Parkes couple Evelyn and Bill Shallvey were guests at Quota’s last meeting.
Bill talked of the debt Australians owe the East Timorese for the tremendous role they played in helping the Australian troops in their guerrilla attacks on the Japanese during World War II in Timor and Evelyn updated us on their last visit earlier this year.
In East Timor some 40 Australians killed 2000 Japanese, thanks to the help of the locals, tying down significant numbers of Japanese troops.
Strong mateships formed and the Australians promised to support the Timorese when they left, promises which crumbled after the war when first the Portuguese took over and then later the Indonesians.
During the latter’s control the East Timorese endured 24 years of oppression and more than 20,000 were killed.
Sixteen years ago the Steventons from Peak Hill took a group to East Timor to see how they could help them and people from Peak Hill and Parkes have been going every year since.
The group always goes to Weberek, the village first identified as the poorest in the country, and helps with building houses and fences etc, training locals to do many tasks themselves and taking supplies of all kinds.
This year they were thrilled to be able to deliver the no longer needed furniture and equipment from the old Parkes Hospital which will be of huge benefit to these people.
They also took a large number of reusable sanitary kits made by our Parkes Quotarians which Evelyn told us they were thrilled to receive, as it means that females can go to school or work regularly, where previously they had to stay home when they had their periods.
Evelyn told us much about the life of the villagers and their problems and the work being done by the group, her talk accompanied by some excellent pictures.
It certainly brings home how lucky we are to live here as well as how much a small group of people can do to change others lives for the better.
Another small group – 15 in all – make a big difference to many people here in Parkes.
They are the Palliative Care volunteers who work with the seriously ill to make their lives better.
Each one brings different skills. One is teaching computing skills to a couple, one can give massages, another is taking down people's stories for example.
We welcomed the news that Kaye Lindsay, one of our members, has just taken over as Palliative Care Director from another Quotarian, Kitty Dwyer.
Kaye told us that as a result of a donation from Quota last year, she is working on a new computer program to improve their organisation, and also that they are soon to hold their first conference, also partly funded by Quota, which will be a chance to share others’ experiences and learn from each other.
Quota does much to help people who need it.
Most of you will have read of the sound systems we are putting in classrooms in our local schools which help not only the hearing impaired, but also their teachers and the other students for example, and we have to work hard to raise funds to enable us to do so.
So now we are hard at work organising our next major fund raiser, which will be the Quota Open Gardens on October 8, and we hope that you will all come along and enjoy the day with us, at the same time helping us to make life better for many other people.
If you would like to know more about Quota or if you would like to join us in our work, please call me on 0407 486612.