In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 59

wave around it has also served to shine an even brighter spotlight on Project Starfish’s mission. During his many speaking engagements, David’s been quick to remind the Rotary clubs that have been of such great support that it’s only because of them such progress is being made and word is spreading. “Just the week after we got back, I also had an email from a Rotarian over in the UK saying they wanted to come with us next time, and when were we heading back,” he says. “And, we had a Rotarian who’s a Rotary Action Group Against Slavery member, from Seattle, who said they wanted to be part of this – so, we’ve got continuity, people who want to come back with us and be part of it.” As well as helping the Rescue Mission draft its new policies and procedures, David has a lengthy list of projects to delegate and leads to follow up ... and a young team of Rotarians who are right behind him. “The opportunity for these guys to make even more of a ripple effect is absolutely amazing. “Our ability in Rotary to help, not just th ese NGOs, but even at government level, people don’t really credit what we can achieve.” The global slavery industry is estimated to generate around $US150 billion each year, $US100 billion of which is spent specifically on children. In the past 30 years, Rotary has invested about $US1.4 billion fighting polio. In that same period, paedophiles have spent $US3 trillion on child prostitutes, and the estimated tally of child rapes committed during that time stands at about 368 billion. In any given year, it’s thought 4.5 million worldwide are trapped in child sex slavery, with 2.2 million new children estimated to be abducted into the trade annually. A touching tribute In February, Georgia travelled to Christchurch to share the success of the trip with the Rotary clubs of Christchurch Sunrise, Garden City, Christchurch South, and Christchurch Girls’ High School’s Interact Club. To her surprise, the Christchurch Rotarians had something they wanted to share with her, too, in honour of her special contribution to Project Starfish – Rotary’s Young Totara Award. A tree, complete with plaque, has been planted in her honour at Christchurch’s Westlake Park, in Halswell. “That made my start of the year.” The journey to Thailand and Cambodia was, Georgia says, by far the most significant Rotary project she’s ever undertaken in her time with the organisation, which began when she started an Interact club as a Christchurch Girl’s High School student. “Obviously, the trip was massive – and it’s a massive part of my life, and it’s actually changed where I want to go now. “I’ve done international projects before, and it’s been fundraising and sending stuff over. So, to actually I think it was coming back here and realising I wanted it to be part of my lifestyle … I just can’t ignore it, I just want everything I do to go, in some way, toward alleviating international issues.” Georgia and Michael Georgia Kerby, Dunedin Rotaractor Page 59