This video has highlights of ending Trachoma by 2020:
"Three years ago, the Rotary Club of Melbourne, resolved to make the goal of “Ending Trachoma by 2020” a centenary project. It has done this in two ways: by developing a prototype mobile face washing station to be used by indigenous children in remote communities, and secondly, by supporting the National End Trachoma 2020 project.
On Wednesday PP Peter Rogers spoke about the water trailer project which is a collaboration with the club’s corporate members Monash University (Monash Industry Team Initiative - MITI), GHD, and Telstra.
The wash stations, mounted on a tandem trailer, can be deployed into Indigenous Communities in Central Australia – particularly for sporting events and other community occasions, where children often share blankets at night which leads to the spread of the trachoma infection. The objective of the wash station is to attract children of all ages and skill to participate in an interactive game which involves them being sprayed with water and learning about the value of having a clean face.
Next month, the recently completed trailer will be taken to Umuwa in APY Lands, Northern South Australia by club member Jim Orchard and handed over to the Nganumpa Health Council. If the prototype is successful it is hoped that additional units will be built – possibly as part of an existing vocational training program on APY Lands for indigenous students.
In introducing, Lien Trinh to speak about the national End Trachoma 2020 project, PDG Murray Verso, who along with Rob McGuirk and Kerry Kornhauser is one of the project directors, thanked the club for its ongoing financial support of the project and observed that at least 30 other clubs around the country had followed Melbourne’s lead. 16 of the 21 Rotary Districts in Australia now have “End Trachoma Champions” liaising with the core team and promoting the cause amongst Rotarians in their districts.
Lien, is the End Trachoma 2020 Project Coordinator. She explained how the project’s work is based on building strong community engagement, growing relationships, establishing and developing trust of the Rotary brand by remote Indigenous Australians.
When she and Rob McGuirk visited the APY lands 18 months ago, they listened to many community members and heard and saw how endemic poverty was affecting their lives. Many families lack the very basics – mirrors, linen, mattresses, towels, even cupboards and hooks for storage purposes.
Lien described the powerful effect one simple End Trachoma intervention had had in indigenous communities. 20 packs of light, easily transported and safe acrylic mirror tiles were delivered to the APY lands, and a 1000 more to the WA Environmental Health Program. The mirror tiles were donated by Bunnings and feedback has been extraordinary. Families want and need mirrors installed in their homes to know when to wash, to clean, to look good and potentially feel good.
Rotary’s End Trachoma 2020 project is now part of the Australian Trachoma Alliance, chaired by former GG Major General Michael Jeffrey. Lien works very closely with the Program Implementation Managers to develop pilot projects to support community needs such as portable washing machines, face washing chamois’ in schools, and soap making workshops and even home maintenance.
Lien concluded her excellent presentation by saying that a project of this scale is not without its challenges, but it has found a significant place for Rotary in Australia, in the words of President Ian Riseley, to “make a difference”.
Thank you to PDG Murray Verso, End Trachoma Director for this summary of the meeting.