The Rotary Club of Essendon has a proud history of supporting local and international projects.  We support Rotary International initiatives such as the $500m+ project focused on eradicating Polio, which to date has achieved a 99% global reduction in the incidence of polio through the immunisation of 2.5 billion children in 125 countries.  We also conduct our own local and international projects, including:




Bahay Tuluyan is a non government organisation working with street children in the Philippines. It provides social services including food, medicine and shelter to many street children. 

The children served by Bahay Tuluyan, broadly categorized as ‘children in need of special protection’ fall into the following sub-categories:

Street children; sexually abused; physically abused; psychologically abused; exploited; maltreated; neglected; abandoned; orphaned; working children; children in conflict with the law; prostituted children; trafficked children; and, children whose rights are at risk of being abused. 

Bahay Tuluyan was originally established in 1987 to serve the street children who flooded to the red light districts after the Marcos regime ended. Since the founding of Bahay Tuluyan, the situation of children in the Philippines has improved significantly.

The Rotary Club of Essendon has supported Bahay Tuluyan since 2005.  The Club has provided funding for a Junior Health Workers program, a Theatre and Arts project, a Youth Environmental Stewards program, shipping containers of goods for the children and the building of a house and recreation centre.  A delegation of club members, family and friends has visited Bahay Tuluyan each year since 2005 to maintain our relationship and monitor the progress and effectiveness of the projects and initiatives we have supported. Our latest accomplishments include the completion of a toilet and wash room at the Emergency Crisis Centre and the construction of a new guest house which is now run by the graduates of our programs, in turn raising vital funds for further initiatives.


The Rotary Club of Essendon have established partnerships with the Rotary Clubs of Manila Maynilad Seafront, Los Banos Makiling and Manila Metro in the Philippines and, locally, with the Kangan Institute.  We have also been able to leverage the financial support we provide by obtaining matching funds from Rotary International and our local Rotary District (District 9800).






Our association with Kenya began in June 2008 when a Club delegation traveled for the opening of a sewage treatment plant and new school at Embulbul. The treatment plant was completed in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Karen which is located in the vicinity of the Mukuru Slum which houses some 700,000 people. Our September 2013 delegation visited the Ruben centre, a combined school and medical facility which also provides services for some of the residents of the Mukuru slum.


The 2013 delegation attended an evening meeting of the Rotary Club of Karen where a sister club agreement was signed with our Kenyan friends which may lead to future cooperative projects.

One of our newest members and former member of the Rotary Club of Karen, Connie Maina, played a vital part in the success of our original Kenyan activities. Through Connie’s continued efforts, two new projects have commenced in Kenya and these were visited in 2013. ‘New Hope for Widows and Orphans’ provides education for a group of 22 children and we met with these children and heard first-hand the tragic stories which lead to the loss of their parents.


The second project is an obstetric fistula repair program in which a simple surgical procedure is reaping life-changing consequences. We took part in a formal ceremony at the Kenyatta National Hospital where our donation will see 400 operations completed by mid-2015. 


Meeting our sponsored orphans as well as speaking with some of the grateful recipients of the fistula surgeries drove home how vital and successful both projects are proving to be. 


Myanmar (Burma)





Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in the World with one quarter of its population living in poverty.  The Rotary Club of Essendon’s association with Myanmar began in 2001 and since that year annual delegations have travelled to the country providing vital medical and educational aid and equipment. The Yangon Children's Hospital is the country’s major children's medical facility and was the first hospital to receive our support. Equipment has included oxygen concentrators, a defibrillator, a chemical analyser, syringe pumps, hearing testers, surgical theatre equipment and the fit out of a pathology department, to a total value of well over $500,000.  A major contribution was also made to assist in the establishment of a dedicated cancer ward.  It is estimated by the grateful hospital management that these contributions have saved the lives of over 10,000 children. 


Other Rotary Club of Essendon projects in Myanmar have included support and development of the Community Education Centre in Insein, a desperately poor area on the outskirts of Yangon, supplying educational books, writing material, school uniforms and the means to access fresh, clean water. A ‘Tin Roof’ project saw many thatched dwellings in the Insein slum fitted with galvanized iron roofs which markedly improved their ability to provide shelter in the often inclement weather. Two orphanages in Yangon have also been supported over a number of years with food, clothing, toys, balls, sporting items and books and a generator was supplied to an outlying orphanage with no access to mains electricity.

Additional projects have included the Monks Hospital - a dedicated facility for aging and ill monks, and the Muslim Free Hospital which is also Yangon's premier facility for eye surgery.  As with all health establishments in Myanmar, ‘premier’ is a relative term as all these facilities are chronically under resourced, poor and in desperate need of the most basic items.


Cyclone Nargis struck the southern part of Myanmar in June 2008 killing over 150,000 people and the Rotary Club of Essendon was one of the first groups on the ground supplying much needed medical aid, food, water and shelter valued at over $70,000. This included paying for re-building thirty homes in the delta area for some of those who were left homeless.


With the generous assistance of the Australian and German Embassies, we have also completed the construction of a school in the ancient capital of Bagan.


In March 2012 a delegation again visited Myanmar and this time provided aid in goods and cash in excess of $250,000 to hospitals, schools and residents in need.  These trips are always at the personal expense of the Rotarians involved, with every dollar donated to the projects going directly to the intended recipients. The April 2013 delegation was on hand in Yangon to witness the dedication ceremony of a $355,000 CT scanner, the supply of which had been facilitated by our Club in conjunction with local government agencies. The 2014 official program saw us supporting the Yangon General Hospital, the Hope for Myanmar Orphanage and the Eden Centre for Disabled Children as well as transporting medical equipment for a clinic in Bagan. Our donation to Eden was supplemented by $1500 received from a 9 year old boy from Ireland who raised the money expressly to help the children of Myanmar. Fifty nebulisers were provided for use in many Yangon medical clinics and in the Monks' Hospital.


Recent political reforms in Myanmar have received worldwide publicity but progress is understandably slow. We are therefore confident that our continued assistance will be of significant benefit to the people of Myanmar for many years to come.








Partnerships are vital in humanitarian efforts and the Rotary Club of Essendon has joined with another Melbourne-based club in supporting ‘Operation Cleft’. Since 2005 The Rotary Club of Box Hill Central has run this program, providing free cleft lip and palate repair surgery for underprivileged children in Bangladesh. The project focuses specifically on surgery, training and parent and healthcare sector education related to the cause, effect and treatment of cleft lips and palates.


Why Bangladesh?  Bangladesh is a developing nation with widespread poverty.  Almost half of all Bangladeshis live on less than $1 a day so the cost of surgery is far beyond their means. Cleft repair surgery is not covered under the public healthcare system because the condition is not considered life threatening. There are approximately 300,000 people living in Bangladesh with an untreated cleft lip or palate. Another four to five thousand babies are born with this condition each year.


Most babies born with a cleft condition have difficulty feeding and many suffer from malnutrition. This contributes to weakening of the immune system and frequently results in higher infant mortality. As they grow, many of these children suffer from social isolation, severe depression, malnutrition and ear, nose and throat infections. Children with an untreated cleft rarely attend school because they are ostracised and discouraged by a school system that is ill-equipped to handle children with special needs. They remain illiterate which in turn perpetuates the poverty cycle.


Operation Cleft relies on the services of eight highly qualified Bangladeshi plastic surgeons. All have either British or Australian specialist surgical qualifications (FRCS or FRACS) and many have received additional training in the USA and Europe. All surgeries are carried out in-country. Operation Cleft has changed the lives of more than 7,600 children since 2005. The cost of each operation is a mere AUD250 and the project is now strongly supported by other Rotary clubs across Australia.




All Rotary Club of Essendon International projects are accredited by Rotary Australia World Community Service and donations are fully tax deductible. Please contact us if you would like to support any of these projects.



Local Projects


In addition to the above outstanding International Projects, the Rotary Club of Essendon  also supports many worthy local community causes, including: 



We helped build the children's traffic school in Montgomery Park, Moonee Ponds in 1961.  The club contributed 1500 pounds out of a total establishment cost of 3200 pounds. The school conducted its first class in 1962 and continues to operate today as a thriving, fun and educational facility for local young people.  We continue to support the school financially and maintain positions on the management committee. We recently purchased new tricycles, including a custom built tricycle that allows children with special assistance needs to participate in school activities.




The Rotary Club of Essendon is a regular participant in the annual Cancer Council Moonee Valley Relay for Life.  The 24 hour event is attended by many club members and their families and is an activity of good fellowship as well as serious fund raising.  We have raised in excess of $100,000 for this very worthy cause through our participation.  We also provide breakfast for all relay participants at the annual event.  



CCS is based in Moonee Ponds and provides free and confidential assistance to expectant mothers and parents of young children.  This is done with a goal of achieving and maintaining a safe and nurturing environment.  In 2005, we donated toy teddy bears that could be distributed at Christmas time. In 2006 we donated toiletries that could be passed on to families in need. We then followed this up in 2008 when we assisted CCS by funding, in partnership with Bendigo Community Bank, the acquisition of three lap top computers and a car to help them be more mobile in the delivery of their services.  We have since assisted with an annual "help in a shoe box" project which has provided CCS with thousands of items for infants and have also provided $4000 worth of wool to be knitted by community volunteers into baby clothing and blankets. Our most recent project was to erect an enclosed storage shelter at CCS' temporary headquarters.




We have been long term supporters of the RDNS.  We helped build the original offices that were opened in Grice Crescent in 1967 through a 10,000 pound donation.  We followed this up with a contribution of approximately $100,000 in the period 1989 - 1992 toward extensions and renovations.



Gellibrand Support Services (formerly known as Gellibrand Residential Services) provides suitable accommodation and care support for people with special needs within our community.   In 2009, we assisted GSS through the construction of a pergola at one of their houses.  The cost of this project was in excess of $10,000.  The pergola, built over a BBQ area and water feature, provides for a significant quality of life improvement for the residents, particularly those who are wheelchair bound. It provides an area for them to enjoy the sensory stimulation of the outside environment.  It also provided a significant morale boost for the carers who realised that their efforts were appreciated and that others were happy to support them.   




The Rotary Club of Essendon established the Rowallan Scout Camp over 60 years ago.  The Club purchased 180 acres of land in the Riddell's Creek area in 1945 (at a cost of 700 pounds) and then helped build the camp through construction of roads, planting trees, installing water facilities and installing three huts (ex POW camp). The total cost of the project was in excess of 4000 pounds.  Our financial partners in the project included City of Essendon, Moonee Valley Racing Club and Moonee Ponds Bowling Club.  In 1950, the camp was handed over to the Scouts and Guide's movement.  We assisted with re-building effort when the camp was destroyed by the Ash Wednesday bush fires in 1983.  We also provided tanks and firefighting equipment to better protect the camp in the future.   The camp is still fully utilised today and we continue to support it with recent activities including a "hands on" building renovation project in 2007, a $3000 donation in 2009 for capital improvements aimed at harvesting rain water and solar energy to improve the camp's environmental footprint as well as annual working bees to assist with facility maintenance.



We conduct a bi-annual graffiti removal event focusing on the area surrounding the Essendon railway station. Local council supplies all materials and the Rotary Club of Essendon supplies the labour. Local residents have expressed many favourable comments about the program.



We sponsor a table at the Moonee Valley City Council’s annual International Women’s Day luncheon enabling students and teachers from local colleges to attend along with some of our lady members.



The Rotary Club of Essendon has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the Kangan Institute. This has included both international and domestic activities but our Club's local involvement is the annual sponsorship of the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ and ‘Adult Learner of the Year' awards.



We have participated in this program since its inception in 2007. It is a 12 month program where future leaders from Victoria Police are partnered with and mentored by a business leader and a Rotarian. The aim is to improve the mentoree’s management skills while providing valuable insight into an active and committed community organisation.



We have installed breathometer machines at several local entertainment venues as a joint project with Moonee Valley City Council, TAC and Victoria Police aimed at keeping drink drivers off the road. The majority of  funds raised support road safety programmes such as the Essendon Traffic School and the “fit 2 drive” program.




The Rotary Club of Essendon contributed to the Rotary District 9800 Bushfire Relief fund, the largest Australian humanitarian project ever undertaken by District 9800.  In addition to raising almost $1m in funds, District 9800 undertook survey and liaison work and consultation with affected communities to identify, assess and implement aid projects.  This has included supporting people in dealing with psychological trauma and stresses as they recover from the effects of the fire. An individual project of the Rotary Club of Essendon was the construction of a new rotunda in the township of Kinglake.   



A new initiative is the construction of a Men’s Shed in conjunction with the Moonee Valley City Council and the Rotary Clubs of Essendon North and Strathmore .  The shed was officially opened, on schedule, in June 2015.



The first major project of the Rotary Club of Essendon was to build a “Pioneers Retreat” on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. Many retired men were lounging about on the banks with nowhere to go.  It was felt that a building where they could congregate would improve their lifestyle. The project was begun with an anonymous donation of 100 pounds and was completed in 1937 at a cost of 272 pounds.  It is still in existence today. It can be seen from Maribyrnong Rd in the land on the East Side of the Maribyrnong Rd Bridge. Pioneers who used the retreat were invited to a club luncheon in December for many years. At one lunch it was worked out that the “Pioneers” had an average age of 72 years and the total of their ages was 1728 years.  A 10ft x 10ft concrete draughts board was subsequently built in the surrounds of the Pioneers Retreat and we also provided them with Trugo equipment.  Trugo is a game invented by workers at the Newport rail yards and played with mallets and large ring like a washer.  

The success of the original retreat lead to others being built by RCE in Queens Park, Ormond Park and Kensington, as well as extending the Maribyrnong retreat  in the 1950's.


Youth Projects


The Rotary Club of Essendon undertakes a number of projects each year aimed at supporting local youth.  These include:



A $4000 scholarship spread over four years to assist a young man or lady with their year 12 schooling and pursuit of their chosen vocation.


The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is an Australian program for year eleven students who are heading into year twelve and are thinking about a career in science, engineering and related disciplines.  It exposes the participants to major scientific institutions and researchers, so that they may make more informed choices for their future endeavours. They are also given training in time management, interview skills and public speaking.  This high profile twelve-day residential program is held at the Australian National University in Canberra.  

A week-long residential personal development program for young people aged 18-25, which focuses on self-leadership and community.  RYLA provides an opportunity for young people from a diverse range of backgrounds to gain a better understanding of their strengths and the unique qualities and abilities of others. 



A year-long hosting of a student from another country to attend a local secondary school, as well as the sponsorship of a local student on a 12 month outbound exchange. In recent years we have hosted students from France, Sweden and Denmark and sponsored outgoing students to Japan and Brazil.  



A program of weekend seminars for young people 14-17 years of age.  The principal aim is the communication of a series of ideas, problems and social experiences to assist the young participants in forming their own values and moral standards.


A Victoria Police lead programme aimed at disadvantaged youths with low self-esteem who are disenfranchised in the community, lacking goals and direction in life and are at risk of not completing school.  They are taken to trek the hills of Kokoda for a positive life changing experience.