David Donato speaks to Rotary Club of Clare

Rotary Club of Clare member Helen Perry with guest speaker David Donato at the Club's September 30 meeting. Photo - Bill Singleton.

Rotary Club of Clare member Helen Perry with guest speaker David Donato at the Club's September 30 meeting. Photo - Bill Singleton.

Guest speaker for Rotary Club of Clare's September 30 meeting, held at the Rotary Centre in Melrose Park, was David Donato

David and Etabez returned to Ethiopia earlier this year and went back to Etabez' birth village, where she was in her first year at school before heading to a new life in Australia.

She is now at University but was unable to be there on the night.

David, with help from the Rotary Club of Clare and friends from Clare High School, has been able to finance improvements to class rooms and a new buildings and to furnish the library with enough books to help with education.

David's description of life in the village were quite harrowing and brought home just how lucky kids are who are brought up in Australia in general and Clare in particular.

It appears it was particularly difficult for Etabez, seeing friends and relatives, especially those who had babies at 14. She no longer speaks the local language.

The Rotary Club has been pleased to offer support, it takes such a small amount of money to make a big difference.

David described how they just managed to leave Ethiopia as violence was breaking out as they headed to the airport.

David Donato has operated his specialist environmental consultancy business for the last 25 years, working primarily in the base metal industry, including gold and copper mining.

He is a graduate of Roseworthy College, Adelaide University and University of Tasmania.

His business consults far and wide, from Africa and South America to copper mines in the Adelaide Hills. He has published in peer-reviewed journals on mine environmental management, toxicology, environmental auditing and threatened species management.

David has two children, Etabez and Deneke, siblings from the Kembata region in the southern highlands of Ethiopia and situated 300 kms south of the country's capital, Addis Ababa.

He and his daughter Etabez have recently returned from their second visit to her tribal village.

The Rotary Club of Clare donated $1,500 to support their first trip in 2017, an amount that Etabez matched through local fundraising.

With this she coordinated the cementing of floors for six classrooms and also enabled the purchase of teaching materials and 1,500 text books - one text book per four students for 14 subjects from Year 1 to Year 9.

On their second visit in June Etabez received $5,000 from our Rotary Club. She arranged for the construction of two pre-school/ Grade 1 class rooms - 10m x 10m each, with cement floors, corrugated roofs and mud rendered walls.