Vaccinations have begun. To read more click here for our September 2021 newsletter.
In November 2020, Rotaractors from The Auckland City Club, championed an international event that resulted in participation from more than 20 countries and raised NZ$11,000 – within six weeks!
Internationally Rotaractors are connected through the World of Rotaract. Utilising this platform Auckland Rotaractors raised awareness of, and crowd funded for, Rotary Give Every Child A Future. They participated in the Auckland marathon and encouraged Rotaractors from around the world to #MoveforGECAF.
The event was so successful that they are running it again this year. In honour of the 100 years of Rotary in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific in 2021, the campaign organisers created a 100-day challenge around wellbeing. From daily affirmation to squats, you name it they’ve done it. Regardless of the pandemic, these Rotaractors have found a way to make it work. The 18th September 2021 will mark the 100th day and each country/club involved are planning to make the last day one to remember. From quiz nights to colour fun runs, these are all exciting events that we look forward to seeing. They are calling it the International Move for GECAF Day.
It is heart-warming to witness clubs from the opposite side of the globe campaigning for small island countries that some of them have never even heard off. The willingness these clubs have shown has been the driving force of this movement. The Move for GECAF campaign has sparked an international collaboration to raise awareness of what other Rotaract clubs are working on and how they can gain support from afar. Recently, the Multi-district Information Organisations (MDIOs) of Rotaract Mediterranean, Rotaract Europe and Rotaract Oceania hosted the inaugural Climate Change discussion with more planned.
Rotaract Oceania is humbled and grateful for the enormous support they’ve received over the months from international clubs, and is excited to see this newly-paved way of working together for projects close to their hearts. Countries from American Samoa to Bosnia, Canada to Denmark, Italy to Jamacia, New Zealand to Uganda and Brazil to The Netherlands have come together to be a part of this initiative.
Rotaract Oceania are hosting Rotary Give Every Child a Future at a global online event on the 12th September 2021 with Michelle Tanner. Michelle is the Marketing Chair for Rotary Give Every Child a Future and has worked in the vaccine/child health space for over 20 years. She will explain the history of vaccination programs that Rotary has been part of over the years and share her Rotary experiences, including two visits to Pakistan. The event will also feature updates on the exciting events being planned around the world in support of RGECAF and a panel of Rotary and Rotaract Collaborations.
The event is open to everyone and we would love to see you there. Please register at: http://bit.ly/GECAF_MT.
By now, we all know the Rotary Give every Child A Future (RGECAF) project summary. ‘Three vaccines administered to 100,000 children in nine countries over three years. But, what exactly are the project vaccines designed to protect against?
The success of vaccines to prevent disease cannot be over-stated. A report published in January this year in The Lancet, estimates that 37 million lives have been saved by vaccines, since 2000. Rotary International’s End Polio Now project is a shining example of the power of vaccines. Not only can lives be saved but, for many diseases, the ultimate goal of disease eradication is possible.
The RGECAF project vaccines are relatively new and may be unfamiliar to many of us.
To read the full article published in Rotary Down Under April 2021 please click here
The inaugural Rotary Aussie Peace Walk was held in Canberra on 27-28 March 2021 amid COVID restrictions. The idea was to create an event that actively focused on peace, while creating opportunities for Rotarians to connect with the community. The main targets were youth and young families, with the idea of attracting younger members to Rotary and promoting its youth projects.
The event was initiated and directed by Chris Edwards (RC Hall District 9705), who said he didn’t want it to be a project that was owned or controlled by one Rotary club, because this could easily restrict engagement from other clubs. So, he formed an organising team that consisted of members from the Rotary clubs of Hall, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Canberra Burley Griffin, along with a person from a Canberra walking club experienced in organising similar walking events.
The five key objectives of the weekend were to:
- Celebrate the Centenary of Rotary
- Connect with the community
- Engage a younger audience with Rotary
- Promote Rotary youth projects
- Support the Rotary Give Every Child a Future vaccination initiative
The weekend kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Canberra World Peace Bell, attended by Governor General David Hurley AC DSC, a representative of the New Zealand High Commission and Past Rotary International President Ian Riseley representing Rotary.
After an indigenous smoking ceremony and Māori haka, the party ceremoniously rang the bell six times to signify the opening of the first Rotary Aussie Peace Walk weekend.
This was followed by a Centenary Peace Dinner and indigenous art auction at the National Museum of Australia with guest speaker Dr Brendan Nelson AO, President of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, former Minister of Defence and past Director of the Australian War Memorial.
The dinner was attended by representatives from each of the nine island nations that are beneficiaries of the Rotary Give Every Child a Future project. The attendance of the Pacific Islanders made for a very entertaining evening of music and dance.
The organising team commissioned a local indigenous artist to produce a commemorative painting for auction, at the dinner. NZ-based musician Alex Coffey was also commissioned to write a theme song for the Aussie Peace Walk that was launched on the night.
On Saturday morning, the marathon walk started at 7am, the first of seven walking events. There were an additional three walks on both Saturday: 7km, 12km and 21km, plus three walks on Sunday: 7km, 12km and 24km. To receive a Rotary Centenary Aussie Peace Walk medal, participants were required to complete one walk each day.
The Peace Walk attracted 473 entrants with more than half walking on both days. Half of the entrants were under 60 years of age, with the youngest only nine years old. Over the weekend, 111 volunteers from 11 Rotary, two Rotaract, one Interact and a Zonta club provided volunteer support.
Post-event surveys were conducted with both volunteers and participants. The overwhelming majority of responses were very positive, indicating that they would be back next year with friends.
Almost $25,000 was raised for Rotary Give Every Child a Future.
In addition, five new members, to date, have been inducted into three Rotary clubs, the oldest being just 54. All as a direct result of the walk.
The organising team have begun the planning process for the next Rotary Aussie Peace Walk to be held in Canberra on 26-27 March 2022. Chris Edwards anticipates that next year will be a far more successful event, given that the first one this year was a big learning process, and he hopes there won’t be as many COVID-19 hoops to jump through!
Many thanks and congratulations to Chris Edwards and his team for a wonderful event, and an extremely generous contribution to Rotary Give Every Child a Future.
Alan White joined the Rotary club of Greenmeadows in the Hawkes Bay (District 9930) just before New Zealand’s COVID lockdown in early 2019. Months later he was cycling the length of New Zealand to raise funds for Rotary Give Every Child A Future (RGECAF) and increase awareness of the Rotary Australasia Centenary.
RGECAF: Alan how long have you been cycling?
Alan: I have always been a runner but the idea of cycling began in 2005 and a conversation at a conference dinner with a guy who had cycled across America. That appealed to me but it was not until early 2009 that I actually started cycling. My partner Liz and I cycled the Otago Rail Trail and we loved it! Liz then suggested we train for the November Taupo Cycle Challenge (160km round Lake Taupo). Multiple international cycle challenges followed.
RGECAF: And cycling for a Rotary project. How did that begin?
Alan: I finally did the Trans-Am in November 2019. Now retired, I was thinking how I could to give back to the community. I met a local Rotarian who suggested Rotary, and Liz, who had been a Rotarian overseas in the past, thought it would be a good fit for me. I joined the RC Greenmeadows in February 2020 but only managed a few meetings before the COVID lockdown. I emerged with cabin-fever and ready for another big bike-ride. My previous ‘giving’ had always been to New Zealand charities but our District Governor Grant Spackman was promoting RGECAF, his chosen project for the year, at his club visit. This inspired me to think ‘like a Rotarian’ and about the needs beyond our borders. I approached our club executives to suggest a bike ride fund-raiser and they responded very enthusiastically. I wanted to include the Hawkes Bay Cancer Society as a co-recipient of funds as this is a charity close to my heart after losing my wife Jan to cancer in 2004. The bike ride ticked multiple boxes for me; raising awareness of the Rotary Australasia Centenary and supporting local and international needs. In addition, RGECAF is a vaccination project. The importance of vaccines to save lives is more relevant today than ever before.
RGECAF: 3000km over 44 days. How was it and how did it feel to finish?
Alan: I had never cycled for charity before which added to the responsibility of completing the challenge. So, relief. Relief and satisfaction. I cycled for 35 of the 44 days with a prolonged stop in Hamilton for bike repairs, and two rest days. The ride was solo and daily distances varied with the terrain, but I averaged 88km/day.
RGECAF: An amazing achievement, especially for someone in their 70’s. On behalf of the children in the Pacific, and Rotary Give Every Child A Future, Thank You Alan.
I am part of a team of Rotarians that came together nearly four years ago to initiate a project to recognize and celebrate the Centenary in Australia and New Zealand in 2021. It started as a group from the original four clubs in this part of the world – Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, and Wellington. Since then, many other clubs and districts have participated and are providing support. We called the project Give Every Child A Future because importantly, it will reduce child mortality and ease the burden of cervical cancer, thus giving every child a better future.