Rotary Club breaks fundraising record

The Rotary club of Apia raised about $50,000 in this year’s Melbourne Cup fundraiser, which is the biggest taking since its inception 20 years ago. 

Rotary District 9920 District Governor 2018-19, Ingrid Waugh was present at the annual event at the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum on Tuesday in a show of support to one of the seven Pacific Island countries in Rotary district 9920, which also includes half of Auckland, New Zealand.  

Ms. Waugh praised the efforts of the Rotary Club of Apia to raise money for scholarships and sponsorship for their local students as part of their organisations’ commitment to supporting education in their communities.  

“There have been many projects Rotarians have been involved with to do with education, maternal/child health and more over the years but what is so important about the work of Apia Rotary is their involvement with and understanding of the local community and its key needs,” said Ms. Waugh in a statement.  

“Its members represent a range of ages, occupations and backgrounds. They are highly committed to doing service in their community.  Rotary clubs are part of a large world community of like minded people but choose to do their own project that make a difference, and have fun at the same time.”

Four recipients of this year’s Rotary foundation scholarships volunteered their time by helping out at the Melbourne Cup fundraiser during the event. One of them was 18-year-old Hairani from Alafua, who is studying Preliminary Science. 

“I want to be an agricultural student to help people in my family as well as the environment. Being a farmer helps a lot especially with our people in Samoa,” Hairani said. 

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“Some people told me not to be a farmer, but I have my heart set on working the land and making a living while applying sustainable farming practices that will save the environment.” 

The recipients expressed their gratitude for the much-needed assistance that would mean less financial burden on their families, and a chance for them to complete their education.

“It’s been a big help to me because in my family, my sister is the main income provider and so this is a big help in paying for my school fees,” said Hairani. “So I hope I do well in these next exams and be able to get more scholarships for study so that I can help my family.”

Paniani Paniani, 19, from Manono is an art student who is looking to transition into a law degree in the future. For him, having the opportunity to attend the University of South Pacific in Alafua Campus is a source of great pride for his family. 

“This scholarship helps me and my family because we don’t have that much income and everyone knows that the fees at U.S.P. are very expensive so this is going a long way in helping with my education and bettering my future.”

Milo Seumanutafa, 19, from Falealupo and 22-year-old Faamanu Logovi’i from Salelologa also echoed the same sentiments saying the scholarships lessened the burden on their families back in Savaii while giving their sons the chance of acquiring a quality education at the university. 

Ms. Waugh said Rotary Clubs in New Zealand and Australia will continue to focus on looking at ways to collaborate and support the Rotary Clubs in the Pacific. It is her belief that ensuring health and education for women and children is vital for every nation’s future, including the Pacific.

“Our clubs in New Zealand, and of course Australia and beyond, are very keen to work with our Pacific Island colleagues to assist in alleviating poverty, ensuring everyone has access to safe drinking water and sanitation, which in turn helps to prevent disease and child mortality.

“Sustainability of projects is key – the wider Rotary community can offer access to resources, not only money but also volunteers who have expertise in a wide range of fields, who are willing to come and do hands on projects, or provide support locally.”

Chartered since September 1970, the Rotary Club of Apia is one of the longest established Rotary clubs in the Pacific. 

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