Posted by Karin Soster on Apr 27, 2022
Faye Weeks was our chairperson at today’s club meeting at Cilantro.  Sue Loeliger was invited to perform Invocation, and Paul Ferguson to perform the Rotary Royal Toast.  Faye welcomed our visitors – Anna Mouradian, a former Rotary member of Balwyn North Rotary Club and who returned to Australia recently after two years in Armenia, Rohan Laging -  Director of Sandringham Hospital Emergency Department, Emma Saddington - Nurse Unit Manager in the Emergency Department, and guest speaker Miriam Issa.   Glenda Stahel and Tony Ryan joined the meeting via Zoom.
President Report – President Helen    Helen reports we received two thank you letters:   R.C. Whittlesea thanked our club for the money spinner we provided to them, adding it is collecting lots of coins for their club
    Rural Aid thanked us for donating $3,000 that will be used to aid victims of the recent floods etc.
Club Presentation – Linda O’Brien and Margaret Lucas
    Linda called up Rohan Laging – Director of Sandringham Hospital, Emergency Department and Emma Saddington – Nurse Unit Manager, Emergency Department and presented them with a club donation of $6,850 for the purchase of an external pacemaker.  Whilst thanking the club, Rohan Laging provided a diagram and brief description of the pacemaker and its workings, explaining it is mainly used as a temporary bridge for up to 72 hours for patients who have experienced a heart attack.  The Alfred Hospital has an external pacemaker, but Sandringham did not, and the donation was well received and will be put to good use servicing the ever increasing numbers of presentations at the hospital.  Emma Saddington added the Emergency Department now services 47,000 patients per annum, up from 25,000 per annum from when she first joined the hospital.    
Club committees for 2022-2023 – Margaret Mason
    Margaret is putting together committees for the next Rotary year and wishes to hear from anyone wishing to be on any particular committee.  
Grant application workshop – Margaret Mason
    The District will conduct a workshop on Grant applications on Wednesday 4/5 in Surrey Hills Road, Box Hill. Anyone wishing to attend will need to register with District.
Guest Anna Mouradian
    Anna provided a brief outline of her current status, advising she is a former member of North Balwyn Rotary Club, and recently returned to Australia after two years in Armenia where she has family.  Covid prevented her return to Australia until recently, adding that among other activities, she spent her time helping victims of the recent war in Armenia.  She now lives locally, and is keen to rejoin Rotary.
ANZAC Day Services
    Neville joined the ANZAC march this year as he has done for many years
    Jo, Geoff Gartly, Roy and Helen attended the ANZAC Day service at Bentleigh RSL.  Helen suggested we could provide a wreath on ANZAC Day each year as a way of showing our club support for local RSL services and as a means for promoting our club, though we have missed this opportunity this year.  Larry Green suggested Armistice Day on 11 November this year could be an opportunity for us.  Ron Brownlees mentions club members often join other local services that could be considered for wreaths.  The topic will be discussed further by the board.
Social Charity Auction – Auctioneer Tim Lynch
    Tim promoted the Inner Wheel Charity Auction that will be held Saturday 7/5 at the Bentleigh Club, commending everyone to attend.  He will auction 15 paintings and a Sherrin football signed by the players and team members of the St Kilda Football Club.
Degustation Dinner – Tuesday 10/5 at Cilantro
    A table of 10 has been reserved for our club at the upcoming degustation dinner at Cilantro on Tuesday 10/5.  Cost is $125 per person – anyone wishing to join the table will need to advise today as there is a waiting list.
Guest Speaker – Miriam Issa
    Miriam was born in Somalia and grew up in Kenya. She speaks 4 languages – Somalian, Kenyan, Arabic and now English.  She came to Australia 22 years ago as a refugee, with her husband, Muhammad, their 3 children and with another one on the way.  She mentions she was one of the lucky ones as her refugee status was processed off shore which made the transition easier.  However, life in Australia was challenging when she moved to South Road in Brighton and acceptance was not readily offered to her or her family coming from a different culture and background, unable to speak English and lacking a tertiary education.   The neighbours were not friendly to start and did not extend the hand of friendship until later – it took time to integrate and be accepted within the community.  Miriam explained the difference in cultures where storytelling forms an important part of Somalian culture around connection and sharing, and where everyone is involved in each other’s story - it is thought cultures die out if there is no sharing of stories.  Miriam feels Western culture is about self and building on that belief, and it is western culture that taught her how to be an individual.  She studied accounting at Holmesglen.  She recognized the challenges other women with refugee status experienced that were similar to her own when she first arrived.  As a way of bringing women together from different backgrounds and cultures to share their stories and overcoming their challenges, Miriam commenced RAW - Resilient Aspiring Women in 2012, with a meeting place being her own backyard in South Road Brighton.  A pavilion was built with the help of Hampton and Sandringham Rotary Clubs.  A ‘resilient‘ garden was developed and a local men’s shed presented them with large timber letters spelling LOVE for placing in the garden as being representative of the group’s gatherings. Different women painted the letters in a myriad of colours to express their culture and art.  The pavilion was upgraded in 2020, and continues to be a meeting place for women from different backgrounds to come together on a regular basis to share their stories and culture.   Bayside council and philanthropists have provided funding. The garden is being developed into a sensory garden for health and wellbeing - however further work is required with a wish list that includes removing a plum tree, trimming some olive trees, planting, fence painting and purchasing and laying white gravel for pathways.  Miriam will open a Chat Café for the first time next week and hopes this will help to draw people out of isolation.  It was a very interesting presentation and certainly provided a lot of food for thought around social connections and the value of stories we share with others.
Sergeant’s session – John Mason
    Hail to all those who had a winning footy team on the weekend.  Everyone who followed a team that lost was fined.   There was commentary and fines around nicknames.  John noted the recent edition of the Rotary International magazine has Past International President and a former D9810 DG, Ian Riseley, is listed as Present Elect of the Rotary Foundation, and that Secretary Hewko is from Ukraine.  John notes there is a Ron Brownlees appointed to the Public Service Board and wondered if it was ‘our own’ Ron Brownlees – in any case he was fined. Faye was fined for having a birthday!  Club guest Anna was fined for having been to Ukraine.  At the recent President Elect training session, it was noted that only 30% of the DG newsletter emailed each month is opened.
    John’s assistant, Samantha has been doing such as good job collecting fines, John has promoted her to Grade 2 Corporal.
The club and market rosters were read out to finish the meeting.   President Helen closed the meeting with Serve to Change Lives