Port Macquarie's Ray Hodgson wins Rotary International's Zone 8 Humanitarian Award 2018 -2019

Port Macquarie's own Dr Ray Hodgson has been named Humanitarian of the Year for Rotary International in Australia and New Zealand.

He was recognised for his work providing gynecological services to women in Nepal and for his current project to build a Womens and Babies Hospital in Nepal.

"It was very surprising to get the phone call and I imagine there are some sensational humanitarians in Australia and New Zealand nominated so to be selected is mind blowing," Dr Ray said.

"There are so many people doing excellent things around the world and to be recognised in an honour."

Dr Ray, as he is known by most people, said he saw the role of a humanitarian as someone who helps others in need just because it is the right thing to do.

"To me a humanitarian recognises there are other parts of the world or even within your own country that don't go so well and could do with help," he said.

"A humanitarian recognises that inequity exists but then decides to do something about it, devoting your on time and energy to helping fix that balance.

"I think everyone wants to be happy and for some that might be buying a bigger yacht or house but for me I think the secret to happiness is that you get a deeper, longer lasting form of happiness by helping other people and that I what I want to do."

Still in the fundraising stage of the work, Dr Ray needs to raise $500,000 to build the three storey, earthquake proof building about five hours by car from Kathmandu.

"The idea for the hospital first arose four years ago when we were working in the typical dilapidated buildings in the district of Dholakha," he said.

"We were aware of the appalling state of women's health in Nepal, and over the previous four or five years we'd been patching up these problems with surgical camps in various parts of the country.

"We hadn't really been making any inroads, and the idea came of building a hospital in remote Nepal devoted specifically to women and their babies."

The humanitarian award is nominated by Rotary International district governors across Australia and New Zealand with Lorraine Coffey nominating Dr Ray earlier this year.

Mrs Coffey said Dr Ray had been an inspiration to everyone in the community for his dedication to Nepal and the women he cares for.

"Ray's passion to help these women in Nepal and establish a hospital to provide ongoing care for them drives him to give big chunks of his time and energy," Mrs Coffey said.

"In this way he provides an outstanding humanitarian service to women who would otherwise live a life of misery and pain."

In March Dr Ray announced that he had secured the land and the first sod turning will happen very soon.

"Our plan is that eventually the hospital will run itself and our help will no longer be needed but we are far off from that happening yet," Dr Ray said.

"The plans for the hospital include 35 beds, a modern labour ward and neonatal ward, and a first world operating theatre. We'll be using local builders and as far as possible, local materials for the construction."

He said it has been a long effort to raise the $500,000 to build the hospital and another $300,000 to outfit it.

"So far Australians 4 Women's Health has managed to raise about $330,000 for the construction. Mostly this has been through many small of $5 or $10 who have connected with what we are trying to do.

"The Rotary Club of Port Macquarie have also set up a Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) project and have raised more than $60,000 towards the construction as well."

To help Dr Ray build his hospital click here.

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