Umoja Orphanage Kenya





Cathy Booth & Patrick Kea

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.

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    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


    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. Rotary Jaipur Limb Project

  • Box Hill Miniature Rail Free Family Fun Day
    Box Hill Miniature Rail Free Family Fun Day

    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