Welcome to our weekly newsletter
This week we welcomed our guest Chris Campbell, formerly Swansea Bay Rotary Club and our speaker Liz Odell from Shelter Box and Nailsworth Rotary Club. We also welcomed back Sue Pietersen after her trip to New Zealand.
22nd January – Marvyn Rees is speaking at the Bristol Rotary Club lunchtime meeting at the Bristol Hotel.
24th January – Training on the use of My Rotary at Redmaids High
2nd February – Antony Alderson gave details of the final of the Rotary Avon Young Musician of the Year competition being held in the new hall at RedMaids High School on Friday 2nd February. Tickets now available.
8th Feb - Tim Brook – District Quiz
12th February – Ken Broad’s 100th birthday - Who is going? Anyone else who wants go to please contact Tony
17 February – Birdwatching Trip on the River Exe. Last call for club members.
9 March – Roger Barnard has organised a skittles event at Kingston Seymour (dependent on sufficient interest)
16 March – Bristol Rotary are organising a fund raising Dinner £35 per head to raise money for their Meadowvale project
7 April - Roger Key Know Your Blood Pressure – contact Roger
28 April – After Dark – Fundraising dinner for prostate Cancer Appeal
4th to 6th May - President’s weekend on the Gower peninsula
Introduction to our speaker
Our speaker this week was Liz Odell a Rotarian and volunteer with Shelterbox who has worked in the Rohingya refugee camps and told is of the crisis taking place.
Shelterbox and the Rohingya Refugee Crisis
The government of Myanmar, a predominately Buddhist country, claims the Rohingya people are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh and has denied them citizenship, leaving them stateless. The Rohingya - who have their own language and culture - say they are descendants of Muslim traders who have lived in the region for generations.
The systematic discrimination against the Rohingya people has left them living in deplorable conditions and segregated, with limited access to schools, healthcare and jobs, according to Amnesty. The UN has described the latest mass exodus of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar as "the world's fastest growing refugee crisis" and "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing".
A wave of refugees began fleeing the country in late August after Myanmar's response to an attack by Rohingya militants on more than 20 police posts that the government said left 12 members of the security forces dead. Amnesty International said security forces then went on to carry out a "targeted campaign of widespread and systematic murder, rape and burning".
There were reports of sexual violence against Rohingya women and entire villages being burned to the ground. More than 600,000 people have fled the violence, bringing the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to around 900,000.
The Myanmar government said at least 400 people have been killed, describing most of them as "terrorists". The UN estimates in September put the death toll at least 1,000. Many Rohingya have died making the journey from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Some have been attacked. Others have stepped on landmines. Hundreds have drowned.
THOUSANDS IN DANGER
Around 655,000 people have entered Bangladesh since August, and many more continue to arrive each week. After the worst flooding that Bangladesh has seen in decades, these families are being forced to set up makeshift camps in crowded conditions. They are extremely vulnerable, having already experienced severe trauma. Many left their homes with nothing and we know that they desperately need shelter, lighting and water. Now cyclone season is on the way and could wash away the flimsy shelters, leaving thousands in danger once again.
Shelterbox is supporting 4,000 families with blankets for warmth, tarpaulins, rope for shelter, solar lights and water carriers, which allows them to collect essential drinking water. They are impatient to send aid - wherever they are needed in the world - but need your help. Shelterbox is working with Rotary contacts, authorities and other aid organisations to understand how best to help those who have lost everything.
ShelterBox volunteer, Liz Odell has been to the crisis refugee camps and speaks from her own experiences. She says at Cox's Bazar, "Conditions are dire, most people are living in flimsy plastic shelters, they have no possessions - just the clothes they were wearing when they left Myanmar. Once cyclone season arrives, those shelters will wash away."
See this video of Liz click here for video
Next week's meeting
24th January - tba
31st January – Nick Elston – Talking Anxiety – HERE
7th February – David Innes-Wilkin – sailing around Greece (and some greek jokes…!)
14th February - (Business Meeting) (Feedback from Martha Dommet on her visit to Kenya)
21st February – Ollie Kohn – Jolly Hog and Sausage
Join the club...
Membership is currently open if you would like to join our friendly pro-active group!
If you'd like to come along to a Wednesday morning meeting please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are booked into BAWA on Southmead Road, Bristol for a 19:00 kick-off.