September - Quota's Service goes International

Written by Beris Pritchard, SPA Liaison

In previous decades, Quota International extended its service support internationally through CARE’s “Key to Development” Program and the UNICEF $10 “Save a Child” program supported by the Canadian clubs. (Read more here.) But in 1980, Quota International aimed to implement its own, grass-roots, international service program. Like the organization itself in the 1920’s, the formation of an official international service program took considerable time to turn it into a viable initiative.

Club-to-Club Program is Born

In 1983, President Joyce Fren appointed Past South Pacific Area Director Joan Dooley Chairman of the International Service Committee. Joan had previously visited the clubs in Sri Lanka and India in 1981 for their combined conference with a group of Australian members in Colombo. During that visit, New Delhi Club President, Vijay Pandit, described to Joan and the Australian members at the conference her “Vision Splendid” of her club building a home for destitute women and children. Upon acceptance of her role as chairwoman of the organization in 1982, Joan remembered this conversation and brought to life the Club-to-Club program which enabled Quota clubs in the developed countries to help clubs in developing countries realize their dreams.

Joan Dooley

Joan shared President Vijay’s "dream” and now had the challenge and opportunity to make it a reality as Quota’s official international service program. She started by writing to the Quota clubs in India, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and the Philippines (with a return-addressed envelope) seeking their input on projects they would like to establish and maintain through this new program’s funding. This was a new concept and perseverance was needed to attain the needed information, but to those clubs who had replied, Joan then mailed a roll of film with the request that it be used to photograph various aspects of their proposed project. While there were no problems with this request in the Philippines, in India it was quite difficult to find someone who had a camera in which to use the film!

Joan believed that up to that point the major weakness of the international service program was the absence of constructive discussion between Quota countries on the needs and interests of the others. Additionally, policies had not been developed to guide the creation of a plan of operation. Joan saw that the challenge facing Quota was to create a rewarding program which would help improve the standard of living for those in struggling countries, as well as provide a sense of fulfillment for the members of Quota clubs in those countries who saw and were trying to relieve the needs of their communities.

Refining the Club-to-Club Program

The projects thus nominated by the clubs in Sri Lanka, India, Fiji and the Philippines were put forward for discussion and approval by the delegates at the 1983 International Convention. The proposal was “area” based, with each Quota area deciding which club from those who nominated projects it would direct its service donations. A proposal was also made for the administration of the international service program to be arranged between the Quota Area Director and her clubs, and the recipient club concerned - NOT by Quota International. The goal in setting up the international service program in this way was to increase membership through international goodwill and understanding, while also developing fellowship and friendship between clubs. It did not take long for Quota clubs to arrive at an appreciation of this very visible, very personal, and very rewarding type of international service.

The International Service Committee report presented at the following convention in 1984 showed that the majority of Quota’s aid had been channelled to Sri Lanka following an appeal by the Colombo club to bring relief to victims affected by ethnic disturbances in the city (which were ultimately responsible for the dissolution of the club in Colombo). However, monies were directed to projects in other countries as well. The Philippine clubs of Dumaguete and Manila received financial aid from Australia, the United States, and Canada to assist with the education of deaf children. Fiji, because of its close ties to New Zealand and Australia, received its aid from those countries. Lastly, New Delhi received aid from clubs in Australia. The projects submitted by the clubs were aimed to provide support without heavy overhead expenses and crippling administrative costs; and the program’s goal was to provide a bridge of understanding of the struggles which existed in the communities of Quota clubs in developing countries.

The basic concept of the Club-to-Club Program had succeeded, resulting in its adoption as the international service program of Quota International. Ultimately, to provide uniformity and continuity, the administration and management of the program had to become part of the staff’s role at the International Office. From there, it was administered through the We Share Foundation, largely by Christy Herz during her time as a QI staff member for many years following.

Highlights from the Project that Inspired the Program’s Creation

Quota Home on Opening Day

Stepping back to the initial stages of Club-to-Club's organization, when Joan asked the clubs for Project suggestions in 1983, the only truly Quota project received was from the Quota Club of New Delhi; it was President Vijay Pandit’s dream of building the Home for Destitute Women and Children. The clubs in Australia whole-heartedly promoted and supported the New Delhi club’s project from the beginning, despite the many setbacks which arose.

First, land had to be found and the government was approached for support, but in 1984 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated which threw the government into disarray. A further setback occurred when Indira’s son was killed in a plane crash. Several attempts were made to find land, but despite the support received from other Quota clubs, it was not until a block of land at Faridabad was donated by New Delhi Quotarian, Pushpa Vadera. Donated to the cause in memory of her husband, building the home was then able to commence to make it become a reality. The “Quota Home” was officially opened on January 19, 1995, and was celebrated with a week of hospitality and festivities as organized by the New Delhi club under the direction of then Club President Indu Punj. In attendance were Past Presidents Beris Pritchard and Ilse Mitchell, Past South Pacific Area Director Joan Dooley, South Pacific Area Director Verna Stewart, and a large delegation of Quotarians from Australia.

Pushpa Vadera

Over the years, the Quota Home has continuously offered many classes, and through demand from the community and the continued support from Club-to-Club (now known as Hand-in-Hand World Service) the home structure itself has also been expanded. Included in the original “Quota Home” was a classroom in the basement which was able to serve 10 children; this has grown over the years to a number of classrooms able to serve over 100 children from neighboring villages. Sewing, knitting, computer and beauty classes for young women have been conducted for many years, and continue today. Even medical clinics have been conducted by visiting doctors through the efforts of the New Delhi Quota club. Lastly, service projects have been hosted there, like one in which sanitary napkins were created and packaged at the Home for village women who could not afford to buy them.

After 10 years, the Quota Home was bursting at the seams and a much-needed mirror extension onto the home was made possible by a $100,000.00 grant from the Meyerson Family Trust. The opening of this extension took place in 2005 with International President Mary Cotter in attendance, as well as Past International Presidents Beris Pritchard and Carolyn Stubbs, Area Directors Susan Schneberger and Carolyn Rice, and 50 Quotarians from Australia and the United States. Fifteen years later, the New Delhi club members are now in the process of creating an additional use of the Quota Home as a refuge for homeless girls.

Club-to-Club's Success Continues

The Quotarian Magazine, Vol. 73 #4, published in 1995, included in its leading article to members –

Person by person, you do make a difference. As Quotarians, you can be proud of your international service projects currently underway in developing countries around the world. And the Quota clubs coordinating these Projects in India, Fiji, Sri Lanka and the Philippines are grateful for your ongoing support. These Projects have a positive impact on the lives of the people they help and the Quotarians who provide the assistance.”

The clubs in the program at that time were New Delhi, India; Colombo, Sri Lanka; Ba, Fiji; and Manila, Iloilo, Cebu and Cebu South, in the Philippines.

The Club-to-Club Program was later re-named, Hand-in-Hand World Service program. As new clubs were organized in India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Suriname, so also grew the number of applications from clubs in those countries to be considered by the Board of Directors for financial support from the We Share Foundation as a Hand-in-Hand club. Now, almost 25 years after that article appeared in The Quotarian, the clubs in the Hand-in-Hand World Service program number 21 from India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Fiji, and Suriname.

Members who have traveled to these Quota countries from Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and our other Quota countries have learned not only the value of the support provided to these clubs through HIH donations, but have also had the opportunity to experience first-hand, the “international understanding and goodwill” which is such a large part of the philosophy of Quota International Inc., and has been experienced more thoroughly through Quota’s own international service work as established and recognized since 1983.

October – Final Centennial Series Article ….“Then and Now”

Want to print and distribute these messages to your club?  Click HERE to access the printable PDF archive of this series.