Victoria

Patron:

Mr. David Price OAM

President:

Prof. David Runia
Email: [email protected]

Vice President:

Rev. Colin Honey
Email: [email protected]

Secretary:

Mrs. Viviane Harangozo
Email: [email protected]

Treasurer:

Heidi Winnen
Tel: 0400 870146
Email: [email protected]

Newsletter Editor:

Dr. Nancy Nicholas
Email: [email protected]

Events Coordinator:

Ms. Evelyn Lehman

Committee Members:

Ms. Evelyn Lehmann
Mrs. Louise Joy
Rev. John Connan
Mr. Jim Richardson
Prof. Lynette Joubert

Address for Correspondence:

3 Fallon Street
Brunswick Vic 3056

Address for Donations:

P O Box 81N
Armadale North
Victoria 3143

 

The AGM of the Victorian FOV – 2017

The AGM of the Victorian Friends of Vellore was held on the afternoon of Saturday 16th September 2017 at Queen’s College, Melbourne University, Victoria. The meeting was well attended, with about 30 friends present, some for the first time.
The guest speaker was Dr Niranjan Thomas from the Department of Neonatology, CMC who is spending a sabbatical at the University of Melbourne.
He spoke about the research that he has been carrying out at Vellore over the past ten years in Low cost innovations in new born care. It was enthralling to hear about some of his innovative solutions for chilling babies with asphyxia. All present were fascinated and most impressed by what he has achieved.
All the current office bearers were re-elected for another year. Professor David Runia in his presidential report gave a comprehensive account of the all the activities of the Victorian branch during the past year.

President’s Report – Prof David Runia

 

 

The annual report of a not-for-profit organisation such as the FOVV should resemble the Roman god Janus. It must look forward as well as backward. It is logical to start with the retrospective glance first, not confining ourselves to the financial year proper, but going through to today for reasons that will soon become obvious.

One of the achievements of the past year is that the committee took a good look at the guidelines for its work and brought them up to date. This was not a great achievement in itself and to place any emphasis on it is maybe risking the impression of navel-staring. I mention it at the outset because it very usefully sets out our aims and objectives in a number of bullet points.

The first of these is to promote interest in and knowledge about the work of the  Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Vellore. Perhaps the most important vehicle for achieving this aim is our annual fund-raising dinner. It was held in August 2017, 15 months after the last one in May 2016, at our usual venue, the Junior Common Room at Queen’s College. The reason for the delay was in order to have Mr Hugh Skeil, Director of Development at the CMCH, and his wife, Dr Debbie Skeil, as our guest speakers. The dinner was a sell out and greatly enjoyed by all present, who not only enjoyed the advertised ‘flavours of India’, but were also brought right up to date about the exciting developments taking place in Vellore. The fund-raising aims of the dinner too were well achieved. The committee will have to decide whether it is better to hold the dinner in May or in August, and whether we should continue to hold it at Queen’s College.

Another important vehicle for spreading the good work about CMCH is through our Newsletter. Two informative issues have been produced in the past year. It has to be said that this has proved a real challenge for those involved. The suggestion has been made that other ways could be found to do this publicity and public relations task, but no viable alternatives have so far emerged. The answer perhaps is to seek collaboration with other state groups and perhaps receive assistance from Vellore itself.

A second central objective of our group is (quoting the objectives again) ‘to organise financial support for the work of CMCH, particularly as it relates to the disadvantaged and destitute members of Indian society’. As the Treasurer’s report will show, we have been able to send nearly $50,000 to India during the past financial year, a very creditable performance. There was a strong emphasis on supporting projects in the area of education, especially relating to scholarships for disadvantaged students, but donations were also given to the Development Department Emergency Fund and for the improvement of facilities for the needy when making use of the Hospital. Regrettably the initiative of the annual giving campaign started last year could not be continued this year due to the President’s absence abroad. But it will be important to put it back on the agenda for the coming year. I would like to thank all our donors for their very considerable generosity in supporting the various projects. Almost every dollar that is given finds its way to India and to those who really need assistance. This is a feat of which we can be proud.

A further aim of our group is to facilitate contacts between Vellore and Australian medical and research institutions. This we continue to do, making use of the contacts that are available to us and cooperating with other bodies such as the E W Gault Trust at Queen’s College, which will be assisting a Vellore Allied Health graduate later this year. In recent years, it has been a matter of concern that the presence of CMC alumni in our group of friends has been reduced. I am fully convinced that the FOVV will only flourish in the coming years if we work together with the alumni and receive their support. After all, they are the ones with the closest emotional connection with the College. I am very pleased to say that I have had excellent contact with Dr Meshach Kirubakaran (Mildura) and through his efforts there was a table of alumni at the dinner. The contact with the alumni remains a work in progress, but I am much more hopeful on this score now than I was this time last year.

Another objective of the FOVV, according to our new guidelines, is to work closely with the Australian Vellore Board in the carrying out of their financial and other responsibilities. This aim has again been amply fulfilled during the past year. Indeed, two members of the executive of the FOVV are now also members of the AVB executive, which fact in itself virtually guarantees effective collaboration. It is an exciting development that after many years of working behind the scenes, Dr Stephen Aseervatham has recently been elected President of the AVB. He is an alumnus who not only has a great love of the College but also is intimately connected with its workings. Under his leadership the AVB enters a new and exciting era.

As foretold in my report last year, I retired from the role of Master of Queen’s College at the end of 2016. I carried out my promise to brief my successor, Dr Stuart Gill OAM, and it is most pleasing to report that he fully supports our work and wishes the connections with the College to remain strong. We appreciate that he attended a committee meeting and the annual dinner, on the latter occasion accompanied by his wife Heather. None of the achievements of this year would have been possible without the hard work of the committee. With my own move to Ocean Grove, the geographical spread of its ten members has only increased, with but three of the ten members living in Central Melbourne. We were only able to meet on three occasions in the past year, with one meeting having to be cancelled on account of my absence overseas. It has been agreed that meetings should not be held too often, and that we should make creative use of modern communication methods in order to overcome the ‘tyranny of distance’, to cite an over-used phrase but one that may be excused in these halls so dear to its author.

It remains for me to thank the committee most warmly for the generous donation of their time and creative energy during the past year. I mention in particular our tireless secretary Viviane Harangozo, our faithful treasurer Heidi Winnen, our bustling events coordinator Evelyn Lehmann and our meticulous newsletter editor Nancy Nicholas, but all the other members are most emphatically included. One person deserves a sentence all to herself: a huge thanks to Louise Joy for all her efforts on behalf of FOVV. All of us are
committed to and have been inspired by the splendid work being done in Christ’s name in Tamil Nadu. I am most grateful that most if not all members will be continuing next year.

David Runia, President FOVV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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