The Key 28 March 2016

Last Monday –21st March 2016

This week, the Rotary Club of Gungahlin had the pleasure of listening to Savannah and Francis – two young leaders who have recently completed the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) program. Savannah and Francis both spoke with a high level of enthusiasm and confidence and all present thoroughly enjoyed hearing from them.

Francis has been studying Information Technology and is an active member of the Rotaract Club of the University of Canberra. Francis has worked hard to overcome significant health issues and saw RYLA as providing a pathway for him to direct his energy and abilities into totally new environments. Savannah completed a BSc at ANU, with a double Major in Geography and has further awards – Bronze level in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, Queens Scout, Senior First Aid Certificate, Certificate in Adult leadership and Certificate III in population health. She is also an experienced member of the NSW and ACT Rural Fire Services. In 2015 she was working as a research assistant studying bird life in the National Botanical Gardens. After spending periods overseas, she is keen to move into further work among developing communities.

Francis spoke first and highlighted that he felt that the RYLA program was about building leadership experience, gaining self-confidence, and realising it is okay to feel vulnerable. He also touched on themes of overcoming fear, being aware of risk, and the difference between leadership and management.

Savannah shared that a key highlight for her was the opportunity to network with peers as well as the chance to engage with community leaders that people would seldom have the opportunity to talk to in day to day life. Savannah was thankful for the opportunity to hone her leadership skills further with RYLA and found the overall experience very valuable.

Both speakers were great examples of young leaders with the world at their feet who are great ambassadors for RYLA. If you know anyone who may be interested in the RYLA program, please get in touch with the club.

This Monday – 28th March 2016 – no meeting due to Easter Monday public holiday.

For the full edition of The Key, please click here: The Key 28 March 2016


The Key 21 March 2016

Last Monday –14th March 2016 – We had a night off for the Canberra Day public holiday.

This Monday – 21st March 2016 – we welcome to the meeting our two nominees for last January’s RYLA program – Francis Mikola-Quilty and Savanna McGuirk. Their pathways towards RYLA have been very different and we will be very interested in their feedback.


Saturday was a warm day for our regular Magnet Mart BBQ but the breeze made it easier. The trade was steady, but not exhausting, and the customers and passers-by were friendly. At least one seemed very interested in turning a sausage as a member of the Rotary Team in the future. Here Robyn, Terry and John are serving another satisfied customer




20160317This is the first collection of educational toys we’re sending to FOKUPERS to enable them to start Play and Learn programs in Timor Leste. A big thank you to all who supported this activity.

For the full edition of The Key, click here: The Key 21 March 2016

The Key 14 March 2016

This Monday – 14th March 2016 – No meeting due to Canberra Day

Paul Harris Fellow Nominations

Members are urged to submit PHF nominations to Terry and Bob by 15th May. Ideally we would like to recognise one club member and one person in the community. If you know of someone who has demonstrated the ideals of “Service Above Self”, consider nominating them for a Paul Harris Fellow.

Breast Pump Donation



Salma is a midwife at Calvary hospital who goes on midcall to new mother’s homes with the portable breast pump our club purchased last year. As you can see it is compact, light and easy to handle. The midwives were very happy to receive this most useful item.


Invitation – Fundraiser BBQ – Trek for Timor

12 March 2016, 7pm, TL Embassy – 7 Beale Cres Deakin

$25pp, family of 4 or more $50, students $10

Timorese satay, salad, desserts, soft drinks or BYO drinks

Please join us to welcome Libby Bleakley & Teresa Beck to Canberra to celebrate their amazing journey & achievements in raising funds for the Sentru Formasao ba Juventude (Learning Centre for Youth & Community in Timor-Leste).

President Sandra is attending the BBQ and has invited members to contact her if you would like to travel together.

For the full edition of The Key, click here: The Key 14 March 2016

How the dream began

In 2005 FOKUPERS, an NGO from Timor Leste (TL), requested support with skills building and setting up a crèche, a first Timorese early childhood service. Hearing about the request from YWCA Australia, I immediately offered my assistance. Over the years I made numerous trips to TL during which I became aware of minimal resources and services afforded to the development and education of very young children.

Timor Leste as our closest neighbour is one of the youngest but also poorest nations with 42% of population under the age of 14 and only 11% of children aged 3 to 5 attend pre-primary education.

Parents lack knowledge about the importance of children having a secure, stimulating learning environment from birth while poor access to essential services is lacking attention from the Government. Nurturing early years of learning and development will result in lifelong benefits to the child, family, community as well as the future of Timor Leste.

In 2015 I travelled with Sandra Mahlberg, then President Elect for Rotary Club of Gungahlin, which opened a great opportunity to tell a story of my passion and work in TL. Sandra invited me to share the story with the club with a potential to propose this as an International project for the Club.

Now, RC Gungahlin is in partnership with RC Dili and will provide professional and technical support, toys, funding and other resources to FOKUPERS, the Timor Leste partner organisation, to enable them to implement and manage the play based learning programs across Dili and districts of Timor Leste.

Utilising my professional background and networks in early childhood sector will ensure the suitable guidance with planning, training, provision of resources and monitoring is readily offered to FOKUPERS to strengthen the program.

The short term vision of this project is to establish Play and Learn programs across Timor Leste where children will have fun but also learn through play and where parents/carers will meet, participate in their child’s play and engage in community education on all aspects of child development and well-being. In the long term we need to ensure the program’s sustainability through Government commitment and a collaborative approach from other like-minded organisations.





After migrating to Australia from Croatia in 1970, Canberra is now home to Gordana and her family. Gordana has qualifications in early childhood education, community services management and in VET training and assessment. Gordana has worked in early childhood services in ACT and NSW. Apart from being a proud Rotarian, Gordana is also active in community based organisations such as Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Australia, YWCA of Canberra and Canberra Friends of Dili, with her main focus being women’s and children’s well-being.