Rotary Club of Apia welcomes new President

The Rotary Club of Apia has a new President. Susan Faoagali has taken over from outgoing President, Tony Callaghan.

The international voluntary organisation, which has been serving Samoa for almost 50 years, has approximately 1.2 million members worldwide. 

Rotary Clubs around the globe do charity work, mostly for local communities. In Samoa, the local Rotary Club of Apia at the moment has about 20 members, with its main focus being the areas of health, water and education. The organisation makes the realisation of local community projects possible through fundraising events.

In Samoa in particular, the Rotary Club is organising two main fundraisers each year to collect enough money for local projects in the communities around the country.

“All of our members are volunteers and we do not get paid for what we do for the community in Samoa,” said Ms. Faoagali as the club’s newly appointed president. For this year’s donations, the Rotary Club of Apia already has shared some ideas. 

“This year, we are going to concentrate our work on the finishing process of a playground project located at Moata’a, together with the support of the Village Council and the Women’s Committee,” Faoagali summarized the current plans of the club.

Former works of Apia’s Rotary Club include the establishment of “education and literacy programmes with local primary schools and libraries.” In these areas, the organisation helped out to finance better equipment for the facilities, including books, bookshelves and other furniture that was needed.

“We are already planning the next phase of this, as we have in mind to donate tablet computers, and to train teachers and librarians on that,” explained Susan Faoagali, who took over the position of the president for Apia’s Rotary Club from her friend and colleague Tony Callaghan.

Mr Callaghan had been the president for the Samoan branch of the Rotary Club for the last two years. In the context of a formal ceremony, he handed over this position to Susan Faoagali, who already talked about some suggestions for her presidency. “It will indeed be a lot of work, but it would be nice if we might be able to even double the amount of money that is coming in from our fundraisers,” she said.

One of those fundraisers, which was called “the garden party”, was implemented with the help of the New Zealand High Commission, The Australia-Pacific Technical College (A.P.T.C.) and others. The event helped to generate more than 10,000 Tala for Apia’s Rotary Club’s communal work.

To reach this goal, Susan Faoagali already knows what has to be improved for the club: “One of my goals [as the Rotary Club’s new president] will be to make us more visible internationally and regionally, especially concerning our contact with the other clubs in the area. There are other Rotary Clubs like in Auckland, Fiji, Tonga or the Cook Islands and French Polynesia as well. As a group, we should attend meetings in Auckland, where a district conference is held once a year. We’ve stopped visiting that because of different reasons, but if we could start taking part in that again, it would be really encouraging to meet other Rotarians, particularly the ones which are located so close to us. There is also a great international Rotary website on which we need to be more visible.”

As another goal for her freshly started presidency, Faoagali mentioned the celebration of “Rotary Foundation”, a global charity, which celebrates its hundredth year of existence in 2016. “We are going to celebrate that with something special. The main part of “Rotary Foundation” deals with the eradication of Polio, which has been going on for over thirty years now and today we’ve reached a point where it’s really close that Polio is actually eradicated in the world. So we will definitely do something special about that.”

For the new president of Apia’s Rotary Club, the organisation’s educational work was what had aroused her interest in the club three years ago: “I am a teacher by trade and at the moment I am working in the private sector […] but I’m really interested in helping out the schools in Samoa through the projects we’re doing on a voluntary basis. It really is a great chance to do volunteer work, and I can only encourage others to come and visit us at one of our gatherings or, because Rotary is really focused on helping out the community.”

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