Making a difference... you can too
People will do amazing things when given an opportunity.
This simple philosophy inspires Applecross Rotary's members: both locally and further afield. 
We are from all walks of life - we are marketeers, scientists, educators, farmers, engineers, lawyers  and retailers: the list goes on - and we range in age from early 20s through to 80. The commonality we share is an interest to use our time, skills and energy to improve the lives of others. And we have fun while we do it.
Our projects are equally varied. From our much-loved Rotary Jacaranda Festival, the Pride of Workmanship Awards, a local Art Show and Sale, numerous youth initiatives as well as supporting indigenous, mental health and women's refuge projects and delivering major health and water based projects around the world that will save thousands of lives.... we're an ambitious club with the power to get things done. 
Applecross Rotary meet weekly; and we have a flexible approach to membership. Just be involved; be there only when required for your project outcomes.
We meet Tuesday for a 7.30am start, at the Dome Café, Deep Water Point, Mt Pleasant (or via ZOOM if that works for you). 
Just turn up (and/or send an email to
Visitors are the future of our community service outcomes. Check us out at a meeting, a fund raising event or at a social event. Try us on for size. 
If interested please drop us a line.

Upcoming speakers at our Tuesday breakfast meetings (7am for 7.30am start, finishing at 8.30am)

Tiffany Alling - Community Engagement Officer
Sep 26, 2023 7:30 AM
Carers WA
Margaret Brede
Oct 31, 2023 7:30 AM
‘A Perspective on the Challenges for Education in Schools Today'
Club News
Jun 24, 2023
I first learned about Wheelchairs for Kids (WFK) from a student of mine at Curtin University.  I ran a scholarship program named for wartime PM John Curtin, and the winners of the scholarships undertook to continue their community service activities they started at school.
One of the John Curtin Scholars had been volunteering at WFK and he met with me monthly to talk about this and other activities including his plans to study overseas, another requirement of the scholarship.
In those days (we are talking over 20 years ago) the focus was supporting kids in Cambodia who lost limbs because of the land mines the US carpet bombed trying to stop the Viet Kong using the Cambodian countryside to invade neighbouring South Vietnam.  The leader of the program was Christian Brother Ollie Pickett, and it was supported by Scarborough Rotary.  At that time everyone involved were volunteers and they could construct a wheelchair, using often scavenged parts, for about $100.  They only built them if they had the funds available to buy the parts needed.  No money, no wheelchair, no gathering together to construct the chairs, no chats over cups of tea.
I asked my student at one of our monthly meeting how it was going and he told me that they had run out of money and the workshop was closed until they fund raised.  So what did my student do?  He fund raised on campus, starting with my staff, and before long the workshop was humming along again, and everyone was happy.  In fact this was a really important observation he made - the fellowship created among the volunteers was a very important of the program.  This fellowship also enabled them to face unexpected challenges, such as a new WHO standard for wheelchairs - no more scavenged parts.
We also had students volunteering at Foodbank and I got to know and appreciate the organisational and strategic planning skills of then CEO Greg Hebble.  During Greg’s time at Foodbank it grew to be a very big business "with a compassionate heart”.  So when I learned that WFK had selected Greg to be its first paid employee, I realised that WFK was also becoming another big business.
Every week over 250 volunteers (average age 74) gather in the new workshop, building WHO approved wheelchairs that are now sent to over 100 countries worldwide.  The wheelchairs are assembled after the recipient is selected so it fits properly and can grow with the child. 
As can be seen in the photo of Greg at our recent meeting, the chair comes with a knitted rug and a couple of soft toys.  More than 65,000 have been sent overseas, usually though an international aid agency who identifies the need and pays the shipping costs.  Last year WFK sent 3500 wheelchairs to needy kids, and Greg and his willing workers want to lift that to 6000/year.
Happy footnote: AG Kenn announced that Greg has been elected an Associate Member of Applecross Rotary

Jun 11, 2023

Virtual Reality (VR) Update 

Professor Marina Ciccarelli* with Guest Speaker Coordinator Dr Barry Mendelawitz.
Professor Marina Ciccarelli first spoke to us about her VR research back in 2019 and returned last week to update members on how far the technology has come in the past few years.  Like a lot of medical science, the advances in knowledge and skills has been breathtaking, and with AI moving to play a major part of our lives, it may well be a case of “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
Marina’s research focuses on Spinal Cord Injury, and rehabilitation of cases that only a few years ago would have been classified as hopeless.  However it seems that if a few nerve fibres are still intact, they can be taught to adapt through challenging activities, guided by VR.  This finding opens up the opportunities to use VR headsets to help rehabilitate stroke victims and those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Using VR headsets (like the ones we donated after her last visit), the patients are presented with challenges such as imagining the preparation of a cheeseburger.
And this can now be done remotely so the patient doesn’t need to come to a specialist clinic in Perth for this therapy, because it can now be done at home. This is a huge step forward for people who live some distance away. 
* Interesting Fact: Marina is the daughter of Cecil Aaron, a Club member who passed away a few years ago.
Coincidentally, this week also saw the launch of Apple’s new VR hardware and software:
May 06, 2023
Sara David Founding CEO Living Child Inc
This plea led midwife Sara David to travel to a very isolated part of Papua New Guinea (PNG) south of the town of Wewak, the capital of the East Sepik province of PNG.
Most of the travel was via the Sepik River, one of the 10 largest rivers in the world. There are no roads.
What Sara saw was very confronting.  High child and maternal mortality, and no access to any support.
Sara set up the charity Living Child Inc. in 2012 to provide support for communities through training midwives and other women who can diagnose potential difficult births, as well as help reduce the chances of infections occurring during and after giving birth.
Even with high infant mortality, some of the mothers surviving quite often complained that they had three babies to look after: “one in the belly, one on the hip, and one at my feet”.
Through the use of birth control implants, they are now able to choose when and how many children they have, they will be able to give birth safely and their children will have every opportunity to grow and thrive, all thanks to Living Child Inc.
Applecross Rotary has been a supporter of Living Child Inc. for a number of years, as has Melville Rotary.  Our most recent grant has enabled a number of midwives to travel to a training workshop in Bali.  Previous grants have provided clean water storage units and compostable toilets. Sara’s work has been recognised with a Paul Harris Fellowship, and the recent award of an Australian Honour, Member of the Order of Australia (AM).
Sara David (left) with some other members of Living Child Inc. and some of the women it has trained.
About Living Child Inc.
The focus of its work is in the villages that make up the Keram River area of East Sepik Province. This area is some of the most remote and neglected by government services, in the country. It is renowned for it's wood carvings and the people are called the River People because they live on the many river systems that empty into the mighty Sepik River delta. The people are strong and resourceful, surviving on local produce of fish, wild pigs, cocoa, betelnut, coconuts and bananas. But, accessing basic services such as health, education, clean water and sanitation are severely impacted by poor infrastructure, a high-water table, no telecommunications and long travelling distances over difficult terrain.


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