Sokopeti – a Midwife from the isolated island of Ha’apai, 8 hrs by boat from the mainland of Tonga spoke of basic needs for mothers and their baby's and from this Rotary stepped up to provide packs that helped address these needs.  But the story is much bigger than that as described below ...
Over a 3 yr period between 2015 – 2017 (inclusive) an amazing Rotary Initiative occurred.  With combined funding from Rotary International and the Rotary clubs of Districts 9710 in Canberra, and 9920 Auckland and the Pacific Islands, and in conjunction with the University of Canberra & the Australian College of Midwives, a 2 week Midwifery Leadership programme was held.  This training programme enabled Midwives from throughout the Pacific region to apply and be selected to attend – 35 successful participants in all. They attended the UOC for 2 weeks, updating their skills and learning current research and practices to keep their mothers and babies safe. 
Also partaking in projects which would lead to better outcomes in their diverse Pacific Island environments, often very isolated with minimal resources. This 3 year initiative was fully funded, but local Canberra Rotary clubs provided the accommodation/meals and sightseeing excursions throughout Canberra as well as attendees joining in on the Rotary Conference and Club meetings.
I was the Midwifery Team Leader for the 3 training sessions and was privileged to get to know these women (and 1 male nurse) well.  They shared the difficulties working in isolation and where resources are limited. Through fundraising and Rotary Club support, at the end of each 2 week training session we gifted each attendee with a Foetal Doppler – a basic piece of equipment to hear a baby’s heart beat – even this equipment is not readily available to these midwives.
It is from the sharing of challenges faced, that Sokopeti – a Midwife from the isolated island of Ha’apai, 8 hrs by boat from the mainland of Tonga, spoke of basic needs, that these Mother & Baby Packs were required.  Now in the 6th year – these packs are sent up to Nuku’alofa, Tonga where the Rotary Club of Nuku’alofa freights them by cargo ship to Ha’apai.  The packs contain basic clothing, pads, toiletries, nappies, hats, wraps & bibs etc – mothers often are travelling by dinghy or walking by road to the local hospital and have nothing to clothe their babies once born.  The local Franklin community provides high quality 2nd hand baby clothes, and I top up with at least 2 new items per pack.  Sanitary pads/nappies are also donated, along with breast pumps and other basic necessities/luxuries – each year these donations are different.
The Rotary Clubs of Pukekohe, Somerville, Ellerslie Sunrise have funded the $600 the last 5 years to transport the packs to Tonga.  We are so blessed that Rotarian Ian Jenner, from Jenners International freight sorts the shipping, and Stuart Batty from the Rotary World Community Service funds the transporting from the Tongan end. Covid Lockdown has delayed this years packing, but we should be starting hopefully end of September, ready for shipping mid October. Sokopeti keeps in close contact with me in regards special requirements – this year it is cervical screening kits.
So from and amazing international funded project, another locally extremely life saving project has been born and 50 families each year have their hardship lessened, slightly.

Story supplied by Claire Eyes