GOMA ARTIFICIAL LIMB PROJECT
The Rotary Club of Balwyn’s Board has confirmed the Club’s funding contribution for the Jaipur Limb project in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo).
Like so many developing countries there are many people in DR Congo who suffer because of amputated or deformed limbs. The causes of this misery are many, but include birth defects, communicable diseases such as leprosy and polio, non-communicable diseases such as vascular disorders and diabetes, snake bites, traumatic injuries, natural disasters and armed conflict. With severe limitations as to what they can do, people disabled in this way become a burden to families, who already have very meagre resources, and are often condemned to spend their lives begging on the streets.
The Goma Jaipur Limb project arose from a visit to the Club in 2014 by Tammy Shepherd. Tammy is a local physiotherapist who, for some years, has spent a couple of weeks a year, at her own cost, as a volunteer at the Heal Africa hospital in Goma. She was responsible for setting up a physiotherapy unit there and was keen to also set up a prosthetics unit, with a small workshop that could modify and fit artificial legs which are not available at affordable cost in DR Congo.
Contact was made with Rotary Jaipur Limb (RJL), a UK based Rotary organisation now a charity. RJL is very experienced in this work using the Jaipur Limb—a basic, but robust and medically sound, prosthesis, fabricated from durable, high-quality plastic costing something like $50 each.
Above-knee and below-knee versions are available. The prostheses are manufactured in bulk at locations in India and Uganda, but a local workshop is needed to modify them to suit each individual patient, fit them to the patient and further modify and adjust as needed. Local nurses will undergo a ten-week training course to enable them to do this work.
The project has progressed slowly and the Goma Project Committee has devoted considerable effort over three years. Project funding is complex; the partners include Rotary Club of Balwyn, Rotary Club of Camberwell, Rotary Jaipur Limb, UK, Inner Wheel District 11, UK and Rotary Club of Goma-Nyiragongo, DR Congo. Efforts to secure funding via Global and District grants has been challenging but the committee is still hopeful of some success.
Implementation of the project will depend on security in the region and logistical considerations.
The Committee are to be congratulated for the extraordinary effort in progressing this project and addressing the complex legal and logistical hurdles.
- Sustainable Communities Cambodia-Fish Farm
Fri 15th Jun
The Rotary Club of Balwyn provided funds to de-silt an ancient water storage in the Varin area of Cambodia, to allow stocking with fish, thus making it a commercial sustainable project. The proposed arrangements were discussed with community leaders in a meeting that lasted over two hours. They understood and agreed with the concept, but were concerned that theft of fish by locals was likely. They proposed a regime of night-time security patrols to overcome this problem. The proceeds from the sale of fish will be used to both pay down the community loan and be invested in the community for the benefit of the community.
- EAST TIMOR ROTARY LIAISON OFFICE
Wed 20th Jun
The Rotary Club of Balwyn has been involved in funding the East Timor Rotary Liaison office since 2003. Daryl Mills was the officer for 12 years. We recommended to Daryl that he needed to train some Locals to run the office for when he finished as the officer. Judite Martins and Mario de Jesus filled that role and have done a fantastic job for the past 18 months running the office. All Rotary (and other non-Rotary activities) Clubs involved with projects in Timor Leste (TL) utilise the Liaison Office (LO) to coordinate their activities. Containers & Shipments: The LO is responsible for accepting and then distributing the contents of containers that are sent to Timor Leste from Australia. In 2017 DIK in Melbourne sent 5 x 40 foot containers. ROMAC: This is a rotary project where sick children are sent to Australia for life saving surgery that could not be done in their country. The LO is responsible for coordinating all the ROMAC cases that go from TL to Australian and New Zealand hospitals. Humanitarian Projects: The LO does the local organisation for overseas groups (Rotary and non-Rotary) who undertake projects in TL. For example:
- Prof Jeremy Oats training for midwives at Health Centres in TL
- The Timor Leste Dental Program run by Dr Blanch Tsetong
- Being responsible for the Remexio Maternity Ambulance
- Student Sponsorship: The LO office engage in Fund raising to provide scholarships to enable financially disadvantaged students to continue their education
- Box Hill Miniature Rail Free Family Fun Day
Tue 28th Nov
Sunday 26 November saw the annual free Family Fun Day for children with a disability and their families / carers held at the Box Hill Miniature Railway. Sponsored by Interchange Outer East and Rotary Balwyn, the day brought cheer to the many local children who suffer more than most. Train rides, Father Christmas, an animal farm, jumping castle, sausage sizzle, magician, face painting, a raffle, drinks, icy poles, show bags, neck massages, a huge fire engine and a rock climb (courtesy of 1st Balwyn Scouts) were available to all, for free. Attendance was good, although the threat of rain may well have prevented some families from attending. The call for help from Rotarians saw many attend for the whole day, or part of the day. Thanks goes to: Bob Batrouney, John Brock, Stephen Dowling, Chris Finley, Fred Gibbs, David Hattam, David Hobson, Lesley Hoy, David Jones, Lindsay Jones, Garry Le Get, Ken McQualter, Tony O'Brien, Kevin Walsh, Anne Ballard, Denise Gibbs, Manju Mohandoss, Julie Goodwin, Bill Goodwin, David McFadyen and Clarke Ballard. Go to the website to view the next public run day. Box Hill Mini Rail