Stephen Bromhead isn’t the only family member aiming to make a difference. The Myall Lakes MP’s wife, Sue will leave Australia on 24 February for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A registered nurse, Sue will be one of four self-funded Australian community development volunteers travelling to this central African hot spot to work on education and health projects under the auspices of Rotary Australia World Community Service and HandUp Congo, a small non-for-profit organisation that partner with Congolese communities on a range of sustainable social development projects.
“We will meet with scholarship recipients in the capital’s Congo Protestant University,” explained Sue.
“Most are funded by donors from other countries, so I especially look forward to becoming acquainted with the young woman who is the recipient of an Australian Rotary club’s scholarship, funded by Rotary Hunters Hill in Sydney.
“We will also tour the university’s medical school, where I am keen to learn about how this resilient university, which has survived more than 50 years of turbulent political and economic strife, is educating Congo’s future healthcare professionals.”
From Kinshasa the group will travel to Equateur Province, where they will embark in a dugout canoe for a 200 km, 17 hour journey covering three mighty rivers.
“Our destination is a riverside village where one of our group members, Lucy who now resides in the Manning Valley, lived as a child,” said Sue.
“Lucy is the daughter of American missionaries. Her father was also born in this village so it’s always a privilege for her to return and re-connect with old friends spanning three generations.”
The group will visit Lotumbe village projects including the new hospital latrines made possible by Australia’s Pink Umbrella Foundation www.pinkumbrellafoundation.com and the K-12 schools, which have been supported over the years by Manning Valley Rotary clubs and others.
“A big part of our mission is to explore capacity building priorities with community leaders,” said Sue.
“I’ve never been to Africa before and I’m really looking forward to being part of this Rotary team. It will be a great opportunity to learn a lot and to share some skills.”
Anyone wishing to support the Lotumbe Community Development Project may donate online and receive tax deductibility. Please go to https://donations.rawcs.com.au/Default.aspx?ProjectID=723&ReturnTo=4 and enter project number 20-2013-14. Proceeds will be used on needs identified by local leaders in collaboration with Rotary and HandUp Congo, for vaccinations, safe motherhood projects and school library books.