Rotary EndTrachoma

Supporting the rotary Endtrachoma project

Here at Fella Hamilton, we’re just as passionate about helping the community as we are about fashion, which is why we were eager to support Rotary Australia in another one of their important projects, EndTrachoma.

Fella Hamilton has contributed fabric to support the creation of toiletry bag kits designed to promote good hygiene practices & prevent the spread of the infectious disease trachoma.

EndTrachoma is a Rotary Australia-wide project set up in 2016 to help eliminate trachoma, a preventable infectious eye disease that can lead to irreversible blindness. Rotary clubs across Australia are working together to eliminate this disease from remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia and Northern Territory. The project focuses on promoting facial cleanliness, by improving health hygiene.

Trachoma is an infection where scaring builds up under the eyelid causing the eyelashes to turn in and scratch the cornea. 41 countries in the world have trachoma, and Australia is the only developed country that still has it within our Indigenous communities. Infectious diseases, like Trachoma, can be prevented by enabling communities to have access to good hygiene. EndTrachoma has delivered a number of initiatives and one of which is toiletry kits. The objective of the toiletry kits is to provide individual toiletry items to stop sharing within households and the community. The EndTrachoma project provided 2000 toiletry kits to schools in Alice Springs which saw rates reduce from 12% to 5%. In total, over 9000 kits have been provided and distributed accross the Northern Territory and Western Ausralia. If every child had a clean face from now till the end of the year, trachoma would be gone.

Rotary club volunteers Rachel, Samantha & JacquelineVolunteers (left to right) Rachel, Samantha & Jacqueline

At the beginning of August this year, Sharon and David Hamilton donated to the cause 12 meters of fabric comprising of a pink check and solid black fabric. Each bag required a piece of material 36cm x 92cm, which was then sewn into 40 adult toiletry bag packs. 

The team who sewed and packed the bags included Fella Hamilton’s very own project guru Samantha Mangan, as well as Rotary Mt Eliza's Satellite Club Project Leader Jacqueline Sherlock. The sewing bee was held on the 12th August and other volunteers included Colette McCarthy, Sue Voss, Lynne Carson, Pippa Hanson, Linda Morris, Rachel Ulbrick, Jenny Gassin, Bec Orchard and Kym McKenzie.

Rotary club volunteersRotary club ladies together cut, sew & label (left to right) Colette, Pippa, Rachel, Samantha, Jacqueline, Sue, Kym, Lynne.

By the end of August, the bag packing began with a group of Rotary ladies who had purchased the contents for the bags at various locations. These contents included toothpaste, toothbrush, face washers, shampoo/conditioner, tissues, and more.

The ladies from Mount Eliza Rotary group made up 20 female and 20 male kits which were then delivered by project leader Jacqueline and Colette to Sandi Fulcher (EndTrachoma Project Administration Coordinator) in Glen Iris. 

These kits were combined with a number of other items from Rotary to support local communities, and they were driven up in a trailer by Sally and her husband to the Department of Public Health in the Northern Territory - ready for distribution mid-September.

Toiletry kit contents and bags readyToiletry kit contents (left) & bags completed, ready for distribution (right)

quotes from rotary club members & bags being distributed

Sally Dell (Rotary District 9820 EndTrachoma Champion) thanked the team in Melbourne: “I just wanted to thank you and Club members of Mt Eliza for your generous donation of toiletry bags. We appreciate the effort that has been made to sew the bags and then get the donations together, plus packing.” said Sally. “As part of our Trachoma project, the hygiene bags have been very successful in communities, both for children and adults and we are committed to working with other organisations to eradicate trachoma in Australia.”

Also thanking the Mount Eliza Rotary group was outreach worker Julie Wright. She was delighted to have received the bags and has distributed them to different communities including the small indigenous community of Papunya, northwest of Alice Springs.

Jaqueline and her group of volunteers have now finished sewing the next batch of toiletry bags for children. The kits will be packed on Saturday 11th November and these are for children at a school in Nganmarriyanga Northern Territory.  There are 60 kits in this batch, and Fella Hamilton has again donated more fabric for this. “We are really grateful for Fella Hamilton's donation - it means we’re able to make a real contribution to other Australians.” said Jacqueline.


If you would like to find out more about Rotary’s EndTrachoma project or would like to donate to the cause - click here.

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