NEIGHBOURS AID WISHES JOHN & DEBBIE FAREWELL AND WELCOMES LISETTE
Neighbours Aid is sad to say goodbye to our Gympie manager Debbie and her husband John who have been the driving inspirational force behind the success of our Gympie store since its beginnings 5 years ago. John and Debbie led the recovery after the floods in recent weeks assisted by their hard-working team of volunteers. They are taking a well-earned break to travel around Australia in their campervan with some friends for the next few years. We wish them well as we thank them for a job well done. Their son Daniel began as a volunteer and his now a valued staff-member so the Collins legacy lives on at Gympie Neighbours Aid.
As we say goodbye to John and Debbie we welcome Lisette Pederson our new Gympie manager who comes to us with many years of experience in customer relations and op shops. Lisette is excited and raring to go with the wonderful team of Gympie volunteers trained up by Debbie and John.
STORIES FROM THE SHOP FLOOR
A couple came into the Caloundra store looking for a wheelchair for the husband who was unwell. They asked if it could be held for them until they could pay for it as they didn’t want to miss out. As staff were taking down their information another customer overheard and paid for the wheelchair for them. The husband had just lost his mother so this act of kindness and generosity from a stranger meant even more. There were lots of hugs and tears all round.
A charming lady came into our Pialba store to purchase some furniture. The volunteers who delivered her purchases were amazed to find that she had a fabulous lunch waiting for them. They came back to the shop grinning from ear to ear.
It has been a challenging time for all our projects over the last few years. Our model of empowering and developing local leaders has proved to be the right one as we haven’t been able to visit any project since mid-2019. They have all continued to develop and meet the increasing needs of their communities under the committed leadership of our local directors, keeping connected with us through zoom calls.
A THUMBNAIL SKETCH OF OUR MALAWI AND KENYAN PROJECTS
- 400 children enrolled in our two primary schools
- 300 students enrolled in our high school
- 18 children enrolled in our new preschool
- Students sitting for government exams achieving a success rate of 77%
- 50 orphaned and vulnerable children living in our children’s residence
- 30 children supported while living with extended family members
- 50% of the food required grown by the project (maize, vegetables, fruit trees, bee keeping, fish farming).
- The medical clinic treats 500-600 people regularly and conducts health and vaccination clinics for under-fives.
- Over 400 children enrolled in our primary school
- 52 children enrolled in the early childhood centre
- 50 boarders staying in dormitories on the campus
- 30 families supported and trained in poultry care are given their own chickens at the end of the course
- Increased numbers of students enrolled in our technical college
- Home for teen mothers and their babies provides education and vocational training for the young mums while their babies are cared for
- Teacher PD programs in computing, child protection and financial management
Next month we will report on our Indian, Israeli and Local projects.
Volunteering is rarely glamorous and never easy, especially for those with many other pressures on their time. But few things count more when it comes to looking back on a life and being able to say, “I made a difference.” Beneath the clamour of self-interest a quieter voice within us whispers the deeper truth, that the greatest gift is to be able to give.
(Jonathan Sacks, The Power of Ideas)