Posted on May 01, 2020

Rotarians and friends of Perth Rotary.

The gradual loosening of the restrictions and the special COVID-19 measures find us excited with the thought that soon we will all get back to our much missed Rotary meetings at the Westin. However, it will be seriously considered that our ZOOMIN sessions continue on a periodic basis as they engage a wider audience and provide us all with an exposure and learning that goes far beyond the limits of our Friday Rotary meetings. 

A great example of that is this week’s ZOOMIN meeting where we “travelled” to Victoria to meet our very special member and Chairman of Tabitha Australia Mike Gurry AM. Mike is originally from WA but he is currently spending most of his time in Victoria and as it was very hard to have him in our Rotary meetings, now thanks to our ZOOMIN sessions, we were able to have him “live” with us!

During his successful corporate career, Mike Gurry was on the helm of some of the most important business names in Australia and member of the Board in a long list of organisations. However his determination to make this world a better place for those in need, inspired him and his better half Corinne to provide relief to those in need in Cambodia through a variety of projects.

In his presentation Mike unfolded the dramatic history of Cambodians through the bombings of their country, the political radicalism and the absolute poverty as the result of that unstable environment. What describes best the level of despair in the lives of these people is that families have to “sell” one of their children to save the rest of the family.

Mike and his volunteers have managed to bring back the smile to the faces of thousands of Cambodians by building houses, helping build schools, support orphans and victims of human trafficking, and providing a sustainable future for the families through the Animal Bank, a program that enables poor families to raise animals for food and sale.

In his trips  Mike has taken volunteers from our Club, among other non-Rotarians  and even the West Coast Eagles players have joined that common effort and the total outcome is more than 800 houses and 12 schools built since 2010.

Due to the current restrictions and their impact to the teams of volunteers wanting to travel to Cambodia, Mike presented the alternative of the Animal Bank: $1,000 can buy one cow which can take up to 10 families out of poverty! Mike’s goal for the next 12 months is to build up 10 herds of 10 cows each, so that 1,000 families exit poverty!

That idea inspired our Club to start immediately the “Buy A Cow” fundraiser and only in a few hours our ZOOMIN participants raised $600!

In a separate announcement we will make the formal commencement of this fundraiser which will be running - at least - till the end of the current Rotary year.  

The highlight of that night was the presentation of Mike Gurry with a Paul Harris Fellow, single sapphire for his tireless contribution to Rotary through his projects. I’m extremely pleased to say that Perth Rotary must be the only Club in WA if not in the country having performed a virtual Paul Harris Fellow presentation and this is mentioned only as an indication that our Club will never stop progressing and even the challenges will be considered as opportunities that bring us closer to our scope and mission.

I’m inviting you to support the “Buy A Cow” fundraiser for the poor Cambodians by donating any amount towards our goal to buy our first Perth Rotary cow in Cambodia and make later on  a Perth Rotary herd! Please transfer through the following link:

Let’s join our forces to make this world a better place today!  

Yours in Perth Rotary

Warm regards

Vangelis Katsaitis
Perth Rotary President 2019-2020