Melbourne based charity, Spirit of Sharing, will be sending a 12-metre container load of much needed medical, sporting and educational equipment to Fiji in the coming month. The shipment will include used rugby gear donated by the RaboDirect Rebels Players and Box Hill Rugby Club, which will be distributed to needy people in Fiji, where rugby has a keen following.
As part of the RaboDirect Rebels’ 5-Star Engagement program, the Club’s strategy to develop close ties with schools, local clubs and charities, team clothing and equipment will be donated in recognition of the major role the Pacific Islands play in both Victorian and Australian rugby.
The RaboDirect Rebels will be working in partnership with a number of non-profit organisations to deliver these goods to Fiji and Tonga over the next 12 months, and will offer ongoing support in a variety of other ways too.
Peter Cole OAM, founder of Spirit of Sharing, says: "The equipment we are delivering personally makes the world of difference to the lives of many in Fiji. I have been going there for 12 years now, sending shipping container-loads of all sorts of equipment and distributing it.
“I was inspired to begin this work when I saw children playing rugby with coconuts, and using empty plastic bottles as soccer balls. I have memories of smiling faces that will stay with me forever.
“Since its inception, Spirit of Sharing has delivered sporting equipment kits to more than 300 schools on 10 islands, supplied $500,000 worth of medical equipment to needy hospitals, built school dormitories, and installed water tanks. Our next major project is the construction of a medical centre on the Yasawa Island of Fiji.
“We believe we are making a real difference to the lives of many.”
Box Hill is the first local Rugby Club to offer their support and is a key driver of the initiative due in part to their success in winning over $6,000 from the RaboDirect Conversions For Clubs Program.
“Box Hill Rugby Club is engaged through our strong multicultural playing group with players not only from Australia, Europe and Africa, but a significant number of players from our neighbouring pacific islands such as Samoa, Tonga, Fiji and the Cook Islands to name a few,” said Box Hill Director of Rugby Chris Swaine.
“As hosts of the Manu Samoa Rugby Festival, Melbourne Fijian Rugby Tournament and the Pacific Island Rugby Festival, we have a proud tradition of supporting our wide and diverse rugby community.
“The RaboDirect Conversions for Clubs program was highly successful for us and allowed the club to replace and acquire much needed equipment. Instead of throwing it away we decided that we would work alongside the Rebels and Rotary to donate equipment and playing gear to our Pacific Island neighbours as a means of continuing to support the great game of Rugby."
Clubs are encouraged to collect gear over the next two weeks and deliver to Visy Park during regular business hours, or contact Cameron Yorke on (03) 9221 0725 or via e-mail at email@example.com to arrange a pick up before July 18.
For more information please go to www.spiritofsharing.com.au.
*Spirit of Sharing is governed by a board of 10 Rotarians from various Rotary Clubs across Melbourne.