Groups gather to hear about CWA work

CWA Sturt Group secretary Beryl Brain, Heidi Logemann and NSW CWA president Annette Turner present Wendy de Luca with a cheque to go towards her work in Nepal.

The Narrandera branch of the Country Women’s Association held its Facts Day, which was open to members from five CWA groups, last weekend.

“A Facts Day is where the president, the secretary and the treasurer visit and provide an update,” said Secretary of the Sturt Group Beryl Brain.

President Annette Turner, secretary Ann Adams, treasurer Ruth Cargill and vice-president Annie Kiefer were all present on the day.

The day was open to the five groups present in the Riverina; Sturt, Murrumbidgee-Lachlan, Hume, Riverina and Murray.

“We had representatives come from as far away as Tullibigeal. It’s a meet and greet and an information day. A lot of people never go to the State Conferences so the CWA President comes and visits the country,” Mrs Brain said. “It’s a matter of letting the ground roots members know what’s happening. What the CWA does is really a best kept secret.

“The CWA has just become a diamond sponsor of the NSW Rural Women’s Gathering in October, so $5000 has just been donated. $50,000 has been donated to the fires out at Dunedoo, and that was because a local CWA member went and approached the emergency fund. That was the seed funding for the relief fund.”

Not only was last weekend a chance for members of each branch to network and meet their state officials, it was also a chance to present a very special cheque. Every year the Country Women’s Association chooses a country of study and this year Nepal was chosen. Each branch holds an international day or night, usually getting local primary schools on board.

“Wendy de Luca came and spoke at our international evening. We were lucky to have somebody who had so much to do with the country.”

Ms de Luca is a CWA member, but also teaches at Charles Sturt University.

“I teach education. Each year we have opportunities to students to do their prac teaching in an overseas location. So for the last two years, and again this year, I’m taking groups of students to Nepal.”

“Having had recent experience working on projects in Nepal I’ve been able to talk to CWA groups about it. Narrandera were particularly enthusiastic and asked me to come and speak at their international evening.

“That’s the origin of the cheque, they raised funds on the night, and that’s going back to the small community where our project is based, in a town called Sindhuli in Nepal.”

Moved by the presentation, the Narrandera CWA branch spontaneously raised $500 towards Ms de Luca’s work in Nepal.

“The money will be used to buy equipment and resources for the local hospital and also for some education kits for kids who are starting school from poor families and they have to have assistance to buy their uniforms and other things they need for school.”

Mrs Brain was pragmatic about the CWA’s efforts.

“People just took it on board what Wendy does and it touched everyone, I guess. Country people are very giving. It’s moving how generous people are. It just needs something to drive it.”

Ms de Luca talked about her experiences with Nepal.

“Nepal’s a fascinating country. It’s a very ancient country, but in many ways they’re just starting to modernise. In the last 25 years or so there’s been great upheaval; they went from being an absolute monarchy to being a republic. Then no sooner had that happened there was a 20 year civil war that raged on.
It’s really only now in the last five to ten years that they’ve started to come out of that and really become a fully modern democracy. So lots of things are only in their infancy over there, like democracy, representational government, and at the same time they’re trying to compete globally. It’s very much a country with lots of resources and opportunities, but their big task is to modernise and Westernise.”

“Many of them see that the best way to do that is through education for their kids. A big focus is on learning English so that they can be part of a global community.”

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