The District International Service Information evening, 18th September 2018, was an opportunity for a progress update on the many projects happening and to look at future possibilities. International Service covers many projects; small to large global grants, from small Club projects to many Clubs working collaboratively to help others who are less  fortunate than ourselves.
Several Club members and partners attended this meeting last Tuesday night at the Kolmar Centre, Papatoetoe.  It was a wet evening but that did not deter nearly 40 people attending and also taking advantage of the Bistro. The 2-hour meeting featured a number of speakers. The projects they presented on reflected the diversity of projects across our District and further afield.
PDG Roger Harvey (RC Newmarket) gave an overview of the Fiji Eye Project that is organised annually at Taveuni Hospital. This is a Global Grant project with the RC Taveuni that has been running for 13 years and restores sight to adults and children from throughout Fiji. This year’s project will commence in a couple of weeks’ time and more than 300 operations are expected to be done. This is a huge project requiring the cooperation of many organisations and individuals.
Mike Walsh (RC Auckland) spoke about a Microcredit project that was recently approved and is helping women in Fijian villages with loans to set up businesses in their     communities. They repay the loans, and this provides further funds to support other women. Mike also shared some advice and learnings about project planning and management.
Peter Salmon (RC Remuera) presented the Fiji Oxygen Project [‘No child should die for lack of oxygen’]. This project is with Cure Kids Fiji Islands. The main goal is to provide oxygen concentrators and where needed supported by solar power and batteries for power storage. This is ~ NZ $650K project with about another $130K needed.
All the speakers would welcome the opportunity to speak to Clubs.       
Dennis Millard (RC Auckland East) then gave us an update on the Emergency Response Kits (ERK’s). 750 have just been packed this year.  It was particularly interesting to see the number of Clubs/groups (22) that have been involved, but also the number of people (322), and volunteer hours (826.72 hr)
However, there is a need to raise funds for more ERK’s, so Clubs are being asked to help with donations, so this worthwhile project can continue without undue delays.
PDG Stuart Batty, Executive Director of Rotary New Zealand World Community Service Limited, came up from Christchurch to attend the information evening. He gave an overview about RNZWCS Limited, functions, the activities and projects being co-ordinated (including ERK’s) and the support available/given to Clubs.  This includes insurance for Rotary volunteers travelling overseas.
Miles Cain (RC St John) then spoke about his volunteering experiences with Habitat for Humanity and the enriching experience this has been. It was mentioned that a Habitat for Humanity project in the Pacific Islands would likely attract a lot of interest.
Shefali Mehta (RC Auckland Harbourside) presented on INTERPLAST, a project supporting surgeons to undertake life changing plastic or reconstructive surgery on children.  Currently a global grant project is   being planned and Club support is needed to meet the $ goal.
Wayne Brewer (RC Remuera) then gave a briefing about ROMAC, another medical programme that is life changing for children with medical issues.
Ian Jenner (RC Ellerslie-Sunrise) talked about a project called Tools for Schools. This is an initiative between Rotary and Men’s Shed to collect used tools that can then be sent to secondary schools in Taveuni Is. but could also be replicated across other Pacific Islands.
A number of other Club projects were also mentioned; Dictionaries for Schools in Fiji, wheelchairs to Tonga & Samoa other literacy and medical projects. There are also more global grant projects in the pipeline.  We could have had a further 2-hour session on a whole range of other interestingand worthwhile projects.