Zonta Club of Bendigo Inc makes 40,000th birthing kit to celebrate 40 years of service and advocacy

To mark its 40th anniversary, the Zonta Club of Bendigo Inc, Australia, made its 40,000th birthing kit: 40,000 kits for 40 years. Since 2003, the club has involved the wider community in birthing kit assembly, but with COVID-19 restrictions this year, the members and their families have assembled 1800 kits in their own homes. Zonta is looking forward to community participation again in 2021.

As face-to-face birthday celebrations with current and former members, community supporters and partners were not possible due to COVID-19 restrictions, the club featured four weeks of Facebook posts in November: one week for each decade. The posts featured members, service projects—both local and international—video recollections and photos from each decade.

Chartered on 30 November 1980, under the leadership of President Heather Winderlich; Treasurer Gwen Symons and Vice President Dorothy Crothers, the Zonta Club of Bendigo Inc received strong support and has been active in their community ever since.

Charter member Sue Brown says the best part of being a Zontian is working with club members to support the range of service and advocacy projects: “I enjoy supporting women to achieve their dreams and further their education.”

Over the years, Brown has helped to raise money for a bus to collect older clients for the Day Centre, with birthing kit assembly days and to organize workers to make breast cushions. Sue continues as a committed member, knowing she is making a real difference in the lives of women and girls.

In addition to funding, assembling and delivering 40,000 birthing kits, in conjunction with the Birthing Kit Foundation of Australia, the club has:

  • Made and delivered more than 1,800 breast cushions.
  • Provided scholarships and awards totaling AU$83,000 (more than US$64,000) to 119 women and girls in their community
  • Provided more than 5,000 toiletry bags to women and children in need.
  • Provided 700 tote bags filled with emergency toiletries for young people at risk and community members who have been admitted to the hospital.
  • Raised awareness and advocated through the Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.
  • Celebrated the women of Bendigo and surrounding communities during an annual International Women’s Day dinner, in which they present scholarship and awards.
  • Conducted projects and sponsorships through community organizations each year.
  • Volunteered countless hours each year in their community, including more recently with refugee women.
  • Donated to the Zonta Foundation for Women to support Zonta International’s projects and programs.
  • Completed two major projects: an anti-bullying program in schools with a ZISVAW grant in 2002 and a project to assist migrant women in the community with a Centennial Anniversary Grant in 2019.