Hero photograph
PP, AG D9455 Matthew Pham and 9455 DG Dee Buckland


Article by PP, District 9455 AG Matthew Pham —

I can say that joining Rotary has been the best thing that I've done in my life without question.

Article by PP, District 9455 AG Matthew Pham, Rotary of Elizabeth Quay and Swan Rotaract.

Not too long ago I was a shy, introverted type of person who spent a lot of time playing video games and did the bare minimum in everything else. I even battled with some social anxiety especially at the end of my university studies. So, what changed?

Well for me that moment came in mid-2017 when I joined Rotary. I was 25 at the time and had no idea what Rotary was at all but joined as someone told me it was a great way to give back to the community. I've never been part of a Club or organisation before but decided to get out of my comfort zone to do something different in hopes to build some self-confidence and belief in myself. Fast forward to today and I can now say that joining Rotary has been the best thing that I've done in my life without question.

The people, projects and opportunities provided has made it a worthwhile journey and has made me a better entrepreneur, communicator, leader and above all- a better person. I've done things that I never thought I'd be able to do: sleeping out in the cold and raising over $24,000 for the homeless as part of the Vinnies CEO Sleepout SA or even just donating blood for the first time. I even managed to start-up and charter the newest Rotaract Club in WA, Swan Rotaract. If you told me a few years ago that I would be able to achieve all of this, I'd honestly not believe you in a million years.

9455 DG Dee Buckland has been one of my greatest supporters and if I had a fan club, she'd be my number 1 fan. I'm incredibly grateful for her ongoing support, words of encouragement and for believing in me- all of these mean the world to me and it's because of people like Dee that have helped me to where I am today. We both were sitting at a dinner table in early 2018 with a fragile idea of starting up a new Rotaract Club and here we are today seeing it come to fruition- A Club for young leaders and professionals to give back to the local community. Words like "leader" and "inspiring" weren't words I'd associate myself with but it's amazing what you can do and accomplish when people believe in you. I never thought that I'd ever be an Assistant Governor for Rotary but thank you for the incredible opportunity and empowering me to inspire others.

Huge shout out to my Club, Rotary of Elizabeth Quay, for continually inspiring my passion to give back. It's been so much fun being involved in the Club and projects with a group of like-minded people that I consider as friends. These past 6 months have been so incredibly rewarding and I don't think I've ever been this happy so thank you.

Rotary International theme for this year is "Serve to Change Lives". When we serve not only do, we can the lives of others but we also change the lives of ourselves - I can certainly attest to that.

I strongly encourage others to see how you can give back as you'll be surprised of what you get in return. 

Charter members

Above photo: The Charter members of Swan Rotaract, from the Charter night. L to R: Aksh Handa, Charter President Thomas Baines (holding the certificate), AG Matthew Pham, Jia-Yong Tseng, Jason D'Silva, Andrew Kong, Rhys Katich, Emma Wignell, Penny Doan and Nadia Shaw.


Above photo: Most recent project Swan Rotaract collaborated with Kalamunda Rotary on 11th December. It was a "Cans for Christmas" Drive for Foodbank and through collaboration in total over 2.5 tonnes of food was collected for the festive season and to those less fortunate than us. We were volunteering in front of Kalamunda IGA where by local customers were generous enough to donate items for the cause. L to R: Naomi Nixon, Rhys Katich, Nadia Shaw and AG Matthew Pham.

Article's lead photo shows: AG Matthew Pham and DG Dee, from our Charter Night, Swan Rotaract, on the 4th Dec 2021. 3 years ago both of us were at the beginning conceptualising the fragile idea of starting up a new Rotaract Club in the Swan area. It was fitting that we took a photo together with the Charter certificate as it's been a long yet rewarding journey to inspire other young people to give back but also develop themselves.