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Honouring and Empowering..

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Photo  L-R:  2019 Awardees –  Kimberley Wilde, Shakila Rathnayake, Taylah Thompson and Paris McNeil

The August Awards Night reminded members of why they are in Zonta.  Over sixty Zontians (from the Zonta Clubs of Perth, Bunbury, Swan Hills and Perth Northern Suburbs), friends and family members gathered to celebrate the achievements of four special women:

  • Paris McNeil – Zonta International Young Woman in Public Affairs Award – Zonta Club of Perth Awardee 2019
  • Shakila Rathnayake – Zonta International Women in Technology Scholarships – Zonta Club of Perth Awardee 2019
  • Kimberley Wilde – Zonta Club of Perth Education Awardee 2019
  • Taylah Thompson – Zonta Club of Perth Yvonne Burgu Education Awardee 2019

These women generously shared their stories and enthralled us with their achievements and aspirations.   Paris is a role model for advocacy – a teenager walking the talk of seeking social justice and Shakila is working on the cutting edge of geospatial technology, planning for a more sustainable world.   Kimberley and Taylah exemplified resilience in adversity, both turning their lives around through hard work, determination and education.  We were all touched, moved and inspired by their presentations – they all spoke from the heart and expressed their gratitude to Zonta for helping them on their journeys.

Brianna Ozies, the 2018 Yvonne Burgu Education Awardee provided a moving Acknowledgement of Country and also presented the 2019 Yvonne Burgu Education Award to Taylah Thompson.  Yvonne Burgu was ‘auntie’ to Brianna – so it was very fitting for Brianna to ‘pass on the baton’ to this year’s winner.

The club was honoured to have a team of ‘high ranking’ Zontians to present the other awards:

  • Zonta International Director Judy Gorton provided a fascinating account of life on the International Board and presented the Young Woman in Public Affairs Award to Paris McNeil.
  • Area 3 Director Faith O’Brien, who works in a science based industry, presented the Women in Technology Award to Shakila Rathnayake.
  • District 23 Lt Governor, Sandra Burns, a former teacher, presented the Education Award to Kimberley Wilde.

It was a busy night as, in addition to the presentation ceremonies, two Centennial Projects were ‘launched’:

  • the Alumnae project aims to contact the 140 women who have been presented with awards in the Club’s 47 year history.  This is a work in progress as many awardees have moved interstate and overseas.  The four previous awardees in attendance,  Sharon Turner, Tracey Fickling, Emmelyn Wu and Brianna Ozies each provided a spontaneous update on what had been happening in their lives since they received their awards – a wonderful group of inspirational women;
  • the Centennial Edition of the History of the Zonta Club of Perth provides an update to the club’s history from 2012.  The last seven years have been added to the book and this evening it was ‘soft launched’ – meaning that the proof copy presented by Club President Carole Theobald to Club Archivist ‘Tricia Summerfield, will be updated to include this evening’s awardees.  The Ebook version of the book will be free, and donations to the Zonta Internataional Centennial Endowment Fund will be encouraged.

We would like to thank the Zontians who had come from the Zonta Clubs of Bunbury, Swan Hills and Perth Northern Suburbs for helping to make the Awards night a very special occasion in this centennial year of Zonta International.

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Photo:  Zontians, awardees, family and friends at the Zonta Club of Perth Awards Night 2019

Celebrate our Awardees and Zonta’s Centennial

August is turning into ‘celebrate Zonta’s Centennial’ month with two special events:

At our Awards Night we will celebrate and honour our 2019 Awardees:

  • Paris McNeil – Young Woman in Public Affairs Award 2019
  • Taylah Thompson – Yvonne Burgu Education Award 2019
  • Kimberley Wilde – University Education Award 2019
  • Shakila Rathnayake – Women in Technology Award 2019

We will also be ‘soft launching’ the Zonta International Centennial Edition of our Club’s history.  Our Club, the oldest in WA, has contributed to 47 of Zonta International’s 100 years of service.  The Club’s pictorial history describes how members have helped women and girls in the local community, nationally and internationally during this time.

Our Cosmos Calling: Space the Next Frontier night is all about highlighting the astronomical work that is being done in WA by some amazing women and showing why it is important to encourage women and girls to take an interest in STEM subjects  The evening will start with canapes and drinks in the foyer of SciTech’s Planetarium.  Guests will then enjoy the Capturing the Cosmos planetarium show.  Professor Lyn Beazley AO is our MC for the night and will introduce presentations and facilitate a panel discussion with:

To celebrate the centennial guests may dress up as someone from 100 years in the past,  or 100 years in the future – (not compulsory!)  This is a major fundraising event with all proceeds going to Zonta projects to help women and girls achieve their potential on planet Earth!

Don’t miss out on our August Centennial events!  See flyers for more details:

Women in Science

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Photo L-R:  Lan Tran from Game Changer Awards with Kalien Selby, Acting CEO SciTech Discovery Centre

The Zonta Club of Perth strongly supports women and girls to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) so they may be future workforce ready.  At the July meeting,  Kalien Selby, Acting CEO at SciTech explained that many of today’s school children will be doing jobs in the future that have not been invented yet.  The rise of robotics, autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and virtual reality all provide new opportunities for those who are STEM literate.  Kalien described the future plans for SciTech and by all accounts there is plenty to look forward to.

Lan Tran followed up on the science theme by describing the Game Changer Awards.  These complement the highly prestigious WAITTA INCITE Awards, but are geared for schools.  Lan is an ambassador for Game Changer and her company, 3D Audio Visual is a supporting partner.  The winners of the 2019 Game Changer Awards will be presented on 23 November at ECU Joondalup Campus.

Cosmos is Calling – Celebrate Zonta’s Centenary


Download poster here.

This year Zonta turns 100 and that calls for a big celebration – and you can’t get bigger than the Cosmos!

Cosmos Calling – Space the Next Frontier will be a special night at the Sci-Tech Planetarium.  There will be a planetary show followed by presentations and panel discussion from four of Australia’s top women scientists.

And there is more!

Mix in some pre-event canapes and drinks and then stir in a big dose of fun – and you have a recipe for a night to remember!

For those that want to get fully into the spirit of the Centenary occasion, why not dress up as someone from 100 years ago or someone 100 years in the future? (It is not compulsory…!)

Professor Lyn Beazley, neuroscientist and former WA Chief Scientist, will be the MC for the evening and will be joined by:

  • Dr Natasha Hurley-Walker who uses precursor SKA radio telescopes to create a map of the sky in radio colour
  • Dr Katarina Miljkovic who leads the only Australian plaentary science group working on NASA’s Mars InSight Mission
  • Dr Ellie Sansom who is the science team lead for theAustralian Desert Fireball Network

Tickets are $75 from Trybooking.   

All proceeds go to Zonta health and education projects to empower women and girls on planet Earth.

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Enquiries to


News from the DR Congo

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Many members would have met Dr Luc Mulimbalimba and his wife Delice from the Democratic Republic of Congo and collected clothing and stationery items to help them in their work.  In 2005, they established the Mission in Health Care and Development (MHCD) an NGO based in Bukavu and Uvira (on the borders with Rwanda and Burundi) and Lubumbashi (on border with Zambia).

Dr Luc advises that in DR Congo, the rape capital of the world, raped women are left isolated and without support.  As a result MHCD developed community projects to help women recover from rape and regain their dignity.  They provide employment, build capacity and create financial independence. The MHCD uses the Zonta Birthing Kits as part of its mission to train birthing assistants.

Dr Luc has emailed to say that, as a result of  interest generated through their Birthing Kit train-the-trainer program, the first classroom for a midwifery school has been built at Luvungi (between Bukavu and Uvira).  The students currently undergo three weeks of training as birthing assistants and return to their villages to help deliver babies, undertake pre and post natal consultations, conduct immunisations, treat malaria and typhoid and provide family planning services.  The women want to become fully trained midwives (4 years of training) and this first classroom will help them to do this.  Dr Luc is seeking help to build another 5 classrooms to complete the midwifery school.

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But that is not all…. they have opened a market building too….!

Katogota is a village near Uvira that suffered a dreadful massacre during one of the Congo wars.  Rebels from neighbouring countries stormed the village and butchered almost everyone.  Many women and girls were raped, houses were burned, belongings stolen and since this time the survivors have lived with the trauma and stress. MHCD has helped the villagers rebuild their lives by distributing pigs and creating fish ponds for microfinancing projects.  The women sell fish, vegetables and charcoal to survive and send their children to school.

Selling products from the roadside is challenging especially when it is extremely hot or there is torrential rain.  To solve this problem, all of the women contributed what they could from their sales, and with donations from Dr Luc and Delice and others, were able to construct a market building. Dr Luc is shown below in front of the market that is called the Market of Martyrs in remembrance of the fallen villagers.

It is always inspiring to see the marvellous work that Dr Luc does!

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AGM Changeover Dinner – May

The AGM was a time of honouring the outgoing Zonta Club of Perth Board and empowering the incoming Board!

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L-R: Incoming President, Carole Theobald thanks outgoing President Donella Caspersz for her outstanding service.

Donella Caspersz and her marvellous team have led members through some memorable experiences in the last two years.  We have been inspired by our award winners, awed by our speakers – who have done incredible things – and had lots of fun at some of the fundraising events through the year.  You can read more about the year in our latest Annual Report

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L-R: Guest speaker Rishelle Hume is thanked by Kate Ellson

The Guest Speaker at the AGM was the incredible Rishelle Hume AM.  Rishelle is the Manager Aboriginal Employment Strategy at Chevron Australia. She is a proud Noongar Woman and has traditional ties to the Whadjuk, Ballardong and Gnaala Karla Boodja peoples. She has worked tirelessly with Aboriginal communities to create employment opportunities, promote leadership and preserve culture.  She is co-chair of the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute.  Her achievements were recently recognised when she was inducted into the WA Womens Hall of Fame in March 2019.

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L-R: Gabrielle Walker, Emma Stenhouse, Kate Ellson, Tanis Jackson, Ute Schierhorn, Val Gandossini, Carole Theobald and Judy Gorton (ZI Director)

At the AGM Judy Gorton. Zonta International Director, installed the new Board led by the 2019-20 President, Carole Theobald.  The Board is looking to create a memorable year for members as we celebrate the centenary of Zonta International.


April meeting

Ping Teo and Sandra Burns

On 11th April, Ping Teo was welcomed as the newest member of the Zonta Club of Perth.  Ping was inducted by Sandra Burns, District 23 Lt Governor and presented with a yellow Zonta rose  – a symbol of friendship – along with her induction pack.  (Photo L-R:  Ping Teo is presented with a Zonta rose by D23 Lt Governor, Sandra Burns)

Noelle Martin and Agnes Vacca

Our guest speaker was Noelle Martin, the 2019 Western Australia Young Australian of the Year, feminist, activist and law reformist. Noelle experienced the horror of having her social media image doctored into sexually explicit pornography.  Noelle somehow found the strength to call out this abominable practice.  Through her courage and conviction, laws are now in place making it a criminal office to distribute non-consensual intimate images.  What an amazing achievement.  (Photo L-R:  Noelle Martin is thanked by Agnes Vacca)

At the meeting members also saw a video on ending child marriange.  Zonta International has donated $2 million to the UNFPA-UNICEF Joint Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage.  This program operates in 12 countries and provides services and support for adolescent girls and also engages communities to change social norms that perpetuate the practice.  Find out more here


Congratulations to the winners of our raffle!

We are delighted to announce the Zonta Club of Perth Raffle (permit number: L5212198018) was drawn at St Catherine’s College Nedlands on 14 March 2019.

Results of the draw:

First Prize: Ticket number: 0033

Second Prize: Ticket number: 0221

Third Prize: Ticket number: 0092

The lucky winners have all been notified.

Thank you to Larson Ventures, Plantagenet Wines and South Perth Travel for donating the prizes.

Please note that raffle ticket numbers 0191-0200 were not included in the draw, as this book of unsold tickets were mislaid.