Since 1905, Rotary has been making a positive impact in the world. Beginning in Chicago before spreading throughout the world, Rotary first touched our shores in Australia in 1921, with the charter of the Rotary Club of Melbourne, closely followed by the charter of a Sydney Club and other Clubs around the nation. Rotary Clubs provide service to others, promote integrity, promote global harmony, goodwill, and peace through their fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Each of Australia’s 30,000 Rotarians belong to a local Rotary Club. There’s over 1100 Clubs in Australia. The position of President is rotated every July, providing ample opportunities for Rotarians to step up and gain leadership experience. Clubs operate independently, but often come together to work on joint projects and celebrate big events.
The Indian Telegraph spoke to Barbara Ward, a high community achiever and current President of Rotary Club of Sydney who was awarded Paul Harris Fellow last year
IT: What are the projects and goals of Rotary Club in Australia and particularly activities in New South Wales?
Rotary Club of Sydney (RCOS) has many projects from within our state to international. RCOS is proud of our past and present record of “Achieving for Others” : founding the N SW Society for Crippled Children in 1929 (Northcott Society); establishing the Police & Citizens Boys’ Clubs in NSW (PCYC), supporting 10 Indigenous university students a year through a scholarship fund, Supporting ANZAC event, recognition of individuals through high profile awards, launched and continued support to Vision Beyond Aus (VBA) Opportunity Cambodia provide education and training for Cambodia’s most vulnerable children, the Rural Community Support Programme for draught and much more. Other Rotary Clubs have a similar list of achievements.
RCOS will be celebratingCentenary of Rotary in Australasian in May 2021 with forthcoming milestone and also engage with our world in providing ongoing “service above self”. The four founding Clubs and the Rotary movement across Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Island Countries are co-ordinating events to mark the Centenary.
For now simply let me highlight our goal for the project the Rotary Give Every Child A Future Project: we are partnering with UNICEF to vaccinate 100,000 children and young girls from HPV, rotavirus, pneumococcal disease and cervical cancer, across nine Pacific Island Countries. We will also strengthen the immunisation programs in each country so that these vaccines continue to be delivered to future generations of children. HPV vaccine for girls to prevent cervical cancer in later life, Rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccines for all children to reduce illness and deaths from gastroenteritis, pneumonias, meningitis and bacteraemia
On 12th February 2020 Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of New South Wales and Mr Dennis Wilson proudly hosted a soft launch of the centenary at Government House, Sydney.
IT. Any particular project you are passionate about and describe why?
I am passionate about programs relating health particularly women’s health which includes mental health and domestic violence. President’s project is “Give Every Child A Future” I am supporting because more women die from cervical cancer in Pacific Island countries than in New Zealand or Australia and, in parts of the Pacific, nearly 1 in 18 children die before their 5th birthday from vaccine preventable diseases. We’re going to stop that! I was born in Fiji and am of Indian heritage and I know health facilities are not comparable to what we enjoy here.
I am also the President of Lupus Association of Australia and this is a debilitating and cruel diseases, most under diagnosed and underfunded illness in modern times. Young women in childbearing age are unable to or have many challenges to conceive. I would like to raise awareness of Lupus Rotary is a great platform to do this and help lupus suffers.
I am planning a program in the CBD for security and or counselling services for women who are homeless or have fallen on hard times.
IT: How Rotary Club is assisting the community in Covid 19 scenario currently?
The accelerating pace of the coronavirus outbreak means more changes to services and our way of life that we have come to know. However, our board remain committed to serving our members, friends and partners to the best of our ability during this difficult time.
Many of our members are going above and beyond either individually, through Rotary, or through a community group to provide support to vulnerable people, while ensuring safety and adhering to health requirements.
It’s quite the quandary for both the health officials to various levels of governments, trying to overcome the current global crisis, countries are studying all the possible courses of actions to mitigate or arrest the Coronavirus. As this pandemic progress, it also calls into question traditional conceptions of security.
Without a doubt, the year so far has been a real test of our strength and resilience, both as individuals and as a community. It never ceases to surprise me how quickly we do adapt, with ingenuity and moments of triumph in the face of adversity.
Our weekly lunch meetings are now being held via zoom. I personally have been calling every member (over 100+ members) to check-in, provide comfort, care and where needed give assistance as required.
Rotary recognizes high ethical standards in business and professions, recognizes the worth of all useful occupations, and dignifies each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity for service. Rotarians are very committed people and they live by their motto of “Service Above Self” and we often refer to our Four Way Test:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
IT: Any other aspects you wish to share
It is an absolute honour and privilege to be the President of RCOS, which I love and respect. Being a Rotarian means making a strong commitment of time and energy and sometimes it can be challenging, but always rewarding. We touch the lives of so many in need all over the world and help people who are less fortunate. There are some tough times particularly when you see so much pain and suffering, but resilience gets me and our fellow Rotarians through.
People who join are from all works of life and are part of a diverse group of professional leaders we work together to identify and assist various community and international service needs. RCOS was honoured last year as a Peace Building club, club members help promote peace and understanding throughout the world.
I love the networking and fellowship with other Rotarians, everyone is encouraging of each other for the common good. I have brought diversity to this club and will continue to work towards this and also initiated some local programs in the CBD. We celebrated Diwali for the first time in our club, major Chinese New Year event and International Women’s Day with high profile speakers.
I have worked in the Charity and not for profit sector for 20 plus years after a successful career in private and public sector I believe it is my calling and I seek to make contributions even if it is in a small way but which often makes a huge difference to someone’s life. My passion for good public policy like many others stems from her experience that a strong economy is the basis of a just society and she works tirelessly at every level to make life better for those less fortunate.
Barbara is the President of Rotary Club of Sydney and was awarded Paul Harris Fellow last year, Immediate Past President of Australia India Business Council NSW, Fellow and former President of Fundraising Institute of Australia and Barbara sits on a number of Boards: Lifeline, Studio A, Royal Rehab, Now Australia, SHARE SMR Inc, Lupus Australia, Nutrition Australia NSW to name a few and is the President of four.
Barbara Ward is an experienced CEO and senior Executive and is a highly accomplished leader, she is the founder and Managing Director of Impact One which is a not for profit but for purpose in the Trade & Investment, Education, agribusiness, Strategy, Transformation and government (federal, state, local and regional) expanding national, international, and local organisation with the focus on growth, financial viability and sustainability. She has worked in a variety of capacities across many industry areas, including fundraising, welfare services, humanitarian aid, finance, human resources, state & local government and consulting and also speaks at various conferences both nationally and internationally such as MD of Anglicare (Anglican Retirement Villages Foundation), San Foundation, CEO Austcare and Marist Community Services, Financial Controller Lane Cove Council, Corporate Services Director NSW Crime Commission and OPSM.
Barbara has a strong record of significant successes, all resulted in San Foundation providing Integrated Cancer Centre, equipment and provide world class care she raised $23m. Her fundraising efforts assisted in with building a High Care Dementia Unit at Anglican Retirement Village and implemented many multidisciplinary services including palliative care. Barbara has made a huge difference to many people’s lives particularly to some of the most vulnerable in our community. Barbara is the recipient of many Community and Business awards from industry bodies including Westpac, Telstra Businesswomen of the Year and Financial Review nominee. She has received NSW and Federal Governments awards.
The Indian Telegraph congratulates Barbara Ward and Rotary Club of NSW for the excellent and dedicated work for the benefit of the community particularly the disadvantaged and vulnerable.