Eastwood Hall makes a perfect venue for the Inner Wheel District 22 International Rally, this year supporting National Police Aid Convoy (NPAC). International Service Committee Chairman Marion Tasker, welcomed members to the day and thanked District Chairman Vera Dilks for opening the Rally.
NPAC has long been a charity supported by the District’s International Service Committee Chairman, Marion. Marion told members how she could not miss this opportunity to share the good work that NPAC do for those in need around the world.
After a fabulous lunch and a natter (picture showing Ruth, Rose and Ruth. A rose between two Ruths), International Service Chairman Shamim Govani brought greetings from the Association. Shamim spoke about the diversity and pluralism of today’s international Inner Wheel ladies. She asked that ‘we accept and outstretch our arms and our hearts to the ladies across the world going through immigration.’ Shamim also spoke about her personal experience of immigration, 46 years ago when she and her family left Uganda for Canada. Shamim was studying in England at the time, but talked about the differences her family experienced then to experiences of today’s refugees.
Shamim was recently surprised by her husband with a visit back to Kampala, Uganda. She was to return for the first time since her family left. She went to her old home and visited a children’s charity she and her mother had once volunteered for.
Sanyu Babies Home had changed considerably since Shamim had last visited, the building had been well maintained. But the warm welcome she received was very much the same. She arrived with three suitcases of much needed items – Milton cleaning tablets and disposable gloves. All donated by Inner Wheel clubs.
To conclude Shamim said she had met Bill Gates and the Actor Ashton Kutcher at a Rotary Convention in Miami. Where Ashton spoke about his role in the film The Butterfly Effect, and his role with We are Thorn, as a digital defender fighting to stop the sexual exploitation of children through technology.
Shamim asked our audience to think of ways that we have an effect on those in need around us. She said ‘change is not good, nor is it bad: it is what we do with it that matters.’ She described the Clubs as being an intelligent trampoline of ideas and discussed her thoughts on how Inner Wheel could progress at the conclusion to her greeting.
Shamim was followed by David Scott, Chairman of NPAC. David thanked the audience for all their contributions to NPAC, and said that our donations were much needed and greatly appreciated. David thanked everyone for 917 baby bundles, 28 knitted teddies, 192 blankets amongst other great donations.
Education is powerful. Good education goes back to the home, from the home it goes to the Community; from the home to community empowerment, and drives the needy to be empowered. David said that Inner Wheel as a service organisation, was the worlds best kept secret. Our donations, he said, meant to the world that someone out there cares. Someone is thinking about them.
There are many different and interesting topics that as the Chairman David could have spoken about for hours, but he suggested that if anyone does want a talk from NPAC they have a range of projects, some of which include:
The Cinderella Project – where wedding dresses, mother of the bride outfits, sewing machines and shoes are donated to enable young girls and women to learn to sew.
Aqua Box – Each box is designed for a family and contains over 70 humanitarian aid items in addition to an AquaFilter Family unit for providing safe drinking water.
Roll out the Barrel – initiated by the Rotary Club of the Isle of Wight, where simple modification to a water barrel can mean that disabled villagers can collect water.
Pad Project – New washable materials and a few sewing machines, some education and support and the villagers can set up a cottage industry for production of sanitary towels, and give the girls equal opportunity and freedom. As we sat and listened to the NPAC talk, it was pointed out that the unique and vibrant table decorations we had all been admiring (made by Jan from Retford club), were made from the pattern of the sanitary towel used in the project.
David handed over to Joan Green, who along with a small number of key workers keeps NPAC on its toes. Joan joined NPAC 25 years ago during the Balkan War when they took much needed aid out to those countries most in need such as Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro. Joan explained how they borrowed lorries from Thorntons to take donations and aide out to the area. They borrowed warehousing facilities to store all the donations that came pouring in.
Have you ever wondered what happens to the equipment ‘out the back’ of say a school or a hospital? Well if NPAC know about it, they will take it off your hands. Each shipping container can take 39 hospital beds, and in between each gap and leg, in fact in any space available, all our donations are packed tight. They will take medical equipment that we in the UK perhaps have no need for, but in war torn or disaster stricken areas, will be used to save a life.
Joan spoke of her delight in education, having been a teacher. She presented to a captivated audience slides of how the schools were in South Africa that NPAC are assisting. She spoke of a school where the two classes were full. One class in morning and one in the afternoon, all children seated on 120 red chairs. Schools are simple structures and slides were shown of how huts were being built, with walls as blackboards, breeze blocks as chairs. How uniforms were used as an incentive to get children to come to school, unlike many of the children we know who can’t wait to get theirs off. If good attendance is shown, the child is presented with their own uniform.
Caring is our business. Every person counts and no person should be discarded.
A plea was put out for equipment for the schools. Science equipment is very much in demand, cooking equipment, pans, cookers, fridges, sewing machines, haberdashery goods, sports items balls in particular. Shoes and skipping ropes would all be taken off your hands and donated through NPAC.
When asked why she does this work Joan said ‘for the smiles’. Imagining someone opening a baby bundle and seeing the beautiful knitted toys and clothing, handing over sewing equipment and seeing the smiles and the eyes light up as the stunning wedding dresses are delivered. Smiles when you go out there. The smile it gives you knowing you are helping to make it easier for people to learn and to live.
The Rally atmosphere was incredible. The speakers were fantastic and just when we thought it was all coming to an end…. this happened.
Our founder Maragette Golding, gave her legacy as: an Association of friends working together for the good of others. At the 11th International Convention in May 2000 it was decided that an award be created in the name of Margarette Golding for highly commendable personal service through Inner Wheel or in the community.
The award – a neat floral brooch – a marguerite!
President of Retford Club Maureen Lilley took to the mic and without hesitation confirmed that the great honour of the Margarette Golding Award has been given to International Service Chairman Marion. There was a deafening applause and much cheering as Maureen hugged a shocked Marion. What a wonderful surprise to all, and a fantastic way to close off what was a superb Rally.
A stunned Marion, thanked the audience for attending the rally and thanked everyone for raising over £500 on the raffle.