REGENCY PARK ROTARY IN NEPAL
Between March 6 and 20 this year, a group of 12, representing the Rotary Club of Regency Park, visited Nepal. There were 5 ‘husband and wife’ couples and 2 individual men. Two couples have previously been to Nepal including the couple who organised the tour. This couple has been visiting Nepal almost every year since 1999, mostly through their involvement with a local NGO, International Nepal Fellowship (INF).
Our Rotary Club has over several years been financially supporting the work of INF, particularly at Green Pastures Hospital in Pokhara. This has been in the form of a variety of materials and equipment some of which has been assisted through District Grants from the Rotary Foundation. This service contributed to a large degree to the club being awarded the District 9500 World Community Service (International) Award for 2017-18. The visit provided an opportunity to see and learn some of the culture and conditions of life in Nepal as well as some of the work of INF.
Following 3 days in the Kathmandu Valley the group travelled by road to Chitwan Safari Park and then on to Pokhara.
In Pokhara a wonderful day was had visiting both Green Pastures Hospital and the Ear Centre seeing ‘first hand’ the equipment that the club has help provide as well as the services being provided. The hospital has a special focus on treating and rehabilitating people experiencing the consequences of Leprosy and Spinal Injury but also congenital musculoskeletal disorders and cerebral palsy.
The group met with Nepali and expatriate staff including two ‘South Aussie’ couples who had been guest speakers at the Rotary Club while on furlough. One, a midwife, was presented with a kit of teaching aids for educating birth attendants in remote areas with skills in preventing and managing haemorrhage after childbirth as well as resuscitation of newborn babies.
In all, the group had brought, in their baggage, some 75Kg of goods including materials requested by an Australian doctor who is developing a Palliative Care service; a unique new service for Nepal. Donated stationary for an orphanage and knitted goods and reading glasses were provided for other community programmes organised by INF and associated NGO’s.
The following day the group, in three ‘4 wheel drive’ vehicles, headed north east of Pokhara for an exposure to the challenging terrain and conditions in Gorkha district. INF has been one of the NGO’s helping recovery in the area of the epicentre of the 2015 earthquake. In particular, it has been building earthquake proof housing for people with disability. Community development programmes have also been established. The group was also able to witness the challenging conditions in which so many Nepalese people live and the terrain that is so vulnerable to natural disaster.
There was also an opportunity to meet with several members of the Rotary Club of Pokhara Midtown.
The wide spectrum of scenic beauty of Nepal was also able to be witnessed by the group including spectacular views of the Annapurna Himalaya including during the flight back to Kathmandu.
Everyone felt enriched in some way by the experience. Two members have commenced collecting second-hand hearing aids needed by the Ear Centre and there may be an opportunity for a joint project with the local club.
The visit again demonstrated the way that belonging to Rotary enables a wide range of experience and opportunity while serving those in need whether they be in the local or international community.