Wendouree Breakfast returnsto Ambon

Members of the Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast, Vic, have been visiting Ambon, Indonesia, to provide donations and hands-on assistance since 2013. Towards the end of 2023, a team of 10 club members returned to the island for the first time since COVID, completing a number of humanitarian projects over 10 days.

The team was joined by four members of the Rotary Club of Kardinia, Vic, and three family members to transport almost 500 kilograms of goods to be donated to the Ambonese people.

While there they undertook multiple projects, including painting three dormitories and constructing vegetable garden beds at Caleb House, an orphanage that supports 22 young people.

They also purchased new mattresses, pillows, sheets, a wardrobe and some study desks and chairs, and donated bags of clothing, thongs, blankets, toys and sporting equipment for the children to enjoy. Simple items that bring so much joy to children and assist them in learning and creating a better future. The team then visited primary schools #2 and #4 in the village of Hatiwe. The Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast supports both schools by funding a milk program. For some children this is their only source of calcium.

PICTURED: Members of the Rotary Clubs of Wendouree Breakfast and Kardinia with kids from the Kabarezsy Soccer Club.

“During our visits we were entertained by students playing ukeleles and dancing and we donated schoolbooks in both Indonesian and English languages, as well as some new ukeleles, recorders and percussion instruments,” said Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast President Geoffrey James.

“We also visited Kabaressy Soccer Club, located in the south of the island, where we donated 55 pairs of soccer boots, shin pads, uniforms, training materials and toys for the inclusive inter-faith club that includes young men and women of both Christian and Muslim faiths.

“Seeing the joy on the faces of the children when receiving new boots and playing with them on the field was heart-warming.”

The final stop on the itinerary was Bahkti Rahayu Hospital in Ambon City, a 50-bed local hospital that receives no government funding for new equipment and basic supplies. Through contacts in Ballarat and Geelong, the clubs were able to donate a portable blood pressure machine, burn kits, wound care dressings, surgical and intubation equipment, bandages, tapes, and blankets, cot quilts (hand-made by a club member) and knitted teddies for the maternity ward.

PICTURED: Rotarians Rob and Keith painting at Caleb House.

“The staff were overwhelmed with the donations and the patients we met were grateful to be cared for,” said Geoffrey, who emphasised that these trips and experiences are made possible through collaboration between their club and contacts in Ambon.

“We work with local people to facilitate the visits, translate for us, and help us find out what the greatest needs are for the organisations we support.

“We could not achieve any of this without our fundraising efforts locally. We fundraise for a number of local and international projects through The Bridge Market on the first Saturday of every month, selling our Ballarat Gourmet Goodies Hampers in time for Christmas, providing volunteer people power to the Central Highlands Football League for their finals, Trivia Nights and many a barbecue around the town.” Geoffrey said that as a healthcare professional the trip was extremely rewarding.

“Being able to share some of the basic tools that we take for granted and knowing the impact this will have for the staff and patients at the local hospital was challenging and moving.

“Visiting the schools and the orphanage we sponsor and working and playing with the children and witnessing how happy they are with the smallest of gifts made me want to do more to support them. This is why I joined Rotary.”

MAIN PICTURE: Rotary Club of Wendouree Breakfast President Geoffrey James presenting School #2 Principal and students with musical equipment.