The Zonta Club of Port Macquarie demonstrates that a small group of women can make a big difference to people’s lives. Chrissy Jones chatted with Lesley Tomasulo to find out what good work they do, both locally and internationally.
What is the Zonta Club?
Founded in 1919, Zonta International is a global organisation of executives and professionals who seek to improve the legal, political, economic, educational, health and professional status of women at global and local levels through service and advocacy.
Zonta was first founded in Australia in the 1960s and Clubs have spread in keeping with the growth of Zonta around the world. Australia is home now to three Zonta International Districts. Together, they represent around 2,300 members in over 100 Zonta Clubs that are spread right across all states and territories.
Where does the Zonta name come from, and what does it mean?
The origin of the word ‘Zonta’ is derived from a Lakhota word, a language of the Native-American Sioux peoples, meaning honest and trustworthy. It was adopted to symbolise the combined qualities of honesty and trust, inspiration and ability to work together for service and world understanding.
How many members worldwide are there in Zonta?
There are more than 30,000 members belonging to more than 1,200 Zonta Clubs in 63 countries and geographic areas. Zontians all over the world volunteer their time, talents and support to local and international service projects, as well as scholarship programs aimed at fulfilling Zonta’s mission and objectives. The current International President, Lynn J McKenzie, is from District 16, Wellington, New Zealand.
Zonta International supports many projects. Tell us more…
Projects in 46 countries have provided scholarships and awards to women around the globe, and Zonta International has been a powerful advocate for change in our local and international communities, thereby transforming the world and women’s place in it.
Worldwide, 70% of the 1.3 billion poor are women. Zonta International is committed to expanding women’s access to skills training and income generating activities that lead to sustainable livelihoods and economic independence.
To this end, Zonta has supported programs that increase women’s access to financial resources and generate higher wages through the establishment of all-female micro-credit programs, technical skills training and improved techniques in the production and marketing of goods.
What does Zonta International aim to do?
Zonta International helps women overcome gender barriers to careers in traditionally male-dominated fields through the Amelia Earhart Fellowships and Jane M Klausman Women in Business Scholarships. Gender inequality in education, however, begins much earlier in life. Of an estimated 93 million children not in school, 48.4 million are girls.
During the 2012 – 2014 Biennium, two projects are being supported by the Zonta International Service Fund. The Liberia Fistula Program is being funded with US$1,000,000 to United Nations Population Fund and aims to prevent the occurrence of obstetric and traumatic fistula and a reduction in the use of harmful, traditional obstetric practices.
The second project is the Elimination of New Pediatric HIV Infection and Prevention and Response to Survivors of Domestic and Gender Based Violence in Rwanda, which is being funded with US$1,000,000 to United Nations Children’s Fund.
When did the Port Macquarie Club form?
The Zonta Club of Port Macquarie Inc was chartered in 1995 and meets on the 1st Tuesday of the month for an informal dinner. The current President is Lesley Tomasulo, owner of the Immersion Tea House in Wauchope. Lesley has been a member of Zonta for over 8 years. The Zonta Club of Port Macquarie Inc was the proud host club for the District 24 Conference, held in Port Macquarie in October 2011.
Tell us about the Port Macquarie Zonta Club. What do they do?
In 2011, the Club, with just 20 members, raised nearly $8,000 for both local and international causes. The Club is proud to support local women entering tertiary education, offering 4 scholarships in 2012, ranging from $500 to $2,000. As well as donating to our overseas programs, Zonta Port Macquarie is assisting women locally, by supplying breast cushions for ladies who have undergone breast cancer surgery, and donating funds and goods to the Woman’s Refuge and other worthwhile causes.
What are some of the fundraisers coming up?
The Club will be hosting a number of events over the coming months, including a member drive High Tea at the Immersion Teahouse in Wauchope on Saturday, October 6, and a Girls’ Night In function at a member’s private residence in Port Macquarie on October 26, to raise funds for breast cancer.
Zonta’s major fundraiser, the 2012 Craft Expo Port Macquarie, is a joint venture with the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie Inc. It will be held at the Port Macquarie Racecourse on the Oxley Highway, on Saturday 24 November, 11am – 5pm and Sunday 25 November, 9.30am – 3pm. There will be over 50 quality craft stalls, workshops and children’s activities, all under cover.
This is a not for profit community event, and all funds raised go to the Zonta Club of Port Macquarie and the Rotary Club of Port Macquarie’s local and club service projects. The major beneficiary from this year’s event will again be the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service – a community owned and operated search and rescue service covering the Hunter, Mid North Coast, New England and North West regions of New South Wales.
Each year the helicopter service performs over 1,200 missions, rescuing people from accident scenes and transporting critically ill patients from small, rural hospitals such as Port Macquarie Base Hospital to large tertiary hospitals, including John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. The service is provided free of charge for over 1 million people, covering a region of 132,000 square kilometres.
The entry fee to Craft Expo will be $5, with children admitted free. Come along and attend a workshop, buy quality items for friends or family or a unique Christmas gift, or perhaps treat yourself! If you would like to exhibit at the Craft Expo, or would like further information, visit the website at www.craftexpo.org
Zonta offers scholarships. How can readers find out about those?
The Zonta Port Macquarie 2013 Scholarship program has just been launched, with application forms and information available on the website: www.zontadistrict24.org Follow the links to Area 3, Port Macquarie.
If you are interested in attending one of Zonta’s upcoming events, wish to find out more about Zonta or are interested in joining the Club, please contact Lesley Tomasulo on 0409 441 416.