Rotary is an international organisation with over 1.2 million members world-wide. While each local Rotary club operates on an autonomous basis there is tremendous potential for different clubs to work in partnership to advance the principles of Rotary.
Tonight’s meeting included a presentation by Rotarian and Boroondara Councillor Phillip Healy who discussed Boroondara Cares, a community partnership between the Rotary Clubs in Boroondara and Moyne Shire in regional Victoria.
Boroondara Cares was formed to provide ongoing support for the residents of Moira Shire as they seek to deal with the severe economic and social challenges caused by a seven year long drought. While State and Federal Governments in some instances provide emergency relief to drought or flood affected regions, this funding is not ongoing and tends to focus on sudden emergencies, rather than areas that are experiencing ongoing adverse conditions.
Boroondara Cares organises a number of events between the Rotary Clubs of Boroondara and Moyne Shire to provide support and understanding to this drought affected region. Events include food assistance, such as providing two tonnes of rice each month to Moyne Shire, day trips so that Boroondara residents can experience the drought conditions and to enable Moyne residents to visit Melbourne, farm tours and sporting events. In addition, the program builds upon Rotary’s core notion of fellowship by providing support and assistance to farmers experiencing depression due to the lasting drought conditions.
Sharing Communities is the Rotary governance structure that has been developed for Boroondara Cares and also to Stonnington and Nillumbik Cares, which follow a similar model of assisting drought affected regions. The program ensures a partnership approach through involving Rotary clubs within the affected region so that each organisation has an understanding of the type of assistance that is required.
The Boroondara Cares program and the Sharing Communities initiative demonstrates the productive community partnerships and support that can be established through Rotary networks. With 20 drought affected shires within Victoria it is clear that there is scope for similar programs across the State.