Our Sister Club - RC Dau

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A Sister Club in the Philippines

 

The Rotary Club of Port Pirie formed a sister club association with the Rotary Club of Dau, District 3790, following the establishment of a sewing machine training centre. This came about following the volcanic explosion of Mt Pinatubo in 1991 and the project benefited from an RI Foundations Matching Grant (No 4726).

 

Several members of the RC of Pt Pirie were frequent visitors to the Philippines and witnessed first hand the devastation resulting from Mt Pinatubo. Although there were minimal casualties from the explosion due to mass evacuations, the economics of the area was wiped out overnight leaving hundreds of thousands without an income. Even today there are areas of the countryside that is devoid of any vegetation and now one of the largest industries in the area, the manufacture of “besser” type bricks, involves the use of the lahar or volcanic ash.

 

Statistics are not always easy to gather but our best advice suggests that in the vicinity of 4,000 have undertaken sewing instructions in this project and in a country where no welfare system works this means “survival” to many families. Since that project the RC of Pt Pirie has continued to financially support the RC of Dau on other initiatives. Our most recent endeavor resulted for a visit to the Philippines in May/June of this year. At one school we discovered students sitting on the floor because there were not enough desks. For approximately AUS$1,600 we were able to have 40 desks and 80 chairs manufactured and these have been recently presented to the school

 

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Every one of these is proudly embossed with the names of the RC of Dau and the RC of Port Pirie.

 

The selection of a Philippines sister club came about because some of our members at the time identified a need and acted on it. One of the major benefits that our club sees in this ongoing association is our ability to be able to visit, see how current projects are progressing and, with the assistance of the members of the RC of Dau, identify new projects to put to our club.

 

In Angeles City there are 15 Rotary Clubs. Wherever you go the RI Insignia has a high profile. The Four Way Test is also posted in many places of high visibility. Being identified as a Rotarian in this city is an almost humbling experience. Because the work and effort that is being put into this area by many Clubs’ is not without recognition. The following photo is of one of the Philippines indigenous people, the Aeta. The village we visited was the Haduan village in the mountains behind the Clark Air Base. This village had been recipients of the Heather Kinross Low Cost Shelter Project in 1997/98 and some eighty shelters were provided. The elderly man in the photo is carrying approximately 5 banana trees but when he was told that we were Rotarians he stopped and saluted us. If ever you want to be humbled, experience something like this….

 

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Unfortunately we didn’t find out until just before our departure but one of the homes in this village was lost in a mudslide the day after our visit.

 

Being a sister club to a group such as the RC of Dau is an incredibly rewarding experience. Visiting these people and experiencing their hospitality firsthand makes one appreciate the value and worth of Rotary. The Rotary Club of Pt Pirie is proud of this association but we appreciate that what we do is but a drop in the ocean when put into perspective. Do we feel good about it; sure, but hopefully it simply makes us even more determined to “Lend a Hand”. In 2005/06 our club will be celebrating 50 years and we will be engaged in a special project with our Sister Club to recognize this milestone.

 

If any Clubs are interested in the formation of a sister club in the Philippines we would be more than happy to assist in any way possible.

 

Prepared by R. Ward, President Elect, RC of Port Pirie

Member of the 2004 visiting team

December 13, 2004