While she can’t fly home, Nandaseeli’s contribution to the community has spirits soaring at this local branch of Rotary.
Many Wynnum-Manly locals will know Byron Freeborn through his work at Raine & Horne Wynnum, and also via his contribution to the Rotary Club of Wynnum and Manly. What many might not know about Byron is that his mother-in-law, Nandaseeli Gunasekera, is also making her mark on the local community.
Born in Columbo, Sri Lanka, 64-year-old Nandaseeli has been a regular traveller to Australia, visiting her daughter Jayani and son-in-law Byron. When Nandaseeli touched down in Wynnum in 2020, she found herself unable to return to Sri Lanka as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And while Nandaseeli fills her days cooking delicious Sri Lankan food, sewing, knitting and gardening, she has also found time to give back to the community through Rotary, namely through the Days for Girls (DfG) program. Her presence has proved an enriching experience for Rotary Wynnum Manly members and Nandaseeli.
“The Days for Girls team of volunteers are dedicated to creating a healthy, dignified world, by helping to provide lasting access to feminine hygiene solutions and health education,” explained Rotary Club of Wynnum and Manly’s joint president Jo-Anne O’Connor.
“Volunteers trace, cut, sew, and prepare all the components of DfG menstrual kits ready for distribution to overseas communities in need. These kits offer girls in the greatest need, a pathway to improved health, education and livelihood.”
Fellow volunteers are quick to praise Nandaseeli for her contribution.
“Meeting Nandaseeli has been very special, learning of her life back home and how her enforced stay in Australia has affected her life,” said volunteer Trish Peddie. “She is such a wonderful worker, quietly achieving such high levels of sewing, and we as a group are privileged to have her with us.”
Volunteers meet fortnightly in the Shire Clerks Cottage in Wynnum where Nandaseeli has made many new friends from the local community in a group that shares common interests, enjoys giving back to others through volunteering, and reaps the rewards of fun and fellowship together.
Interested in learning more? Please contact Rotary “Days for Girls” team leader Di Catto on 0408 776 278.