Collective Service Equals 179 Years

Jackson BarrettThe West Australian
Sisters Nan Martella and Irene Bell are part of a group of six Zonta Club volunteers who have amassed 179 hours of volunteer service.
Camera IconSisters Nan Martella and Irene Bell are part of a group of six Zonta Club volunteers who have amassed 179 hours of volunteer service.

A group of six Bunbury based volunteer workers have amassed an impressive 179 years of voluntary service between them.

Zonta Club of Bunbury members Ellen Cox, Fiona Brockman, Tyril Houghton, Barbara Delves, and sisters Nan Martella and Irene Bell are the six longest serving members of the club, which advocates for women’s rights in the region.

Zonta Club of Bunbury spokeswoman Jo Wittorff said club members were extremely passionate about these causes.

“We advocate on behalf of women and girls, we try and give them a voice,” she said.

“We are OK here, but there are people overseas that just are not treated like humans.

“We encourage and educate them, we are really a human rights organisation.”

The Bunbury arm of the Zonta Club was established 32 years ago with Fiona Brockman as an inaugural member and the other five members joining soon after.

Long-time member Ellen Cox joined the Zonta Club of Perth 44 years ago, before relocating to Bunbury

The first local project was the establishment of a women’s refuge in the South West.

“Our charter members advocated to start a women’s refuge to assist women who were escaping family abuse,” Mrs Wittorff said.

“Fiona was a part of this early group of volunteers.

“When the first application to the Bunbury Council was rejected, Zonta Bunbury supported the re-submission, which was accepted.”

“We do local projects like the women’s refuge that help people who need it more than we do.

The most recent club program has members busy putting together breast cushions for patients who have had a mastectomy.

Volunteers help with fundraising for the club’s initiatives and then help implement them.

Internationally, there are 1,200 Zonta clubs that each put one third of their funds towards an annual global project.

“The best thing about volunteering is that you go in with a view to helping others, but you actually get a lot out of it yourself,” Mrs Wittorff said.

“It makes you feel like you are doing something worthwhile.

“It does as much for you as it does for the people you are volunteering for.”

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