In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 57

“It transcends language, it transcends culture – it’s just love. These kids know that the team that was there were there to do good stuff for them, and they just latched on from day one. They had new friends. “There were more than a few tears on the night before we left. A few struggled, and some of the kids struggled – there were tears on both parts.” As emotional as it was farewelling the Rescue Mission’s children, the young Rotarians’ experiences at the centre provided the perfect insight and context for what was to come. David’s commitment to fighting child sex slavery goes beyond his work on Project Starfish, which he hopes soon to register as a charity in its own right. He’s also the Oceania regional co-ordinator for the Rotarian Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS), which has been established to tackle slavery and trafficking in all its forms. An audience to remember As part of those wider responsibilities, he scheduled a series of appointments with both Rotary clubs and the non-government organisations in Thailand and Cambodia that are trying to tackle trafficking. And, that’s how a group of young adults from all the way around the world, some not even 20, were left pinching themselves. There they were, sitting in meetings talking one-on- one with the people at the sharp end from the likes of the United Nations, Hagar, which helps women and children whose lives have been devastated by abuse, and child protection agency Nvader. “I think it just showed us how big this whole issue, this world is – David called it a ‘total immersion experience’,” Georgia says. “Each of the different organisations we met are all working in a different way and all are addressing the problems slightly differently, so that was what was so amazing, understanding just how complicated the issue is, but also how they’re addressing it. “And, what I found great after being at the Rescue Mission was gathering all of the knowledge from the rest of the trip – meeting all of the NGOs who run programmes on a large scale, and learning from them, and then looking at how we can best apply that to the centre. “Because the Rescue Mission runs on a small scale, they don’t have the people to go and do research, so that’s what we did while we were there. “We connected them with the Nvader agency and with the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, so, hopefully, we can continue to build those relationships, and get them more support through these channels.” Youngsters from the centre are treated by the Project Starfish team. Georgia was particularly interested in what the team had learned from the NGOs about the increasing role of community-based support for at-risk children and families, a model the team hopes to, in time, help the Rescue Mission find its place within. “The objective of community-based care is not so much about safeguarding the children, but to alleviate the problems and poverty that lead to their vulnerability in the first instance. It transcends language, it transcends culture – it’s just love.” Georgia Kerby, Dunedin Rotaractor “It’s about community outreach, and providing opportunities to gain education and sustainable employment. And, n BW7BFƗfRfb7V'67FV6Pf&֖r'WBF7GVǒfRw&VFW"vVFvRFw&p&vvW"VFW'&6W26FW67W7FFV6VfW2( 0FBvvfRFV&RvW"BvVFvR@VBFW72FVFf"WFF( F&VvVWFrv"FR6&F6VG&Rf FR&FV7Fb6G&V( 2&vG2BFR6&FआVƖRvRV&BrFWvF6VFW2Fv&62VGV6FRFRVRB&fFR&6R&26rBr&2BG&r'GVFW2Bǐf"FR6G&VFvF66'WBFFRFRW@7FWBvWBG&rBVVB( FBV2FWF( BfRFV6WvW&R@fRFB&6f7F"b&VrWFVB( ХvRvWGFrF&V2ƖRז"vW&R琧gVW&&RƗfR6VB6VvW2VFW"FP6VG&6VB7W'Bg&Wv&vV&v&V0VgV( ĒFvRW7BVVBFFB&R&W6V&6vFFP&W67VR֗76BVW6V7FrFVvFFW6P&vW"&v6F2B6VRvB276&R&V6W6PFR6VG&R2fF7F26Rg&v6Fv&vFFR6VG( ХvRSp