The Chair for the day was John Lehner. Reny Flight from RC Noble Park was welcomed as a visitor as was guest speaker Trudy Poole from RC Frankston. Trudy Brought along 2 young Cambodians, Siengly and Sukoneang, to share their experiences with us.
The international toast this week was to the RC of Angkor (Seim Riep) and President Anna Hsieh. Angkor is in the kingdom of Cambodia and Rotary. District 3350. The Club was chartered on 29 June 2007 and currently has 20 members. Cambodia has had a very chequered history from 1st century AD when it was under the kingdom of Funan in the Khmer Empire from the 9th century to the early 15th century. France then colonised it from the mid 19th century. Cambodia gained independence from France in 1953. This was followed by the Khmer Rouge regime from 1975 to 78, then Vietnamese occupation from 78 to 92. The monarchy was restored in 1998. The RC Angkor conducts its meeting on line on Thursdays at 8:30pm
President Geoff then reminded members of the DG’s visit next week, Oct 16. Alan K as Market Chair then updated members on the recent meeting with Glen Eira Council staff to discuss market issues. Council will support the sale of food such as jams and sauces, but not coffee or food trucks. Advertising the market on site will be permitted but not with any ads for other businesses. Council will consider options for enclosure of the market using sliding gates or bollards and may share the costs of them. Bentleigh Festival will be held on November 24th and Council will consider extending the hours of the market to say 3pm on that day.The Market Committee are exploring options for storage when the shed becomes unavailable with the sale of the shop.
Trudy Poole then introduced the Green Gecko Project which she has been involved with for 14 years. The project identifies Cambodian youth with opportunities to improve their lives. The project was started by an Australian tourist named Tania who saw Children begging for money from tourists to help feed their families. Green Gecko provided these children with accommodation, food and education. It is a holistic approach nwhich includes love, protection, education and wellness programs for mind and body. These young people then attend cultural and vocational training in the afternoons..
The two young Cambodians then shared their personal experiences. Siengly was an orphan. He was taken in to the Green Gecko project and has now completed year 10 and has become a qualified electrician and gives back to Green Gecko by helping with other young Cambodians. Sokuneang also shared her experiences prior to being taken in to the project. She is now in 2nd year dentistry and on a 7 year scholarship to complete her degree. Green Gecko is funded through donations. The participants also identify and work in other fund raising activities such as gardening and house removals. Trudy is the Project Manager and helps with fundraising and visits the project in Cambodia four times a year to oversee matters. Thank you Trudy for speaking about this heart warming project. Notes by Margaret.