Tony G was our thoughtful and elegant chair person, stepping in for John L. Ron gave us Invocation and Zilla presented the Loyal Royal Toast. There were apologies from Charles A, Helen, Liz, Peter and Linda O’B, Tony R, Terry and our Sergeant Tim. Our guests were Gary, Karin’s Partner, Mark Shapiro and our Guest Speaker, Mike Zervos.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY Tony R and Tim M. May your year ahead be filled with joy, good health prosperity and fun. Grant was invited to present the toast to an overseas club. Grant always puts much thought and effort in his research each week. This week he chose to take us to Tonga. Tonga is a Polynesian country and archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean. The nearest territories are Fiji, Wallis and Fortuna islands, Western Samoa, American Samoa and Niue. Tonga consists of 169 islands, of which only 36 are inhabited. It stretches across 180 km in a north-south line. The total land area is about 750 square km scattered over 700,000 square km. the population is 100,000 of which 70% live on the main island of Tongatapu. Humans reached and inhabited Tong around 1500-1000BC. The Dutch vessel Eendracht made a short visit to trade. Captain Cook visited in 1773, 1774 and 1777. In 1781 the Spanish explorer Francisco Mourelle de la Rua arrived. A warrior named Taufa’ahau united Tonga into a kingdom. On the 4th November 1875 he declared Tonga a constitutional monarchy. On the 18th May 1900Tonga became a protected state under a treaty of Friendship with Britain. The Treaty of Friendship and Tonga’s protection status ended in 1970.Tongatapu is the main island of Tonga. The Capital and the seat of its monarchy is Nuku’alofa with a population of 72,000. The area is 260squqre km and the maximum height of this land is 65m. Nuku’alofa became the capital in 1775. Captain Cook arrived 10th June 1777. Grant asked us to be upstanding to toast President Amanaki Fakakovikaetau and the members of the Rotary Club of Nuku’alofa. There are 12 members who are celebration their 40th Anniversary of the Club’s Charter. Their main project together with their partners is to distribute Rotary Emergency Kits. The club meets at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, Tuesday at 12.30 pm. Thank you Grant for once again giving us insight of yet another club from an unusual country.
Pres. Ian gave Terry Kane credit for the organizing of the “Carnival” which gave him and his partner Helen and Peter and Linda a wonderful evening. Terry organized the “Rio Carnival Ball” in aid of the Share Me a Dream Australia organization which is a group that supports people of the Philippines. He also advised us that we will hear from Connect Health which is an initiative for Youth Suicide. Pres Ian also advised us that there are 2 motions for us as a club to consider. One is through “Community” headed by Jo regarding Calvary Healthcare (Bethlehem Hospital) and the second is through International asking us to approve a donation towards further building for Balibo in Timor-Leste. He also reminded us that our evening meeting to listen to Rob Hudson is on 1st May at Cilantro. He further added the importance of booking. We should advise Linda O’Brien of our intention of attending as RC Port Melbourne has already booked half of the seating.
Our Guest Speaker Mike Zervos is the CEO of Courage to Care which is an organization based in Australia founded by the Jewish service, B’nai Brith. Mike began his presentation to us by firstly acknowledging the traditional owners of the land. He continued by asking us questions such as how many Not-For-Profit charities are in Australia. The answer to this was 56,773 with approximately 3 million volunteers. The answer to the question of how many different languages are spoken was 260 and with 130 different faiths stressed how diverse our society has become. He told us that B’nai Brith and Courage to Care is becoming global. The Department of Education is a support and 10-15% funding comes from that department. The purpose is to raising awareness of Dangers of Racism and Discrimination. And the initiative is to prove that ordinary people can stand up against injustice and make a real difference to how young people view asylum seekers and other migrants. The purpose statement has 4 important points. 1) Creating Awareness of the dangers of Discrimination, racism, and prejudice. 2) Education to challenge attitudes and behaviors. 3) Demonstrating that every individual can make a difference. 4) Transforming “BYSTANDER” behavior to “UPSTANDER”. The message of Bystander and Upstander was the most vivid message we took away from this talk. We learnt that speakers go to schools and talk to middle year high school students showing film, giving history lessons and have survivors of discrimination such as the worst events such as the Holocaust with stories of the courage of people who went out of their way to save and hide victims. The programs give students an opportunity to interact and have broader conversation and also to recognize “local heroes” and be inspired by extraordinary acts of ordinary people who intervened to save others This program empowers participants to be an Upstander in the face of injustice. A Bystander is a person who looks away and is unwilling to act. Sadly, racist and bullying acts are not uncommon and Courage to Care explores these acts in a contemporary society. So are we/you a Bystander or an Upstander? Mike gave us much food for thought and a huge message to take with us and for those of us who have been in a situation where help or intervention would have been helpful in a difficult and hurtful situation lessons of a positive nature can be learnt. Thank you Mike for coming to us with your clarity of mind and for your time. We appreciated this so much. In these times it is good to know that a Not-for-Profit such as Courage to Care exits.
Jo asked us to wish her luck in her ride for MS on Sunday 31st March. It is an amazing cause and she needs all the help she can get to be able help the MS foundation to continue the research for this insidious disease. Pres. Ian closed the meeting reminding us to BE THE INSPIRATION
ZILLA (Bulletin Reporter)