International Women’s Day Celebrations
2019 Zone NI01
This special IWD event promoting Balance, was hosted by Werris Creek VIEW Club, a small but very active club of 16 members, most of which don’t drive.
Eighty seven (87) members and guests from the Werris Creek, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah day and evening, Tamworth day and evening clubs and Manilla, met at the Werris Creek Golf Club. Members were made welcome with a cuppa and home-made slices which were provided by Werris Creek VIEW. Aboriginal, Elder Aunty Yvonne, gave the Welcome to Country.
The formalities commenced with Victoria from The Smith Family who stated that in Tamworth alone there are over 600 students being supported, with over half of those from single parent families. She gave an example of a mother and three children who were victims of domestic violence and their battle to re-establish themselves in another town. Without the support of TSF this family may well have been torn apart. She then answered questions from the floor.
Sharon, the mother of Learning for Life student Billy, and survivor of domestic violence, was the next speaker. Following the family breakup Billy was heading down the well-worn path to nowhere, acting out and wagging school. He was identified as a potential LfL student and was fortunate the have a couple of the Kamilaroi dancers as his mentors. As a result of his sponsorship, Billy was able to have his school uniform supplied, attend all school excursions and was eventually in the Gifted and Talented class at school.
In 2018 he was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s award and a $2000 scholarship which enabled him to go to university. He actually had the choice of three universities, however he chose UNE and has commenced his Bachelor of Arts. He now confidently does all the Welcome to Country at events held at the university. Sharon said she was so very grateful to the Smith Family and all VIEW Clubs and gave her heartfelt thanks for the support given to her son William Fraser of whom Sharon is so proud.
Both speakers were thanked by Tamworth Evening VIEW Club member Kay Swadling who actually taught both Victoria and Sharon during her teaching career and found the life story given by Sharon to be a particularly moving one.
The guest speaker was Drew Schofield, who was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at age 12. He said he has always had strong women influencing his life and following his diagnosis he wasted no time.
Although he had fears doubts and insecurities, he realised that he could not change his condition but he could own it and have no fear and have a go. His mates were very supportive, in fact a bit too supportive as he threw himself into everything, ending up with multiple broken bones.
He has always been active despite and in spite of having the condition and although now in a wheelchair as a result of a fall whilst playing sport two years ago, he walks cycles and swims every day. He says that being in the wheelchair, he has experienced humanity at its best.
He works as a realtor with Raine & Horne in Sydney (where the rest of the staff do the walking and he does the talking) and operates this from his home town of Nundle, where he now manages the historic Peel Inn which was won in a card game many years ago.
Drew married his best friend, Fiona, whom he met in Sydney who still works there during the week and comes home to Nundle for weekends. He drives a car, keeps active and manages well with stretching his muscles. While he is on no medication and has no pain, cramps in his muscles do cause him some difficulties.
He finished his presentation with the acknowledgment of women through the ages who have faced challenges and have had to fight for equality, and recognised that not all women in the world have the same opportunities and rights as Australian women. He thanked the members of the various VIEW clubs present for leading the charge to make a difference.
Kathy Challinor OAM
Publicity Officer TEVC
Guest speaker Drew Schofield