Board’s Activities 2019 -20

AGM of the Australian Board of the

Vellore Christian Medical College & Hospital

August 2019

The Annual General body meeting of the Australian Board of the Vellore Christian Medical College & Hospital was held on Saturday 24th August 2019 at Queen’s College, Parkville, Melbourne. The meeting commenced at 10.15 am. Stephen Aseervatham the President of the Board welcomed everyone and invited all who were present to introduce themselves around the table.

The following were in attendance.
Board of Directors –
Stephen Aseervatham (President), David Runia (Vice – President, Evelyn Lehmann (Secretary), Chellam Kirubakaran (Publicity Officer)
Board Members –
Cathy Chandani (QLD), Ian Olver (SA), Daryl Teague (SA), Meshach Kirubakaran (Alumni)
Viviane Harangozo (VIC), Neil Champion (VIC), Nancy Nicholas (VIC) – part of the meeting.

Apologies were recorded from Richard Caitens (Treasurer), Bella George (Past president), Renjy Nelson (SA), Sasanka Dhara (TAS), Robyn Bradley (NSW), Jim Richardson (VIC).

David Runia led the devotions. He based it on General Sir John Hackett’s book “I was a Stranger”. He read the bible passage from Matthew 25:31-46 and ended with a prayer.
Minutes of Previous AGM held Sat 25th Aug 2018 Adelaide were tabled by Evelyn. It was accepted as a true record of the proceedings.

Following Matters arising from previous AGM were discussed.

a) At the last AGM which was attended by Dr. J. V. Peter, we discussed with him about the possibilities about periodically sending some unallocated money to the finance department to be set aside as a reserve with them allowing it to cumulate and accrue interest, which is lots higher than what we get in Australia. It was believed that it could build up into a substantial amount over a period to be used later towards a cause of considerable magnitude. On principle it was thought to be a wise move and the director was happy to take up this matter with the executive and the finance department at CMC.
On returning home, after consulting with the Finance department, the Director informed us that due to the current FCRA requirements, this was not permissible.

b) Alumni and FOV: It was regrettably noted that there was very poor participation by the alumni in the activities of the FOV. This was discussed and it was decided that we should try and identify those among them who are keen to get involved in the FOV activities, encourage them and groom them to become leaders, in the near future.
Nevertheless, it was acknowledged that the Alumni are being very helpful with obtaining job placements for the CMC faculty in Australia and by the generosity shown in participation in their class projects.

c) State branches: It was noted that the Tasmania FOV has become non-functional and there was no easy solution to resolve it
Video conference with the Director JV Peter
JV Peter was kind enough to address the AGM via video hook up. He gave a running commentary on each slide; it was a thorough and stimulating presentation and was without doubt the highlight of our AGM.

Following the lunch break, various annual reports were presented.

Stephen presented a lengthy report in all the activities during the year. It is attached herewith.
In the absence of Richard, the Treasurer who was unable to attend, but was able to prepares the report, Stephen presented the treasurer’s report, with the balance sheet for the previous year and the budget for the coming year. It was passed by the Board
Chellam Kirubakaran, the Publicity Officer presented a report on the proceedings of the June 2019 Council Meeting, which she attended on behalf of the Board.
The State Reports were presented by NSW: Stephen for NSW, Cathy for Queensland, Ian Olver for SA and David Runia for Victoria.
Meshach Kirubakaran presented the report on behalf of the Australian alumni Association.
In General Business, Evelyn Lehmann presented the minutes of the Teleconferences held on 31st, July 2018 and 11th, June 2019.

Election of Office Bearers: The current office bearers were renominated and voted in to serve for another year.
President – Stephen Aseervatham
Vice President – David Runia
Secretary – Evelyn Lehmann
Treasurer/Public Officer – Richard Caitens
Publicity Officer – Chellam Kirubakaran
Appointment of Auditor/s – LNP Audit& Assurance, Brisbane have been reappointed

During Other Business:

a) Auditing of Account: The Board agreed that ideally the accounts should be audited before an AGM. Stephen was requested to talk to the auditors about it and the possibility of it to be done before the next AGM.
It was pointed out that based on the current turnover of our total donations, it puts us in the category of an ‘intermediate charity’ and thus there is no need to have our accounts audited but ‘reviewed’. There is a subtle difference in that it is less involved, costs less and takes less time. Thus, we will be requesting the auditors to do a review in future.
We will also try and find out from the auditors regarding providing us with a check list of documents required.

b) Constitution: It was agreed the constitution needs to be changed and updated in the near future.

c) Future of FOV Australia: It was agreed that we need a strategy plan. Stephen was requested to send an email to all the state branches asking for their input into the plans for our succession and future. It was discussed whether our future is going to be depended and based around Alumni / Elective Students / Social Media contacts / Indian based Churches.

d) Social media: It was the opinion of the Board that we should develop it as a tool to reach out to the wider population.
Next AGM will be in Sydney on 2020. The date to be decided based on the advice from the auditors whether they will be able to get the review of our accounts done before the AGM.

Meeting closed at 4.05 pm
                                                                                                                                                                                 Evelyn Lehmann
                                                                                                                                                                                 Secretary

 

President’s Report –  Australian Vellore Board  – 2018-19

The year gone past has been quite busy and, as the Australian FOV, we have achieved quite a few things. Firstly, I wish to thank every one of the Directors of the Board and members of the Board for all their contribution in making it a very productive year.

1. Visit to Australia by Drs. J.V. Peter and Jayanthi Peter.
The visit by the Director and his wife last year to attend the AGM was a very productive one. Apart from attending the AGM in Adelaide, they went around meeting the Friends of Vellore and Alumni in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide culminating with the Gala Dinner in Adelaide. Even though their stay was short they made the best used of their time interacting with the Friends and especially with the alumni. JVP gave a shortened form of the address he gave at the AGM to the state gatherings. People overall were very much taken up by his humility and dedication to his role.

2. January Council Meeting:

For personal reasons, I could not attend the sessions. It is unfortunate because one of the highlights of the visit to Vellore is the opportunity it gives for us to interact with the international FOV delegates, who usually come only for the January meeting. Ruth Tuckwell from UK sent us a report of the meeting of the FOV delegates. The important points raised were:

i) Emphasising the need for the recipients to respond to the donors about the receipt of the gifts as well as with progress reports.
ii) The FOVs to share with each other the information regarding the projects they are supporting at CMC to avoid duplication.
iii) The possibility of FOVs with large reserves to give loan to CMC for capital expenditures and the repayment to be kept at the finance department towards future donations from the respective FOV.

Some of the important Matters raised at the Council sessions:

i) Development of the Vellore Campus – Conversion of the old student nurses quarters into Operation theatres, ICU and wards
ii) Building projects in Chittoor Campus – Staff quarters, Women’s hostel & Chatram (facilities for accommodation for the patients’ families)
iii) Kannigapuram Building project – Building expected to be completed by September 2019, equipped by March 2020 and hopefully commence in July 2020.
iv) Student Admission update – CMC was allowed to choose their candidates in the traditional manner with the last batch of admissions for both undergraduate and post graduate courses, but not for the super specialities. Future – hopefully the same.

3. Alison Vickery Bequest:
After almost a year after we initiated negotiations with the Human Resources Department, finally the Allied health Professional Training fellowship in memory of late Alison Vickery has been approved by the council and the first candidates were chosen in July this year. Each year, two Allied health staff members will be each granted A$4000.00 to come to Australia for Educational / training purposes.

4. Transfer of Funds to Vellore:

Traditionally, as a rule we sent all the donations we received during the year to Vellore. In the past there were no government regulations which stipulated that we must nominate the purposes for which every dollar of our donations was sent. Recent changes to the FCRA regulations make it difficult for all concerned. CMC is very particular that we abide by the stipulated rules. We had extensive correspondence with JVP and Hugh and we have been advised that we transfer only the amount which have been designated or allocated for a purpose by the Board and keep the rest in reserve in Australia until such time there is a request from CMC to transfer it for a specific purpose.
We believe that for quite a few years, even before the current regulations were imposed, both UK and USA FOVs have been following that practice.

5. Combined Project by the International FOVs.

In my report last year, I mentioned about the communication between the USA and UK FOVs and us regarding the possibility of the three groups joining together in financing projects at CMC. At that stage it was just an idea and we didn’t expect we would be presented with an opportunity to participate in such a venture.

i. Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme.

We received a request from the Department of Ophthalmology at CMC to help them with establishing a mobile diagnostic unit which could travel to the peripheral units (RHUSA, CHAD, Chittoor & Jawadhi Hills) to carry out the screening. The quoted cost for the vehicle plus the equipment was beyond our funding capabilities. Other FOVs were also approached but were unable to help them on their own. We approached the USA and UK FOVs requesting whether they would consider sharing the cost with us. They were very glad to do so. We further asked CMC whether we could spread our contributions over three years to lessen the burden in a given year. The institution was very happy with the proposal. We will be contributing A$18,000.00 annually for three years. We are happy that the project is on the move and JVP is in particular very pleased about the initiative taken by the Australian Board in making it possible.

ii. Mission Department: KMF Hospital Kotagiri

As you are aware, a couple of years ago, CMC accepted the mandate to support struggling mission hospitals in India. The Department of Mission was established at CMC to undertake this task.
At present they are involved with three hospitals. The first one in Erode, Tamil Nadu. There have been some problems with that project and has not progressed very far. The Second one – KMF Hospital, Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu has been quite a success. The third one – Reynolds Memorial Hospital, Wasim is in Maharashtra. It is in the early stages.

The Mission Department has been looking for financial help to establish a diagnostic lab at Kotagiri. We received a request from UK FOV to join them in helping to achieve it. The Board of directors considered the proposal. In our communication with JVP, we are made to believe that the CMC administration would really appreciate FOVs helping with such projects at this stage as they themselves are unable to do because of the heavy financial restrains they are under, trying to service the huge loan taken to complete the Kannigapuram project. We were able to contribute the cost involved in purchasing an Automated Biochemistry Analyser. UK FOV was able to buy other items needed for the lab.

iii. Motor Vehicle for the Community Medicine Department (CHAD).

As most of you are aware, the mobile unit plays an important role in most of the outreach activities of the department. The current one is 20 years old and needs replacement. We were able to share with the FOV Sweden the cost of purchasing a replacement bus.

6. Yelagiri Retreat Project

Nothing much has happened since we talked about it last year. Recently on our prompting, Hugh has convened the committee and they have instructed the engineers to attend to it. We believe they have commenced erecting the boundary fence, which would cost 14 Lakhs. Hopefully things will keep moving thereafter.

7. Tasmanian FOV

We are informed by Sasanka Dhara, the current chairman that unfortunately the branch has become non-functional. This was something we were forewarned. The ones who have been carrying the burden of keep it going are aged and are unable to continue in their roles anymore. All out attempts to get the local alumni get involved has failed. Sasanka has promised to keep the branch going at least in name until we could come with a solution for it.

Thank you again. We look forward to another year and with God’s guidance, hopefully we will be able to achieve greater things for CMC, Vellore.

Stephen Aseervatham

Presented at the AGM 24th August 2019 

 

 
 
 
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