President’s Report

by Ian Olver

at the AGM of the Australian Board  of the Friends of Vellore, August 2014.


As I complete my second term and 6 years as President as part of 12 years on the Australian Board I reflect on what a privilege it has been to have had this opportunity.  I have met many dedicated people both in Vellore and amongst the Friends of Vellore groups around Australia. The greatest joy has been the relationships that are formed over the years as Indian doctors and other health workers and their families have been trained in Australian Hospitals. I place far more importance on that than the quantum of funds raised.

I reported in an article on the Australian FOV website, the CMC Council Meeting that I attended in January. The big project in Vellore is the development of a new campus at Kannigapuram, in addition to the continued development of the Chittoor campus. CMC have been blessed with unique opportunities to spread its healing ministry. In addition there was the dedication of new facilities on the main campus including a playground, a gym and a mobile blood unit. On the College campus the new Bioethics Unit was dedicated.

There have been a couple of projects over my time on the Board for which I have particularly advocated. One was the modernisation of the website, which a new web developer and the publicity officer Stephen Aseervatham?s hard work brought into being. It includes the ability to donate on -line which is already bearing fruit. The other was to try to complete state and territory representation of FOV around Australia by encouraging the formation of a group in Western Australia and this year the Northern Territory. These are fledgling groups and the start will be slow but the enthusiasm of the NT group who we met with at last year?s AGM was undeniable, and bodes well for their future. It was fitting that last year?s AGM was aligned with the Alumni conference who serve the same cause, and the special guest was the then new Director of CMC Sunil Chandy who had previously trained in interventional cardiology in Adelaide.

The project identified by the Directorate to which we were asked to contribute this year in addition to our routine support was the making of the next generation of promotional DVD?s. This time Tim Nicholls, the filmmaker from Currawong Productions who made the last DVD, will make multiple short films to profile several specific activities of CMC. The Australian FOV will contribute to part of this project and other FOV groups have expressed their interest in adding to that support.

Over the last 12 years I have been pleased to be able to visit each of the FOV groups but it was a particular privilege this year to be asked to speak at the FOV Victoria dinner in Queens College. I also want to acknowledge how invaluable the support of the Executive has been to me over this past year. Stephen Aseervatham?s detailed knowledge and hard work is evident in the website. Liz Guiver has produced excellent and timely minutes and Richard Caitens has been the rock solid treasurer who can be relied upon to ensure that the donated money reaches its intended projects.

It seems over multiple visits to Vellore I am seeing circles completed. In January Jenny and I will be attending the wedding of Tina the daughter of Raju and Selva Chacko, who we trained in oncology and oncology nursing in Adelaide when their daughter was a little girl.

During our visit to India last January we finally got to visit the house in Tindivanam where it all started with 3 men seeking help from a young Ida Scudder. The house is badly in need of restoration. Is there a future project there?

I have always been aware of the hand of God at work at CMC but I am also in awe of the same guidance driving the many dedicated people who serve with the FOV groups in Australia and have made my time on the Board such a special experience. I am very confident to be handing over to Bella, who visited Vellore in January and will bring a detailed background knowledge to the role.

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