HELPING HANDS: Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett (far right) with Rotarians at a school in Munda.
HELPING HANDS: Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett (far right) with Rotarians at a school in Munda.

MP to use building skills for underprivileged community

WITH hammer in hand, Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett headed over to the Solomon Islands last week to put his building skills to good use.

Mr Bennett swapped his suit and tie for a nail bag to embark on the nine day trip as part of a Rotary humanitarian mission to build sanitary toilet facilities for a local school.

The local MP, a former builder, said he was looking forward to returning to Munda to complete the project, which he helped commence alongside fellow Rotarians this time last year.

“While we take for granted the sanitary amenities available here, the 400-odd students and staff at the local school have been forced to use unacceptable and unhygienic facilities,” he said.

“We are stepping in to lend a hand by installing a proper septic treatment system and toilet block which will obviously give the kids access to better sanitation as well as providing a more environmentally-sustainable facility,” he said.

Mr Bennett, who has been a member of Rotary for the past 16 years, said he was honoured to be taking part in the humanitarian mission alongside other Rotarians.

“It’s wonderful to be able to work alongside passionate Rotarians, who are all local business owners, to do our bit and make life just that little bit easier for people who are less fortunate,” he said.

“Community and international service is an important part of what we do at Rotary and I’m privileged to be able to be in a position where I can continue to offer my help.”

Mr Bennett is no stranger to humanitarian missions in third world countries, having helped build new maternity wards for the Helena Goldie Hospital in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands.

“To say that the birthing conditions at the local hospital were appalling is an understatement,” Mr Bennett said.

“That trip was a real eye opener and like many Rotary Clubs and individuals worldwide, our Bundaberg Sunrise Rotary Club desperately wanted to make a difference.

“Being able to put my skills to good use was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I’m proud to have worked with fellow Rotarians to drastically improve birthing conditions on the Island.”



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