Valda Cordes Visit
We were privileged to have Valda Cordes, District International Service Chair and Board Rep for Rotary NZ World Community Service, visit us last week and speak about her broader Rotary experiences.
Valda comes with a strong background in education which included working at both the Christchurch College of Education and the University of Canterbury plus she has been an active member of the Riccarton Rotary Club for 20 years, President for 2 years, and has served on a wide range of local & national committees including becoming the National Training Coordinator. 
“As Rotarians we are categorised by many but we are also different and we walk in the shadow of previous leaders as we grow in the service of Rotary both locally and internationally” continued Valda. 
As an example, she shared the activities shown in the video Compelled to Act which highlights what has happened in Berlin where 100,000 refugees overtaxed the health-care system, jeopardizing the lives and well-being of refugees and German citizens alike.
Rotarian Dr Pia Skarabis-Querfeld assembled a talented team of medical professionals from her community to assist. The members of the teams are highly motivated to serve vulnerable people and to work together to help their community.
“This is a good example of how Rotary ensured things happened” noted Valda, which also includes Rotary’s response where three local Clubs came together to identify and assist those most vulnerable to better manage the challenges Covid brings. Some of these activities included:
  • Building a community garden.
  • Setting up a migrant play group for pre-schoolers & mums.
  • Organising a foot clinic for the elderly.
  • Supporting a migrant women’s group which includes teaching them to sew, mend and improve their skills.
  • Setting up a “Winter Warmth” space where locals meet in their own neighbourhoods
“These activities also help prevent isolation plus they provide companionship while also supporting a feeling of community and good health” explained Valda, “and I especially love these opportunities as I am a face-to-face person.”
Observations Valda has noticed recently as a result of Rotary’s activities in a Covid world include:
  • Greater numbers of world-wide connections.
  • Communications are different and more varied.
  • There is more in depth engagement.
  • Invitations from all over the world are increasing.
  • There is increasing numbers and use of technology tools being employed.
“Both the Riccarton and Papanui Club gave a similar interest in global international work and this offers us the opportunity to involve a wider number of Clubs we can partner with” noted Valda. 
She finished by challenging us with the following thought: “It all starts in your Club and how you connect with other Clubs.”  Grant thanked Valda for her presentation and the challenge she has set us to look at how we can partner with other Clubs to increase our effectiveness.