Children’s Aid International (CAI) was founded back in 2010 by past Rotaract South Brisbane President Renee French. CAI run a fundraising tour every one to two years and in the Summer of 2014/15 Alisha Radford and Mark Hams took up the opportunity to lead the Rotaract Tour. They were also joined by Kerryn Gresty and Jessica Shaw from the Club. Along with other Rotaractors and friends, the group headed off to Nepal in late December to experience the beautiful country of Nepal with its’ rich culture and natural beauty.
Kicking off in the capital of Kathmandu the group anchored themselves in the eclectic tourist district of Thamel and took a day to acclimatise and take in the sights and sounds before stepping further afield. The group toured historic Buddhist and Hindu Temples, caught a glimpse of the famous Kumari ‘living goddess’ in Durbar Square and took a walk through the Nepalese Royal Palace, site of the horrific massacre of the Royal Family back in 2001. Another highlight for some of the group was a joy flight to get a close up view of Mt Everest in the early morning sunshine – a unique and amazing experience.
From here the group we ventured out into the surrounding countryside, the village of Godawari where the Childrens Welfare Centre is located. After instantly falling in love with the smiles and enthusiasm of the Children we were lucky enough to tour the facility and become immersed in daily life, enjoying games with the children and sitting down to a dinner of traditional Dahl Baht. It was goodbye for now as the group headed over to the airport to head out to the tourist city of Pokhara.
We had a lazy day in Pokhara to allow us to get ourselves organised for our 4 day trek in the Annapurna ranges. We took the opportunity for a warm up stroll up to the World Peace Pagoda that overlooks the beautiful lake and greater area of Pokhara, set amongst the backdrop of the Annapurna Himalayan Ranges. Then it was an early morning Mini bus ride out to the start point for out trek. It was an experience hard to summarise in a few words. Trekking through 8 inches of fresh snow on our second day, sharing stories in the evenings around the communal fire, getting up close to 8000+m mountains – this part of the trip along was worth the 13 hours of flying from Brisbane.
After spending a day recovering in Pokhara with massages and drinks by the lake it was off to Royal Chitwan National Park. Home to Elephants, Rhino’s, Tigers and more the National Park is home to an Elephant Breeding Centre where we were afforded the unique opportunity to get up close and personal to baby elephants, and later the chance to ride and Elephant through the Jungle in the hope to spot a Rhino. We came away unsuccessful on this occasion but headed back to check out the sunsets from our Hotel – another highlight of this beautiful part of Nepal
Getting towards the end of the trip we were able to head back to Godawari to spend a few more days with the Children. They had great English skills for non traditional speakers and didn’t hesitate to drag us into whatever the hottest game of the moment was. The opportunity to make and share traditional Nepali Momo’s with the kids was another highlight. Our final farewell for the kids was a day in the local botanic gardens. After enjoying lunch and more games and laughter we presented the centre with a cheque to the value of over $10,000 – the funds that the tour was able to raise.
For anyone thinking of venturing off to this part of the world this is an excellent way to do it. The tour is cheap, we work closely with a local tourism industry contact and you get the full Nepali experience, not the one that your English Speaking guide can give you. For more information please contact the club or check out the CAI website –http://www.childrensaidinternational.org/
The final Sunday in March saw the Rotaract Club of South Brisbane manning the BBQ at Bunnings Cannon Hill. It was the weekend before Easter and everyone appeared to be getting prepared for their Easter DIY missions as the crew on the morning shift didn’t get a chance to come up for air until about 1pm when the pace finally slowed. At times the crowd queued 4 and 5 people deep and after BBQing our way through about 60 kg’s of sausages we were able to come away with a profit of around $1450. Funds raised will be going to the Rotary District 9630 drought appeal – supporting farmers and their communities in drought ravaged parts of Western QLD. Good Job team
The first Saturday in November saw our Rotaractors up bright and early before we all arrived at a strange warehouse in the sleepy streets of Yeronga. On our way through the front door we passed a sign which read “Through these doors walk some of the world’s greatest volunteers” and then another showing a geographical representation of where the little boxes were to be shipped to Children in need. The warm and fuzzy feeling had started to flow through us all and we got stuck in without a moment’s hesitation. We were off course helping out Samaritans Purse with their annual mission to pack shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. The Brisbane warehouse processes over 50,000 each year and the organisation re-quires assistance from volunteer’s to check the contents of each box before they are containerised and shipped off to around 6 countries in the Pa-cific Islands and South East Asia. These boxes are filled with toys, stationary and hygiene items and are often the only Christmas gifts received by the children who they are distributed to.
It was a great morning being able to get hands on with this project in our local area. Afterwards we adjourned to one of our members houses for a swim and a BBQ. It was definitely a great start to a weekend – for more info or to volunteer
The month of October was kind enough to give us five Thursdays – a good excuse for a social night. A Blood Drive had been on the cards for a few months and this was a great opportunity for those happy to donate to get together as a group before we met for dinner. Truth be told from 6 willing donors, only 3 were able to successfully complete a donation. The remainder were unable to donate due to a number of reasons – those questionnaires are getting stricter year on year but hey, our hearts were in the right place.
After donations were completed we continued to Verve Restaurant where the remainder of the group joined us for a fantastic dinner of Pizzas, Pastas and other assorted Italian fare. While a few of us were keen to kick on afterwards, it was a school night so we called it with a busy Rotaract weekend ahead with Logan Rotract’s Smart Pups Dinner, Operation Christmas Child and our Dinner with a Difference in the days following. Looking forward to our District Christmas Party Camping Weekend in a few weeks’ time.
It was the combined effect of having a couple of wonderful contacts at the Rotary Clubs of Booval and Ipswich through RYLA, and seeing how much fun our friends from Rotaract South West Brisbane had at the Gympie Country Music Festival that drew us to put up our hand to help out at the Rotary Club of Booval’s 2nd Annual Country Music Festival.
Six of our members made the trip out to Swifts Sports Fields at Yamanto for the event. While none of our members claimed to be huge fans of the genre of country music the atmosphere made it easy to settle into the groove for the afternoon. The Rotarians of Booval and Ipswich had everything under control when we arrived so we were happy take the opportunity to catch up with District Governor Phillip and Marlene while ensuring that the bar had drinks for the afternoon at an appropriate temperature.
Soon enough we were commandeered into looking after the Children’s Farm Race where I think the adults had more fun than the kids. Following that the group moved onto the positions of chief adjudicator, administrator and measuring team in the
Gumboot Throwing Competition where 2 of our members Billy Nabil and Mark Hams could only find it in them to place 2nd and 3rd consecutively – surely a reason to return next year to better these results. The standout of the day was Anthony Liu’s raffle ticket selling where after a solo 5 hours shift he was able to raise over $300. Great job Anthony and we look forward to coming back next year. A big thank you to Phil Gray from the Rotary Club of Booval for the Invitation
Sunday the 17th of August saw South Brisbane Rotaractors heading to Carindale to assist with the 10th Annual Brisbane Billycart Championships. It was an early start on a damp day but the weather quickly fined up and an enjoyable day was had by all.
Rotaractors helped out on the day with marshaling, handing out numbers to race winners, lining up hay bales, helping the little kids get themselves and their carts back up the hill and encouraging the racers from the sidelines!
Some highlights from the day include the mascot race and the 4 to 6 years traditional cart race (with some spectacular crashes into the hay!). Prizes were awarded on the day for Fastest Billycart, Winners of Age Categories, Most Imaginative Design, Best Stack and Best Dressed Team.
Our annual trivia night is coming up on the 10th of May. Please see below flyer for more details. Come along for a fun night out and help support two worthy causes – Childrens Aid International and the Kokoda Challenge! Make sure you RSVP ASAP as places are filling fast!
A big thank you to Rachel McLean from McLean Social for her fantastic presentation – Positioning Your Personal Brand with Social Media – delivered at Rotaract South Brisbane’s meeting on Thursday 10th April. Everyone learnt a lot about how to use social media to help them pursue their career goals. We also learnt what not to put on social media and many more great tips.
This meeting was particularly special as we had attendees from Rotary South Brisbane and the Satellite Goodwill Rotary Club. We were so pleased to have so many attendees from all clubs and look forward to more cross-club fellowship.
From 29 December 2013 to 19 January 2014, 9 young adults embarked on the trip of a lifetime to Nepal. The trip was sponsored by the Rotaract Club of South Brisbane and run in conjunction with Queensland charity, Children’s Aid International. Through the generous support of the community, we fundraised approximately $7,500 for CWC and 150kg of donations.
We spent 7 days at a children’s home on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Children’s Welfare Centre (CWC). CWC is home to 35 Children between the ages of 5 and 16. We took the children to a hindi action movie, Dhoom 3 one day which was good fun! We also face painted and ran games at a picnic in the botanic gardens another day. The children at CWC are extremely friendly, happy and welcomed us into their family with open arms! It was very humbling and hard to say goodbye.
Not only did we spend time at CWC but we also saw Buddhist and Hindu sites in Kathmandu, flew alongside Mt Everest, trekked through the Annapurna ranges and rode elephants in Chitwan National Park. It has been an experience that has touched us all and has left us wanting more! Check out our blog for full details of the trip: http://cwcnepal2014.blogspot.com.au/