastics, the end result is an eco-friendly building which allows the children to grow their own fruit, vegetables and garden plants for years to come-and at a fraction of the economic or energy costs of a traditional greenhouse.
  • Time has also been spent clearing the overgrown garden so that we can build planters for each class in the school.  Watch this space for future progress reports.
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