Quota Changeover | Lauren Owens talks about her visit to Tanzania

June is the annual changeover dinner when the retiring board is thanked for their dedication and service and the new Board is inducted.

Carolyn Rice inducted this year's new Board and presented each with a bouquet of flowers.

During the changeover it was revealed that $20,595 had been donated throughout 2018-2019 with the biggest amounts being spent on hearing systems for local schools.

Other recipients of Quota's fund raising include:

  • Life Education Van, Parkes Early Childhood's speech and hearing program, Southern Cross art program, and toiletry packs for women suffering from domestic violence.

As an added bonus on the night members were treated to an enlightening presentation by guest speaker, Lauren Owens, who told us all about her volunteering in Tanzania.

Lauren joined the volunteering group called International Volunteer HQ and headed off to Tanzania at the end of 2018 when she was 21.

Lauren worked in an orphanage which provides education for children whose families can't afford to send them to school.

She planned lessons and taught the children English and Maths.

There were 88 students when she left, a large number of them had lost one or both parents to HIV/Aids.

They are fed and clothed by the orphanage for school each day.

Despite their very difficult circumstances Lauren found the children to be affectionate, grateful and happy, and she found it very hard to leave them.

Lauren's story about the HIV Women's Empowerment Program was particularly interesting for Quotarians as part of our own charter is to empower women and children.

The women in Tanzania make clothing and beads to raise funds.

They bring all the women in the community together to better educate them both academically and in relation to feminine hygiene and safe sex practices.

The Imara women make washable and re-usable menstrual hygiene packs and they teach the girls and women how to use and wash them.

These packs can last up to five years and allow girls to stay in school, rather than being banished for menstruating.

Members of our own Club make these packs too and we have sent supplies to Uganda with Brooke Lees, Zambia with Daniel Greef and to East Timor with Bill and Evelyn Shallvey.

This is an ongoing project for our Parkes Club.

Back in Parkes, Lauren is a Student Learning Support Officer at East Parkes School and she has been accepted to study a Bachelor of Teaching starting next year.

Lauren intends to go back to Tanzania when studies and finances allow.

She said, "I have never experienced such a loving community.

The kindness and happiness packed into this gorgeous country is contagious."

For more information on Parkes Quota visit www.facebook.com/Quota-International-of-Parkes-Inc.