In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 21

“My dream is that other value chains would run with this within their industry, and if we can do this 10 times over and adapt and model to different products and different countries and cultures, then that’s what we’ll do. “We want to see this become a thing – for people to look at business as a way to promote inclusion and diversity. “Whether it’s coffee, whether it’s chocolate in the same area, or whether it’s in another country, I’m not quite sure. It depends where we’re invited. We will not go anywhere we’re not asked.” Alicia, a foundation family member, during a blind taste test of different types of coffee. Robbie and The Lucy Foundation team are also determined to expand New Zealand operations. While, she says, the project won’t really become visible here until the first of the Mexican coffee beans arrives, the team is already strengthening the connection between the two countries in what’s thought to be a first. “Because the community we’re working with over there is an indigenous community, we’ve had quite a bit of interest about a cultural exchange between indigenous people with disabilities. I’ve heard of indigenous exchanges, but never to do with disabilities. “What we’re doing is working on a residency programme that would enable young Maori with disabilities to do a residency in Pluma with our team, and to support them, when they come back, into training and leadership opportunities. to find the capital to keep it alive. We have a very, very short amount of time to find $60,000. “As a leader, it is my responsibility to be confident that we’ll get that. “That’s the nature of all projects like this. It’s the money. I don’t see why someone wouldn’t want to invest in this, or donate to this, because it’s all there. We’re experienced, we’re on the ground, and now we’ve got a product, we’ve got the right people, we’ve got the commitment. “And, we’ve got some pretty good advisers – people who’ve come on board and said: ‘I believe in what you’re doing, and you’re just crazy enough, it might just work’.” One of The Lucy Foundation’s newest, and most ardent, supporters, are her fellow Dunedin Next Rotary Generation members. Return to Rotary roots “They can take their experiences in Susanah Walker Mexico and use that to follow their Last year, after returning to Dunedin to dreams and aspirations in training and employment complete her PhD, the seeds of which were sown with here in New Zealand.” her Rotary-supported study at Tel Aviv University, As well as juggling her PhD, her current pressing challenge is finding a large funding injection to keep the project afloat. “We’re not producing enough yet for it to be self- sustaining, and that’s the problem with agricultural projects. We planted 200 coffee seedlings on the land, so in three years’ time we’ll have a great crop, but, until then, we have to keep it going. “All of our other ducks are in a row, but, because we’re not financially sustainable, it’s ͥѼȁѕ)IЁɕЁձѼɕи)!ѥ݅́͡յɽѡͅ)ɽɅ͡ɽєѼѡéIх䁍Չ̰)ɥѼЁЁݡЁѡЁ)ЁѼȰȁéѠȁѼ)ɥє)M݅́݅ɵɕٕЁչ Ʌݡɔ)͡ЁȰ9ЁIхɅѥȰ)Mͅ]Ȱݡѕ䁥٥ѕȁѼ)9IéѕѼѡ)A