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.
- 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
- Richard Holdsworth
Tue 14th Nov
Our speaker on Tuesday 14th November, Richard Holdsworth was evacuated from south London at the start of the Second World War along with his mother and older sister. His father sent them off to auntie in the Berkshire countryside – our London house was bombed and father managed to wrangle a transfer from his bank in the City of London and became assistant manager in the local village branch. They stayed on in the country – Richard first went to village school and then Wallingford Grammar. Never much of an academic, his father went to see the Principal as he reached 16 and asked of his future and on being told he was something of a dreamer, his Dad came home and announced, “You’ve always wanted to work on a farm, Son, well you start on Monday…” After a year of practical experience, he went to Agricultural College and then worked on the best stud Beef Shorthorn herd in the country – two years later and at the stud sales in Perth, Scotland, a representative from Dalgety and Co asked him if he would consider taking a dozen stud cattle and horses to Australia on the deck of a cargo ship. “The downside – a one-way ticket. Find your own way home…” He sailed within three weeks and broke his mum’s heart! He had the cattle in perfect condition after the 12,000-mile voyage and was offered several positions with stud herds in Australia and accepted the position as Stud Herdsmen with an up-and-coming herd in South Australia and brought out the Supreme and Reserve Champion at the 1960 Royal Adelaide show the following year – sweeping the board like that had never been done before. The owner dispensed with his services after the show – but a wonderful man by the name of Ron Stewart, Editor, took him on as staff writer with the Adelaide Stock & Station Journal. He covered all manner of farming subjects including cattle and sheep sales in the Outback. After four years he was recruited by The Weekly Times in Melbourne where he met Heather, they married and sailed to the UK on a year long honeymoon – but instead of returning to Australia they started a Volkswagen camper manufacturing business which became one of the largest in Europe. That business now sold, they returned to Australia three years ago and are enjoying life Down Under once again! His book, Six Spoons of Sugar, sees war through the eyes of a young lad – blackouts, rationing, being bombed on a shopping trip to the local market town with his mum and later, the American 101st Airborne arriving in their village and transforming life. Now he lives a peaceful – if busy – life as a member of several writing groups and he pens articles for travel magazines here and in the UK and is an Australian correspondent for a couple of UK Porsche magazines: He raced a Porsche when he lived in South Australia in the 1960’s. He has also written the tale of his first eight years in Australia – In The Hot Seat and a book of short stories.
- Umoja Orphanage Kenya
Wed 25th Oct
The founder of the Umoja Orphanage in Kenya, Cathy Booth, and Kenyan Project Manager, Patrick Kea, spoke of the immense challenges involved in creating the orphanage. When Cathy Booth, school teacher and mother, saw the difference that intervention and a safe environment can make to orphaned children she was compelled to begin her own non-profit organisation. Her empathy for children, outstanding work ethic, and unwavering passion to help those who are less fortunate drives her team to achieve the extraordinary. Patrick Kea is a proud Kenyan who witnesses and lives every day the struggles of his culture. His advice and local knowledge have been immeasurable, and his honesty and hard work are an asset to the Umoja Project. Patrick speaks 4 languages: English, Swahili-his tribal language-and German. Finding a better safari driver in Kenya would indeed be a very difficult. Patrick’s knowledge of his country and his firm belief in the outcomes of the Umoja Orphanage Kenya project are to be admired. Read more