The Sydney Morning herald today features a story on Ali Yunespour, who our Club helped fulfill a dream of building a school for 1000 students in his home country of Afghanistan. Read the story here.
On Tuesday 31 May 2011, Tasmanian entrepreneur Robert Pennicott will be departing for an epic journey entitled “Follow the Yellow Boat Road”, when he circumnavigates Australia in a 5.4m inflatable yellow dinghy to raise funds for Polio eradication.
His aim is to raise the additional $39 million needed by Rotary International to hit the $200 million benchmark, to which Bill Gates has pledged to contribute $355 million more.
The grand total of $555 million is anticipated to lead to the total worldwide eradication of polio, with a donation of just $10 vaccinating 17 children.
For more information go to http://follow.theyellowboatroad.com/
I need your help for the NSW Govt – Keep Australia Beautiful Graffiti Action Day on Sunday 15 May 2011.
The purpose of the day is to:
- Clean up the disgusting mess created by paint vandals in the local area
- Send a message to the vandals/local kids that it's not OK to write on the walls
- Raise public awareness of the issue
- Educate residents and business owners how to reduce future attacks
We are meeting at 10am at the car park behind Officeworks West Ryde, corner of Victoria Road and Hermitage Road.
Geoff Brennan is the site coordinator.
We will be working with other local community and business organisations to make the day a success.
I need volunteer names ASAP to order the equipment.
Charles Kilby 0412 401 664
Dear all Friends and Members of Rotary,
The annual Combined services Dinner is being held, and Macquarie Park Rotary is hosting it this year. Please see attached flyer.
Thursday Night 2nd June.
With guest speakers Major Lyndsay & Dawn Smith, Senior Chaplain to NSW Fire Brigades.
To be held at Ryde Eastwood Leagues Club.
Buffett dinner $40.00 with fundraising to help a young 3-year-old Asher Holland who suffers from a rare genetic condition MECP2.
Please let all your members and friends know. Mark in your diary.
Roseanna Gallo JP
PH: 9801-6262 Mob: 0418 692 410
The 6th Annual Rotary Club of Ryde Primary School Public Speaking Competition this year will be held on Tuesday, 5 April 2011.
Prior to the competition, there will be a workshop run by Michelle Dodd on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at the Eastwood Womens' Rest Centre, Eastwood. The students should arrive at 5:00pm. The workshop starts at 5:15pm and finishes at 6:45pm. Attendance at this workshop is not obligatory.
The preliminaries will be held on Thursday, 24 March 2011 at Eastwood Heights Public School. Children should arrive in their school uniforms at 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start – parents and teachers are most welcome to attend. Light refreshments will be served during the evening.
The three finalists from this preliminary competition will be asked to repeat the same speech at a Rotary Club of Ryde meeting which will be held on Tuesday, 5 April 2011 at the Next Generation Club, 2nd Floor, 504 Victoria Road , Ryde (next to the Ryde Aquatic Centre) commencing at 6:00pm for a 6:30pm start.
After a brief interval, the finalists will be given ten minutes in which to prepare a one minute, impromptu speech. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed winners will be announced by the adjudicators and prizes will be awarded to the winners and a perpetual trophy is presented to the winning school.
During the evening, dinner will be served which will be complimentary for the three finalists and provided at a cost of $30 per person for their family, friends and teachers. There will also be available a cash bar for drinks. For catering purposes, please advise your child’s public speaking teacher the numbers attending at least one week prior to the event.
If you would like any further information or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Nora Etmekdjian, the co-ordinator of the competition for this year, on either 0417 699 955, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
You are invited to the Inner Wheel Club of Ryde's International Day Lunch, this Sunday 20 February.
It's a quintessential Aussie barbecue – Steaks, snags, salads, bread rolls & desserts.
WHEN: Sunday 20 February 2011 at 12:30pm
WHERE: 8 Elderberry Place, Cherrybrook
COST: $20.00 BYO Drinks
DRESS: Laid back Aussie style!!
Julie 9871 1109 or Liz 9809 6327
Our recent opening of the new school in Borjegai, Afghanistan, generated a bit of media attention, and continues to, as people learn of the project and its significance.
Recently, the Northern District Times found the story so compelling, that they made it a major front page new item and gave it a further half a page inside.
Check out these two links to see the story:
Ryde Rotary and the Indigo Foundation celebrate the building a school for 1000 students in Borjegai, Afghanistan.
Sydney, January 2011 – A local Rotary Club has found a way to make a difference in war-torn Afghanistan. Ali Yunespour, an Afghan refugee now living in Sydney was inspired by his involvement in two Rotary programs – Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) – to do something for his people back home.
Through his work helping newly arrived immigrants from Afghanistan, Ali learned of the work one of his friends had been doing with Indigo Foundation, an Australian NGO, to establish schools in Afghanistan and, convinced of the value of education in bringing peace to the world, resolved to do what he could to further that work.
Ali sought the opportunity to speak to the Rotary Club of Ryde about his thoughts. In early 2009 the club started working with Ali and the Indigo Foundation to formulate a feasibility study for a school for 1000 boys and girls in Borjegai, a location in Afghanistan where schooling is limited, due to very cold winters and the lack of any school accommodation other than tents.
The project approach utilized The Rotary Club of Ryde’s strengths in project development and direction and Indigo Foundation’s very successful in-country network.
A clearly articulated memorandum committed all parties – including village leaders in Borjegai – to their defined roles, documented the project program and schedule, key milestones and resource commitments, and identified risks and risk management strategies.
The Rotary Club of Ryde provided project direction, high level management and $76,000 (AUD), covering construction work, school supplies and teachers salaries; Indigo Foundation utilized their tested network and contacts for funds transfer and disbursement and in-country management and administration; the Borjegai community provided a substantial proportion of the manual labour, and, of course, the land for the building.
Construction commenced in April 2010 and was completed in October 2010, an outstanding achievement, evidenced in the accompanying photographs. The school was officially opened recently, the number of people attending the ceremony providing ample evidence of just how significant this development is for the Borjegai community, and how effective it has been at building communities and bridging continents.
Ryde Rotary Club is now considering how to best provide ongoing support for the school, the most likely avenues being provision of school furniture and equipment, as well as teacher training. With the major step of school establishment complete, there is ample opportunity for any interested parties to participate in this life-changing and inspirational “good-news” program.
It was Afghanistan Night at the Rotary Club of Ryde, and this was another of our great nights this year. Project Director and PP Rob Mitchell proposed the Loyal Toast after the Rotary Grace, and I welcomed the visitors, who had come to help us celebrate, including local federal member Mr John Alexander, John Booth and Ulrike Eichmeyer from the Weekly Times Newspaper, Guest Speaker James Brown, representatives of the Hazara Community and tireless Indigo Foundation workers Ali Yunespour and Salman Jan, and Indigo Foundation representative Alice Davies, filling in for Sally Stevenson.
For Rotary District 9680 we had District International Service Chair PP Peter Kindred from the Rotary Club of Chatswood. Several other visitors and our ever-supportive wives were welcomed to this very important night celebrating a major milestone in a project run under our International Avenue of Service.
Project Director, Rob Mitchell was MC of our celebration of the successful construction of the School in Borjegai. Rob has been the driving force of this project, both strategically and in the day-to-day project management. He acknowledged the contribution of Anwar Haidari, who still lives in Afghanistan, so could not attend our night.
Alice Davies is Secretary of the Management Committee at the Indigo Foundation, having met Sally Stevenson in Ethiopia in 2008 where they were both working for Médecins Sans Frontières. She thanked Ryde Rotary for helping the poor by building their capacity to help themselves.
Ali Yunespour spoke on “How I came to Rotary”; many of us knew some of the story having known Ali for several years. In 2006 he represented Marsden High School at MUNA, and later that year we selected him for sponsorship to the Rotary Youth Leadership Award week. Ali gave us the best "sell" of RYLA I have heard so far. At the end of the week Ali understood that leadership requires ability, hard work and resources, so he came to Ryde Rotary looking for resources to build a School in his homeland. He thanked PP Rob Mitchell for all the lessons learned over the last 18 months as they worked on the Borjegai Project together. The only thing Ali got wrong was when he said he was sad "the Hazara people were not represented here tonight." They were, and well, by Ali himself.
Introducing Salman Jan, Rob pointed out that the Indigo Foundation's first school in Afghanistan was Salman's initiative, and that this gave us the confidence to invest in the Borjegai School. Salman talked us through a video of the school project giving us a good understanding of the horrific terrain; something like the Southern Alps without the trees. "Travel through Ghazni province is hazardous", he understated.
Then it was my turn to present a Paul Harris Fellow Recognition to Salman Jan, which of course was a surprise to Salman. My citation was along these lines;
“At Ryde Rotary, we try to give Paul Harris Fellow Recognition each year to a local person or persons outside the Club who have demonstrated SERVICE ABOVE SELF in their community service actions. In 1957, the Rotary Foundation launched the Paul Harris Fellowship in memory of the founder of Rotary as an expression of appreciation for those who have contributed to the Foundation's humanitarian and educational programs.
A contribution of US$1,000 is made to the Rotary Foundation in the name of each individual to be honoured. The recipients receive a pin, a medallion and a certificate that identify them as advocates of the Foundation's goals of world peace and understanding. After more than forty years, recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow remains a respected and prestigious honour for Rotarians and non-Rotarians alike.
The board has voted to present a Paul Harris Fellow recognition to Salman Jan, the Indigo Foundation member who was our man on the ground in Borjegai. This recognition in no way minimises the efforts of other Indigo Foundation members in this Project, but without Salman to be our eyes and ears in Borjegai, the project of building the school would not have been possible.
As far as I know he's the only friend of Rotary who has actually risked his life for a Ryde Project. We decided the presentation should be made at this celebration of the completion of the Borjegai School. On behalf of the Rotary Club of Ryde I have great pleasure in recognising Salman's personal contribution to the Borjegai School Project and to the Rotary Club of Ryde by presenting him with a Paul Harris Fellow recognition.”
Our Guest speaker James Brown is a Military Associate at the Lowy Institute of International Policy, and served in the ADF in Afghanistan. He broke his back in a bicycle accident last week and is getting married next week, so it was a heroic effort to honour his commitment to speak to us. In Hospital his fiancé pointed out that the cricket box was invented in 1864 to protect the male testes, while the bicycle helmet was only invented in 1965 – Typically, men took a Century longer to realise they should protect their brains as well. I'm not sure where she was going with this story, but no doubt the partners will figure it out.
He described a chaotic land of hundreds of valleys full of corrupt officials and insurgents.
Taliban members, narcotics warlord's gangsters and human traffickers are mixed into the local population. He told of a young US Army Officer who found himself Judge in a trial of a 17-year-old boy tried as a terrorist, and of the hope offered by German contractors building roads to link isolated communities. The hope is that the improved communications will lead to a world view larger than that formed by "Mother, Mullah and Mosque". James’s method of explaining the security issue in Afghanistan by focusing on one small valley conveyed his clear and powerful message that any solutions in that country are tied to continuing infrastructure development and education of the population. He applauded our efforts in Borjegai as being in line with that conviction.
His final slide showed our school on the left and three people on the right, and he spoke at length about the corruption and lack of ethics in both the legal and illegal groups in Afghanistan. I strained my eyes to focus on the three corrupt Warlords on the screen only to realise it was a photo of Bill, Adrian and Burkhart on graffiti patrol!
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of PP Geoff Brennan in organising this night, and of PP Rob Mitchell in taking Ali's request for assistance and driving it all the way through to delivery of the Borjegai School over two Rotary Years. It's been a great effort and we thank you, and the Indigo Foundation. You have made our Rotary theme come alive: Building Communities, and Bridging Continents!
President Allen Horrell
At the recent Ryde Chamber of Commerce event, hosted by John Booth at The Weekly Times, Ryde Rotary President surprised Lorraine and Malcolm Cox with a Paul Harris Fellow award each. Paul Harris Fellows are awarded to Rotarians and Non-Rotarians alike, who show outstanding commitment to community service. Lorraine and Malcolm are ideal recipients, with all the charity and community work they do.
Lorraine and Malcolm's business, Ryde Furniture Freighters, has become very well known for helping those in need. They cart furniture for charities and they donate large amounts of furniture left over from their clients' downsizing moves – all at their own expense.
Ryde Rotary has been at the receiving end of Lorraine and Malcolm's generosity, when they offered to cart a shipment of furniture bound for one of our international aid program destinations.
Tony Abboud from Ryde Rotary introduced President Allen Horrell to the Ryde Chamber crowd (a crowd which, for some reason, seemed to be padded out somewhat with a few Rotarians!). President Allen commenced his presentation with an explanation of the Paul Harris Fellow award and its significance, not only as a recognition of great respect and honour, but that one aspect of the award is that Rotary donates $1000 to the Rotary Foundation on behalf of the recipient. This evening, $2000 was donated and two very surprised recipients were asked to come up and receive their awards. Malcolm and Lorraine are two of the nicest, humblest people you could meet and they certainly weren't ready for all the accolades and the attention. There were more than one or two tears from the recipients and from the crowd as the emotion of such a public recognition of great community service unfolded.
Congratulations Lorraine and Malcolm, on all your amazing support and good work.
Photo (L-R): Malcolm Cox, The Weekly Times Editor John Booth (OAM), Lorraine Cox, Ryde Chamber President Tony Abboud, Ryde Rotary President Allen Horrell
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