In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 10

OR’S DISTRICT GOVERN T U O T U O SH It’s not lost at all on Dunedin Next Rotary Generation’s Robbie Francis, a Rotary alumni, how, by sheer virtue of birthplace, her life’s path could have been a dead end of little-to-no hope. on the way … to Switzerland, after being awarded an all-expenses trip to participate in the St Gallen World Leaders’ Symposium to debate the dilemma of disruption. Why? She is a woman. And, she is a woman with a disability. Robbie has just turned 28. By those two factors alone, Robbie would have had a mere 1-in-100 chance of being literate if, rather than New Zealand, she’d been born in 70 percent of the world’s other countries. And, remember, this is a young woman who, had she been born in the majority of the world, would not have even been taught to read or write. There is one serendipitous association seven years ago she credits with Raised to setting off believe, the course of Without Rotary, she says disability events that, unequivocally, she could not or not, she ultimately, have achieved what she has.” catapulted could do anything she her to where Janice Hughes, dreamed, she is today. DISTRICT GOVERNOR Robbie set Without off to do just that. Rotary, she says unequivocally, she She’s travelled to 23 countries, juggles could not have achieved what she has. a dynamic academic career both here and abroad, is currently heading for a doctorate, has worked as a television journalist, experienced first-hand atrocities against disabled people in Central America, and is throwing herself into social enterprise, partnering with Mexican coffee growers, a framework she dreams of taking global. She’s about to head to Ecuador to conduct ground-breaking field research for her latest thesis – the subject of which is thought to be a world-first – but has just found out she’s making a bit of a detour Robbie – my “District Governor’s Shout Out” is to you. What an absolute inspiration you are to Rotary as an organisation, and to we Rotarians, as individuals. Rotary could not have asked for greater repayment for the support given to you a few years ago – what you have achieved, and continue to contribute, is an incandescent example of why our organisation invests so heavily in our gifted, socially-minded and innovative young thought leaders. Page 10 | In Gear - Rotary i n southern New Zealand - District 9980 |