On Wednesday 2 March 2016, the second International Women’s Day Breakfast was held at the Mornington Racecourse Gunnamatta Room, overlooking the specular racetrack. Weather-wise it was a beautiful sunny morning. The caterers provided a breakfast of yoghurt and Danish pastries followed by Eggs Benedict and tea or coffee. Gift bags of donations from local businesses were given to all the attendees. The project was a collaborative effort by Frankston North Rotary and the Frankston, Peninsula 2.0 and Mount Eliza Rotary clubs. The Committee, chaired by Past President of Frankston North Rotary, Judi McKee, spent many hours getting everything in place.
The theme for 2016 was Women of Change, and guest speakers were Kristy Kendall, the new Principal of Toorak College, Mount Eliza, and Moira Kelly AO, Australian humanitarian worker. The MC was Cara Litterick, a family lawyer with Roberts Beckwith Partners. Lynne Westland, District 9820 Governor Elect, gave the welcome speech.
The first speaker, Kristy Kendall, titled her presentation Being unapologetic about loving what you do. She outlined the challenges of being a working mother and of her promotion to Principal of Toorak College at the young age of 37 years. She spoke of other people’s perceptions of her work and family, of the need for women to support each other in the workforce and of how family support enabled her to further her career. Juggling the demands of work and family is always a challenge. Giving 100 per cent of her attention to her two small sons when she comes home from school is her priority. Her achievements have not been due to luck, but are the result of hard work, study and commitment.
The second speaker, Moira Kelly, titled her presentation Creating hope. Moira is a humanitarian worker and advocate for children living in poverty or in war zones. She is an inspirational Australian humanitarian. Her work has been recognised by several awards, including an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2001 and Victorian of the Year in 2003. She is an active campaigner for the rights of carers, refugees and displaced persons.
Moira’s presentation followed her extraordinary journey, first working with her idol Mother Theresa, then spending 10 years living abroad, caring for sick and needy children and their families in countries such as India, South Africa, America, Romania and Bosnia.
In recent times her base has been Melbourne. Her journey included adopting two young boys, Ahmed and Emmanuel, who she brought home from Iraq in 1998. They have overcome incredible disability and multiple surgeries to become wonderful, accomplished young men. She is guardian of the cranially conjoined twins from Bangladesh, Trishna and Krishna, separated in 2009 in a 32-hour operation at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital. After many operations they are now happily settled into school in Melbourne. She spoke briefly of some of the other children she has helped, many with life-threatening conditions, and the children she now has living with her who have debilitating illnesses that require constant attention.
Moira’s son, Emmanuel, a 2011 contestant on The X Factor, also attended the breakfast and gave a wonderful rendition of the song Happy to be me.
The money raised from the breakfast will be allocated to humanitarian needs and local community projects.