Rachel Donovan took us on a great trip last Tuesday, from Bankstown to Balibo (Timor Leste), then from Balibo to Ulaan Baatar (Mongolia) and back finally back safely to Petersham!

Rachel’s story told us the importance of internships and work experience to young people in the world today. Her experience in community radio in Western Sydney proved far more effective than several university degrees in finding work and taking her on a wonderful adventure over several years, helping develop media and public relations capabilities separately in Timor Leste and Mongolia. This experience also taught Rachel the importance of ensuring any offering should match closely the actual need. There is no point producing programs for a community which has no means to receive or understand them, due to a very limited, slow and expensive internet service, for example. This is a lesson for all of us to remember in our efforts to help others.

Rachel also told us about walking to work in Ulaan Baatar in winter when the temperature was as low as -42°C and the air was thick with smoke from domestic coal fueled heaters. Needless to say, this cast a cold Sydney morning in a different light.


I trust everyone has seen PP Trent Zimmerman’s speech in parliament last week recording the efforts of all the Rotary Clubs in his electorate. If you missed it, here is a link.