Goodwill of local communities extends across the oceans

Connections: when it comes to sharing and caring, that’s what Miriam Worsnop says it’s all about.

On a regular week, the Bundamba woman spends a day or more at Goodna Neighbourhood House. She started there more than ten years ago after answering an advertisement for volunteers to teach sewing. Now it’s a hub for women, many who are retired nurses, to hand-sew items for fundraising sales, sort clothes for those who need them and simply provide a friendship network.

The charities Miriam and other volunteers support include the TAFEA Health Care Centre on Tanna Island, Vanuatu. The Tafea Health Care Association provides essential healthcare to the Tafea Province in Vanuatu. Originally commenced by Toowoomba midwife Jeannie Barton, the centre supplies primarily maternal, child health and dispensary services, but also occasional dental care to the province of TAFEA in Vanuatu. TAFEA is an Australian registered charity and is 100% volunteer supported with 100% of funds.

Hospital uniform Medical Scrubs are also supplied through the Bundamba effort. Miriam said various companies donate boxes of new scrubs, that due to sizing or colour, do not quite fit the bill for Australia. Miriam and volunteers not only match up and resize, but they also use their sewing ability for a total transformation.

“The nurses over there do not wear long pants, she said.

“So, we put together about 4 XL size pants and make two skirts out of them.”

In a recent Tafea Health newsletter it was explained how the Medical Scrub uniform aided in fostering a professional appearance and boosting confidence for the nurses.

In another act of recycling magic, Miriam said they had a donation of curtains bearing Ipswich General Hospital tags.

“Well, guess where those curtains will end up,” she laughed.

Miriam said much of the clothing was sent from Toowoomba.

“We get oodles of clothing from Women’s Shed in Toowoomba.”

The clothing is sorted at the Neighbourhood Centre and then Miriam sends out texts to people who require it for re-distribution. She has also made contact with a group of South Sudanese women and now some of clothing is making its way back to South Sudan, via Kenya, in shipping containers. On the other hand, it may be re-distributed at the Bundamba Food Barn.

Additionally, Miriam and her husband Philip have maintained contact with one of the first people they met in Indonesia.

“Philip was schoolteacher,” Miriam explained.

“We went over there in 1979 and Emy was one of the first people we met.”

“Now Emy is caring for about 10 children who are living with her, they were rescued from war-torn countries, such as Papua,” Miriam said.

Again, local fundraising efforts go towards helping Emy support the children.

Miriam said volunteers are always welcome at Goodna Neighbourhood House to sort and sew. She added: “We gets lots of donations of sewing materials, but we can always use more.”

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