Quota members, clubs, and friends worldwide donated over Aus.$80,000 to meet desperate needs caused by disastrous flooding in Queensland, Australia, earlier this year. Quota’s Australian Flood Relief program began when Central and Western Queensland became inundated with flood water in December 2010 and January 2011, as rains overwhelmed the state’s river system and damaged many towns and cities. By the end of January, the city of Brisbane and South East Queensland were also devastated. In February, Cyclone Yasi hit North Queensland and the situation became the worst natural disaster in Queensland’s 200-year history. Every local Council in the State had communities that were declared disaster areas. From the beginning, Quota members asked “how can we help?”
The problem was immediate, and Quota’s worldwide network was ready to take swift action. A flood relief fund was set-up through The We Share Foundation, Quota International’s charitable arm. Donations were accepted from members around the world. One hundred percent of the donated funds went to direct relief for communities and the families affected, as the We Share Foundation covered the administrative costs of the program. The response was tremendous and heartwarming, and dozens of special needs schools and families in dire need were given direct assistance as a result. Quota South Pacific Area Liaison Beris Pritchard did a magnificent job overseeing the distribution of donations as well as their collection from members, clubs, and friends of Quotarians in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, the Philippines, India, Aruba, Canada, and the United States.
Beris, along with International President-elect Chris Tracey-Patte and South Pacific Area Director Karen Murphy (all three of whom live in Queensland), determined that special needs children should be the focus of Quota funds, as assisting women and children is part of Quota’s international service mission, and there were a number of schools throughout Queensland that had been devastated by the flood water or cyclone and had lost precious resources and equipment. The majority of funds donated were provided to special needs schools, but individual families in need were also given direct support. One school, almost destroyed by an inland tsunami, was given Aus.$8,000 to provide a teacher aide for individual and small group assistance to traumatized special needs children for three days a week for 24 weeks. The money will last until September. One Quota club learned of an invalid pensioner cooking on a camp stove in her badly damaged home and used relief fund donations to buy her a new stove and have it installed. A chaplain to the primary schools in one town requested funding to provide uniforms for children whose families couldn’t afford them and were too overwhelmed to ask for help. Another donation was sent to the McIntyre Centre, a Post School Options and Therapeutic Riding Centre for the Disabled. This center, on the outskirts of Brisbane, was completely wiped out and is working hard to get back into operation with community support. View a complete list of how flood relief funds were spent.
In the aftermath of an unexpected disaster, Quota’s international volunteer network became a worldwide relief network, enabling us to mobilize quickly and give funds for direct and meaningful service. Quotarians, through their caring and sharing, really do change lives!