Julie Mason, Rotary District 9800 Governor (facebook.com/rotaryd800governor)
It's easier to take than to give. It's nobler to give than to take. The thrill of taking lasts a day. The thrill of giving lasts a lifetime. Joan F. Marques
When visiting Clubs and talking about the Rotary Foundation, I have declared that, in fact the Rotary Foundation is my charity of choice, as I know with absolute certainty that all money given really makes a difference in the lives of others here and abroad.
I liken our Foundation in some ways to a bank, in that every year our District Clubs give a substantial amount of money that in due course comes back to be spent by you through District and Global Grants on projects that change and enrich lives. When you have an idea for a new project, I want you to think Foundation Funds and Rotary Australia World Community Service, and I want you to call John Wigley, District Director Foundation and Rowan McClean, District Chair international Service, to get the best advice and support available to kick start this project! We have money available and I want you to access it!
In your District we have some amazing ongoing education programs that are funded through the Rotary Foundation. Since 1965 our District has been involved in the Group Study Exchange where each year we have enabled teams of young professional people to spend time in another country to learn more about their profession, the cultural mores of the country and the work of Rotary at an international level. The consistent feedback has always been that the team wanted more time devoted to the vocational aspect of the exchange and now hence the rebadging of the name to Group Vocational Exchange with a planned visit to the Philippines in February / March 2016. Under the leadership of Past District Governor Ian Knight we are known in the world as early adopters of the new program, Vocational Training Team as our District Team has now conducted seven visits to Timor Leste to provide training that is saving lives of both mothers and new born babies.
On this Sunday immediately after the dreadful situation in Paris, I can’t help but think that the work done in our District to secure successful applicants for the Rotary World Peace Fellows Program must continue. We are recognised as a
Peace Builder District with an unbroken record of successfully selecting one or more Peace Fellows every year since 2001. This due to the magnificent work of Bob Fels and now current committee Robert Helme from the Rotary Club of Melbourne.
Never has it seemed so important to maintain a commitment to working to achieve a peaceful world though the funds provided by our Rotary Foundation.
Now is the time to share the programs and projects that have been initiated by your club as a result of funds from the Rotary Foundation. I ask that every club promotes a project on the Club Facebook page and share with the Rotary District 9800 Discussion Group Page. For those who tweet, how about a short tweet about a success story? Let’s tell the cyber world about our success stories and the difference we have made through the use of funds from our Foundation/ Bank.
For me, a reminder of the power of Rotary became very evident on 10th of November when I experienced a moving ceremony at the Shrine of Remembrance, preceded by a gathering of Rotarians from Goksu in Turkey and from around Australia who came together at the Seeds of Peace Sculpture to celebrate a long standing relationship between the Rotary Club of Balwyn and Goksu that began fifteen years ago in 2002. Dinner that evening followed and the history of what started as the Rotary Presence in Gallipoli Project, and was then formalised in an Alliance with Sister Club status was shared. Over time, a Group Study Exchange experience, an art exhibition in 2009 involving artists from Turkey and Australia, several visits by hundreds of Rotarians to both Australia for Remembrance Day and Turkey for the Anzac Day Commemoration kept this amazing program relevant for fifteen years. The work of Owen Tassicker and Banu Tulumen in sustaining this project can never be underestimated. Life-long friendships have been forged and a centenary of peace and respect eventually emerged from such a terrible battle in Turkey. Rotary is amazing and I believe we can glean hope and learn from the positive attitude shown in this project to help us develop and maintain respectful relationship in this troubled time.
“There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up” Bernard Meltzer
Rotarians are indeed generous people, giving time, energy, ideas and money to worthwhile initiatives. We are also encouraged to be ﬁt and healthy so the quote above made me smile and prompts me to promote the notion of personal giving to the Rotary Foundation. A small coffee now costs me $3.80 and is gone in a ﬂash, whereas $2 a week enables us to become an Every Rotarian Every Year, and makes a life changing difference to the children I saw in Cambodia! There are many ways to give personally to the Foundation and I have to share that the least painful is to leave some money in your will………well maybe not least for my two sons!
Enjoy Rotary as you are……. a Gift to the World.
Ubuntu: I am, because you are.
Julie Mason, District Governor.