25 Aug 2011

Speaker: Ms Rebecca Sweetman of The Paradigm Shift

Today we had the induction of new member Paul van Brenkelen,who was proposed by Rtn Dirk; Paul’s classification is Service Industry–Testing.  And we had a birthday boy today, Rtn Sam. We sang a birthday song for him and President Martin presented a bottle of red wine to him as birthday gift.

We had Ms. Rebecca Sweetman as our speaker; she talked about “Voicing Disaster: Responding as Global Citizens to Natural Disasters”.  Rebecca is the Founding Director of The Paradigm Shift Project, a registered Canadian charity that creates documentary media to change worldviews.  With a background in grassroots movements for social and environmental justice, Rebecca uses a lens of solidarity in her filmmaking to build trust, connection, and engagement across socioeconomic and geopolitical boundaries.  Her projects are diverse and benefit communities across the globe working for a better and more sustainable future.  From human rights violations in Sumatra’s palm oil plantations, to food insecurity in Peru’s slums, to street and refugee children in Malaysia, to access to water and sexual slavery in India, Rebecca documents the amazing solutions happening on the world’s toughest issues, to show that each one of us can, and should, get involved. 

Rebecca presented her film “Voicing Disaster: Responding as Global Citizens to Natural Disasters” to us. Due to the interconnectedness of our world, the global response to natural disasters is becoming an important key to mobilizing humanitarian relief aid. From the recent tsunami in Japan, to earthquakes in Haiti and Indonesia, to flooding in Pakistan and China, to hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami, natural disasters seem to be happening not only more frequently, but also with increased severity.

But unlike natural disasters of the past that garnered little international media attention, today’s natural disasters are featured front page, and touch the lives of people watching the six o’clock news all over the world. And with these images of destruction comes an overwhelming desire to support these communities affected, although most of us are unsure of how we can really best help the situation.

The Paradigm Shift Project is digging deeper to answer the question, ‘how can we most effectively respond as global citizens to natural disasters around the world?’. In this film we examine the different roles that local and international organizations play in responding to natural disasters, and document survivors’ accounts of what kind of relief aid programming has been most effective for their community. We want to share with global audiences what really happens on the ground after natural disasters, and most importantly, how each of us can most effectively contribute to the relief efforts.

Sergeant at Arms DDS Francesco collected HK$1,370 for raffle and fines.  Visiting Rtn Javier from Rotary Club of Madrid Cibeles, Spain won the prize as a bottle of red wine and he was so kind to donate it back to our club to redraw, and the winner was DDS Francesco.

Rebecca Sweetman speaks about her organisation's documentary: "Voicing Disaster: Responding as Global Citizens to Natural Disasters"

President Martin welcomes new Rotarian Paul van Brenkelen to the club.

Happy Birthday to Rtn Sam!