RAWCS & DROUGHT RELIEF
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Rotary Australia World Community Service or RAWCS
RAWCS is an organisation of Rotary, which is a standalone entity with its' own ABN, Chair and committee. There are currently 14 committees which make up RAWCS. These are a just 6 of them.
- Donations In Kind - The DIK committee is responsible for the collection, storage and eventual transfer of goods to underdeveloped nations in need of them. DIK accepts most goods with the exception of textbook, out of date medicine and electrical goods.
- Rotarians Against Malaria - RAM is responsible for protection against Malaria, education in preventing the disease and funding for research.
- Pacific Training Australia - PTA identifies suitable health and educational professionals in the Pacific region and brings them to Australia for short term experience in their field. They are given paid employment and accommodation as they learn.
- Adopt-A-School - The AAS committee operates by communication between schools in our District and schools in Vanuatu. It also collects school based goods (chairs, books, pencils etc.) and in many cases works hand in hand with DIK.
- Safe Water Saves Lives - Similar to Ram in its' objectives, SWSL provides potable water in 3rd world countries, teaches about water conservation, storage and water hygiene.
- Shelter Box - This provides emergency accommodation for up to 10 people.
Wauchope Rotary is part of District 9650 and our local RAWCS is currently involved with projects in Bali, Nepal, Bhutan, Vanuatu, Papua and the Philippines. In Australia, RAWCS is concentrating its efforts on drought relief and coordination of donations to famers. As part of this the District was allotted $250K from the Chanel 9/Rotary Telethon which raised approximately $10 million. This was added to the $100K plus already raised, not only via the RAWCS registration, but by the energetic fundraising of every club in District 9650. These funds have been divided up on an equal basis between the 30 clubs in the drought affected areas of our District.
So far, in excess of $300K has been handed out by the clubs in ways that suit their area. For instance, it may have been for feed, paying utilities, fuel, mental health issues, or even just handing out vouchers to be spent as needed.
$300K may sound a lot, but divided by the 30 clubs and given the dire situation of some farmers, it barely scratched the surface.
One story of RAWCS and the difference they make
This is a true story. It sheds some light on the suffering of some of our farmers. It is, in fact, the story of the first farmer helped by Rotary District 9650. To protect the identity of the farmers involved neither their names nor their town they are from are mentioned.
On Wednesday 15/08/18, RAWCS received a phone call from a lady "out west" who was very distressed, nervous and definitely in very poor mental health. She very timidly asked if Rotary could give her one bale of hay. She said her husband had asked her not to ring, but she felt she had no other choice. RAWCS leader Reg who took the call assured her that he could and would help her.
Reg rushed out and purchased the last 2 bales of hay in town, then rang a fellow Rotarian and all round amazing bloke, Paul, and asked if he could deliver them to the farm in need. This required a round trip of around 7 hours. Without missing a beat Paul was planning the journey. He loaded the 2 bales onto his truck and took it upon himself to donate one of his own large round bales of hay, some cattle pellets and a few other things.
As he was nearing the town, he rang the lady and said he was nearly there and she should "put the kettle on for a cup of coffee". The woman told him that "if you want coffee, you'd better bring some. We haven't had any for 3 weeks."
Again without faltering Paul drove back into town and purchased bags full of everyday goods. Regular items these farmers did not feel they could afford to buy when the money they spent to purchase coffee, milk and sugar could be spent on feed to keep their cattle alive.
On his return to Wauchope Paul told of how amazed and thrilled the farmers had been when he turned up and how humbled and embarrassed they were by the generosity of a stranger who wanted nothing more than to do good for another person. By Reg making the "Captain's call" to help and Paul making the physical trip "out west" RAWCS helped these famers go from abject depression to ecstatic joy in just 2 days and all because of a few bales of hay, some groceries and the realisation that others really do care.
If you would like to share a meal with Reg and Paul and hear more uplifting stories of how Rotary is helping those in need come join us on Tuesday nights from 6pm at the Rotary Hall next to Bain Park.