Speaker Date Topic
Andrew Gai Sep 24, 2019
Protecting at-risk children through the Safe & Together™ Model
Protecting at-risk children through the Safe & Together™ Model

With its mission to create, nurture and sustain a global network of domestic violence-informed child welfare professionals, communities and systems, the Safe & Together™ Model is an internationally recognised suite of tools and interventions designed to help child welfare professionals become domestic violence-informed. Continuously refined through years of experience implementing the Model across the United States and other countries, it can help improve competencies and cross-system collaboration.

This child-centred model derives its name from the concept that children are best served when we can work toward keeping them safe and together with the non-offending parent (the adult domestic violence survivor). The Model provides a framework for partnering with domestic violence survivors and intervening with domestic violence perpetrators in order to enhance the safety and wellbeing of children.

Anglicare Victoria and VACCA are specifically trialling the Safe & Together model, through their A Better Way program, as the foundation for a flexible community-based perpetrator intervention program which can respond to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal fathers using violence against their families. The Men’s Therapeutic Practitioner role works within a culturally safe environment and include the provision of intake assessments, safety planning, individual contracts and goals, therapeutic counselling and tailored responses to the individual and family.

Andrew Gai is a youth and family support worker with Anglicare Victoria. He holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Youth Work) and a Master of Public Policy from RMIT University.

Andrew was born in South Sudan and migrated to Australia as a young refugee in 2006. Andrew co-founded the South Sudanese-Australian Academic Society Inc. (SSAS) Inc. He was recognised by the Friends of Refugees for the “Future Leader” category at the Refugees and Asylum Seeker Recognition Awards night during the Refugee Week 2016.

His community service began over 9 years ago, working with young people in school and residential care; refugees/asylum seekers; and disadvantaged families.

He is a member of the Regional Advisory Council to the Victorian Multicultural Commission on issues and challenges faced by people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds.

Sharing his knowledge and experience through public speaking, writing opinion articles and guest lecturing at RMIT University, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, Andrew provides deep insight to multicultural issues in Australia.

Cameron Glover, Deputy CEO Oct 01, 2019
Interplast Australia & New Zealand
Interplast Australia & New Zealand

Interplast is a fully accredited nongovernment organisation (NGO) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). Interplast is registered by the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) and is a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Code of Conduct.

Interplast was initially established in 1983 by the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in partnership with Rotary and is a company limited by guarantee.

For 35 years, Interplast has brought together teams of volunteers that have performed 26,000 lifechanging operations for 45,000 patients in 1,000 programs across the Asia Pacific region. Their volunteers include; plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and nurse educators, and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists, physiotherapists and speech pathologists. Together, they use a multidisciplinary approach across the full patient journey. Increasingly, Interplast’s key focus is on training and mentoring local medical professionals so that they can continue to deliver safe and effective surgery, post-operative care and rehabilitation in their communities for the benefit of future generations.

Local partners are at the centre of everything Interplast do. They have well established partnerships in the 17 countries in which they work to support repairing bodies and rebuilding lives.

As Deputy CEO, Interplast Australia New Zealand, Cameron’s role is responsible for overseeing fundraising and community engagement activities, strategic and operational planning and fostering lasting partnerships to ensure safe, timely and accessible reconstructive surgery and associated health services across the region.

Joel Jenkins, Operations Manager Oct 08, 2019
Victoria’s Statewide Cladding Audit

In 2017 the Victorian Government established a Victorian Cladding Taskforce to investigate and address the use of non-compliant building materials in Victoria. The Statewide Cladding Audit was established following the recommendations of this taskforce. https://www.vba.vic.gov.au/cladding/cladding-audit

The project's focus is on reducing the fire safety risk of buildings found to have combustible cladding – such as expanded polystyrene or aluminium composite panels with a polyethylene core. Buildings constructed after March 1997 that fall into the following classes under the National Construction Code are in scope for this review.

Since its origin, the taskforce has conducted over 2200 inspections.

Reporting to the Assistant Director – Cladding Operations, Joel leads a team of six direct reports, 19 indirect reports and more than 60 contractors to deliver the operations outcomes for the Statewide Cladding Audit.

Key activities include managing the scheduling, inspection and expert panels functions, providing advice to Municipal Building Surveyors, delivering continuous improvement to meet program goals and providing regular project reporting to the CEO and Government.

Shanaka Fernando Oct 15, 2019
Lentil as Anything
Lentil as Anything

Lentil As Anything aims to provide food without borders: without borders of race or gender, finance or social status. It is a multicultural, refugee-friendly, organisation and was registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission in 2000.

There are currently four Lentil locations, the first of which opened in 2000 in St. Kilda and the largest being located at the former Abbotsford Convent.  The most recent restaurant opened in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury in 2015, and seven other locations have opened and later closed in the group's history.

Lentil As Anything restaurants and grocery store have no set prices. Everyone is welcome to come for a meal and contribute in any way they can. Some people volunteer their time in the kitchen or on the floor, others leave a financial donation in one of the contribution boxes. All leave with the feeling that they are part of an inclusive community. Many of the people working at Lentil As Anything are volunteers.

Members of the community who volunteer for a meal, to learn hospitality skills, or improve their social or language skills. The under-employed, the homeless, refugees and the disenfranchised are all given an equal opportunity to gain skills and help their fellow humans at Lentil As Anything.

Shanaka Fernando is the founder of Lentil as Anything. Originally from Sri Lanka, Shanaka opened the first Lentil As Anything in 2000 and has been increasingly involved in projects addressing social justice issues. In 2007 Shanaka was awarded Australia’s Local Hero/Social Challenger at Australian of the Year Awards. He lives in Melbourne with his wife and four children.

Dr Gihan Jayaweera Oct 22, 2019
Pilot Program - Health Ninja Licence
Pilot Program - Health Ninja Licence

Gihan’s dream is to create a “Health Ninja Licence”. Similar to the “Pen Licence”, he hopes that this concept can also be integrated into the Australian school curriculum. Based on the idea that healthy kids become healthy adults, through the Health Ninja Licence, his aim is to create an Australia where all primary school kids leave school with internalised healthy habits that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

Over the last 2 years, Gihan has given multiple presentations to the 880 "Health Ninjas" at Glen Waverley Primary School (his old primary school).

These presentations are centred around the 5 most important pillars of health in Gihan’s eyes.

Pillar 1: Reduce Added Sugar

Pillar 2: Reduce Processed Foods

Pillar 3: Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Pillar 4: More Play, Less Screen

Pillar 5: Happiness

Each pillar consists of core knowledge believed to be essential to understand before these kids leave primary school. Gihan is slowly building a curriculum within each pillar. However, knowledge is only “potential power”. Based on the belief that knowledge is only power if coupled with "consistent action", together with the Principal of the school, Gihan has developed "Health Ninja Challenges".

The first 3-week Health Ninja Challenge based around reducing sugary drinks was a great success. It was a beautiful way for the Ninjas to take their knowledge about added sugar in sugary drinks and convert it into action (i.e. drink more water and less sugary drinks). The results were encouraging with positive feedback from the teachers, parents and most importantly, the children. Gihan is currently in the process of launching his second Health Ninja Challenge which will centre around "More Play and Less Screen Time".

Once the curriculum is completed, the exciting prospect of spreading the concept to more schools will be the next focus.

Gihan is a first-generation immigrant from Sri Lanka. In the context of civil war, his parents left a very established life in Sri Lanka to give Gihan and his brother opportunities they could only dream of. It took a lot for them to rebuild a life overseas. Gihan is immensely grateful for this opportunity and feels obligated and excited about the prospect of giving back to the community on a large scale. Having recently completed his qualification to become a General Practitioner, his next big venture is to take the concept of a “Health Ninja Licence” and spread it to every single primary school child in Australia.

In keeping with the theme of promoting healthy lifestyle habits, Gihan was a spokesperson for Cancer Council Victoria’s “13 types of cancer” campaign. This campaign aimed to raise public awareness about the evidence that being above a healthy weight, which can be attributed at least partly to added sugar intake through sugary drinks, can increase the risk of developing 13 types of cancer. He has also been a spokesperson for the “LiveLighter” campaign which involved encouraging General Practitioners to develop the skills needed to talk more frequently to their patients about weight loss and weight management. He has also worked with Diabetes Victoria to help emphasise the role that General Practitioners play in improving health literacy amongst patients with diabetes.

Jessica Trijsburg, Peace Scholar D9800 Nov 12, 2019
Rotary Peace Scholarship and Beyond
Rotary Peace Scholarship and Beyond

At Rotary Central Melbourne we are working in partnership with Australian Red Cross to design an ongoing approach to support Peace Scholarship applicants from their organisation.  We had the first applicant recommended by the D9800 panel this year and are keen to make this a bigger part of our Foundation goals in the future.

To help our members better understand the value of the program, we are fortunate to be joined by Jessica as one of our previous Peace Scholars to speak about the scholarship. Jessica will detail her own experience and achievements since.

Jessica was selected to be a Rotary District 9800 World Peace Fellow at the University of North Carolina between 2011 and 2013. Her area of expertise is multicultural interfaith dialogue and peace building, particularly between Muslim and Christian communities.

Jessica now works at Melton City Council as a Community Capacity Coordinator. She manages a team in the areas of community engagement, development, funding, leadership, and volunteering, as well as indigenous affairs and intercultural development.

Experienced in Community Capacity Development with a demonstrated history of working in the government and education sectors, Jessica is skilled in Intercultural Leadership, Community Engagement, Conflict Resolution, Research and Policy Analysis. With a strong community and social services background, Jessica has a key focus on reducing structural and social exclusion.

Jessica more recently organised the 2019 Intercultural Cities Australasia Symposium, an event exploring the opportunities and challenges of our time in the areas of interculturalism and diversity. Jessica also facilitated the participation of other peace fellow alumni from the Institute for Economics & Peace and the International Storytelling Centre.

Dr Murray Verso - District Director Foundation Nov 26, 2019