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Youth Exchange changing
lives in Argentina
During her last year as a 16-year-old Rotary Youth Exchange student, Charlotte
Burgess travelled from her quiet rural community near Drury, NZ, to a very
different world in Alta Gracia, Argentina.
A project initiated by Charlotte while in Argentina is now nearing completion
and will significantly benefit the children at the Rector Avanzi Preschool in Alta
Gracia by adding an outside shelter.
The school, in a very poor neighbourhood, had been established in an old
slaughterhouse that hadn’t been well cleaned and had almost no materials or
resources. With only one room, classes had to be taken outside in the heat and
dust of summer and the cold of winter.
After visiting the school Charlotte was determined to make a difference.
“The preschool is in an area known as ‘Knife Neighbourhood’ due to how
dangerous it is. The majority of kids born there will live there for the rest of their
lives, just like their parents,” Charlotte said. “The school is giving these kids the
chance to get educated and get a job and make a new life for themselves.”
Teaming up with the local Interact club, Charlotte and the Interactors built and
painted chairs for the children and delivered them to the school.
“The look on the teachers’ and kids’ faces when they saw us walking in with
the colourful chairs was amazing,” Charlotte said.
She also saw the opportunity for a larger project to construct a shelter on
the side of the school building to protect the children from the weather while
in their outdoor classes. Charlotte won the support of her host Rotary Club of
Alta Gracia for the project and contacted her sponsor district 9920 to get more
support for the project and its initial fundraising target of $14,000.
Impressed by the caring and compassionate heart of this young exchange
student, many Rotary clubs joined with Charlotte and her family donations. The
target fundraising is now almost completed with the last few hundred dollars
The project is expected to commence shortly and on completion will
demonstrate what one young student can achieve within the framework of
Rotary Youth Exchange with Rotary’s help.
New Zealand Rotary Youth Exchange student Charlotte Burgess is making a
difference to the students of Rector Avanzi Preschool in “Knife Neighbourhood”
Alta Gracia, Argentina.
Jerry Casburn, D9520
Jerry joined the
Rotary Club of
St Ives, NSW, in
1991, serving in a
number of board
positions. In 2005
Jerry relocated to
Adelaide and transferred to the Rotary
Club of Unley. He became president
of the club in 2008-09 and continued
in that office in 2009-10. During 2010-
11 and 2011-12 Jerry was assistant
governor in District 9520 for the Group
5 clubs. This was followed by a year
spent jointly as district secretary and
district governor nominee. Jerry’s wife
Briony is also a member of the Rotary
Club of Unley, currently serving on the
board as community service director.
Moorthy Karuna, D9550
the Rotary Club
Sunrise, Qld, in
2003 and served
the following year. He was a board
member for six years, including
president in 2007-08 . Moorthy also
served as assistant governor Group 6A
in 2010-13. Attending Rotary meetings
in New Zealand, Japan, India and Sri
Lanka and the 2012 Rotary Convention
in Bangkok, Thailand, has given
Moorthy a broader insight into Rotary.
He also participated in the 2013
Rotary National Immunisation Day in
Chandigarh, India. Moorthy and wife
Kapalini have three children.
Craig Edmonston, D9570
Craig has served as
mayor of Emerald
president of the CQ
on the Executive
of the Queensland Local Government
Association. At the community level
Craig has been president, secretary or
treasurer of numerous organisations,
however, his special interest is Rotary.
Craig’s Rotary highlights include
partnering his wife Judith Henderson
during her year as district governor,
polio immunisation and various projects
in India, attending international
Conventions and supporting programs
aimed at developing youth to become
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