There is a Chinese Proverb that says: Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
All around the Rotary world there is a focus on Basic Education and Literacy in this month of September. As I move around the clubs in our District and read the weekly Club Bulletins I am delighted to learn about the books being provided to children in need, and the programs that are supporting early childhood and school facilities, both locally and internationally. Whilst driving home from Bendigo I listened with interest to an initiative where books and letters were sent to children in Detention Centres, and then of course the support given by many clubs to assist the literacy development of our indigenous children is impressive. There are so many ways that we can provide assistance to facilitate literacy and numeracy skills that are the foundation for all future learning.
So let me introduce to you a group of people who will make a difference in Cambodia.
In this year of being A Gift to the World we have a second District Vocational Training Team that will provide training in early literacy to over 160 teachers who work in remote village schools around Siem Reap and Phnom Penh in January 2016. This group of dedicated and experienced teachers from both government and independent schools have received guidance from Teachers across Borders and are busy planning the program that they will deliver. It is exciting to note that four Cambodian teachers, two from the Future Light Orphanage of Worldmate and two from the Cambodia First International School will also join the group for the training program.
Bronwyn’s involvement with Cambodian Rotary projects goes back to 2010. As chair of District Managed project “World of Difference” she has led over 10 tours in Cambodia, coordinated 3 District International Grants and been active in project work for a multi club Global Grant. Her career as a registered nurse adds a skill set to her volunteering. Bronwyn is past president (2009-2010) of her club Rotary Club of Melbourne South, is a Paul Harris Fellow and Royce and Jean Abbey award recipient and is currently serving a third year as Assistant Governor of Stonnington Cluster.
My name is Audrey Bugeja and I have been a teacher at Baden Powell College, for the last 6 years. During this time, I have taught a range of Primary and Secondary students in a range of capacities and subjects, from accelerated Literacy, generalist Primary, and Secondary Humanities and English. I have also consistently focused on Welfare and Community Engagement with my students; from raising funds for various organisations, to educating students about Respectful Relationships, Gender Based Violence and Multiculturalism.
My career has also afforded me opportunities to volunteer and teach abroad in countries far less privileged than ours. Working in the slums of India, ghettos of Kenya and villages of Bolivia, I have experienced true poverty. Most recently, supporting Rotary and their incredible efforts in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, I am now extending my passion for educating disadvantaged students, to supporting the teachers of this incredibly beautiful country.
I am an experienced educator with over 35 years experience as a primary school teacher and school leader. My most recent role was Head of an independent Primary School. I implemented major change across all areas of the school including strategic whole school policies, management frameworks, programs and pedagogical structures.
I am currently working as an Education Consultant in the Butha Buthe District Lesotho, where I am conducting Professional Development programs for teachers and introducing a Levelled Reading program. I am also writing specific levelled reading texts, supported by local photographs, for students of these schools centred on their life and culture.
I have also worked as an Education Consultant in New York, responsible for schools and teachers to successfully change and improve the quality of their literacy instruction.
I am a passionate teacher who engages students to develop a love of learning and become responsible citizens in our world.
Teaching………………….more than a profession, it is a passion. My first teaching job was challenging to say the least, aged 22 I went to Istanbul, Turkey where I taught ESL, science and maths at a private secondary college. I fell in love with the job and the country and stayed 5 years. After returning to Australia I continued with studies in Education and then took a position delivering VCAL at the Upper Yarra Community House. This was a program for the disadvantaged and disengaged youth of the Valley. The teaching was tough but it was a most rewarding experience as I felt like I made a difference every day I went to work.
For the last 9 years I have been teaching at Upper Yarra Secondary College (numeracy, literacy, science and maths) and last year as a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award I organised to take 18 students to Cambodia with World of Difference. An amazing experience and another opportunity for me to “make a difference”.
I am currently working at Footscray Primary School as the Student Wellbeing Coordinator. Previously, I have been a classroom teacher, teaching mainly Foundation (Preps) to year 4. I have completed a Graduate Diploma in Education (Teaching English as a Second Language) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Education and have used both qualifications as a specialist teacher. One of my most rewarding roles in teaching was as a Reading Recovery teacher, working with year one children who were at risk in the area of literacy. It was amazing to see the gains made by the children. All students improved but some moved from being pre-readers to being independent readers and writers. As Assistant Principal at Footscray PS I visited Vietnam and helped develop our exchange program with our sister school in Nha Trang and accompanied the first exchange. Working with teachers in Cambodia is a very exciting prospect.
Rosemary trained as a primary school teacher and later did postgraduate studies in special education. She initially taught in Melbourne then married Bill and travelled to the UK where they lived for two years. On their return Rosemary concentrated on bringing up a family and carrying out many voluntary activities in the education field. Later she was employed to teach ESL in the Springvale area before becoming the Education Officer at St John’s Homes (now Anglicare) where she worked for 12 years. She moved to Strathcona BGGS in charge of special education in the Junior School and enjoyed this for 11 years before she retired. In 2001 Rosemary and Bill moved to Malaysia for two years and during this time she became involved with a pioneer Special Education Unit. Since then she has organized visits of Malaysian teachers to Melbourne on four occasions to see Special Schools and Adult Work Centres for intellectually disabled people. Rosemary travelled to Cambodia in 2014 and 2015 with Teachers Across Borders, assisting in organizing workshops to help local teachers improve their teaching strategies and higher order thinking skills.
Having been to the remote villages in Cambodia I know that literacy and in particular the teaching of English is a means to better life for children and I am looking forward to seeing the outcome of this Vocational Training Team initiative and will share the success story upon their return.
Well done to you if you have talked about the wonderful work that you do in the name of Rotary! Have you invited a friend or business associate to join you on one of your projects or indeed to dine with you and your Rotary friends at a meeting? I was at Bacchus Marsh Rotary last week and was chatting to a potential new member and her partner and they must have enjoyed their time together as by the end of the evening both were keen to join the fabulous folk at Bacchus Marsh! I was able to induct four new members at Melton Valley Rotary and three were partners who had previously not been motivated to join. How many members in your club just may have partners who actually want to join and have not been asked? Do you know that in Wyndham Rotary there are ten couples and they really do enjoy Rotary time together!
In October we have the opportunity to talk about our work in almost eliminating Polio. How about you show some pictures of children with Polio to your children and grandchildren and let them know that this will never happen to them because of your work as a Rotarian. We want to Point the Finger to Polio in October so ladies and laddies how about you paint your nails purple and tell this fabulous Rotary Story to everyone looks at you strangely!
Enjoy Rotary as you are……. a Gift to the World.
Ubuntu: I am, because you are