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Christina welcomes change of direction


Obsessed with travelling the world and with more than 50 countries ticked off her list, it is little wonder that Christina Francis would eventually make her way to Australia.

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However, this time her travels are different as she and husband Gavin have packed their lives into two suitcases and moved permanently from their home in Hyderabad, India.

In September, Christina joined the Archdiocese as the manager of Catholic Charities, taking over from Annie O’Neill who is relocating to Launceston.

With a background in journalism and most recently working as the editor of the Hyderabad Times, Christina said that while this is a change in direction for her career, it was not completely foreign to her.

As a young student at a Catholic school she actively participated in fundraising campaigns, opting to approach people and explain about the cause, rather than asking her parents to donate money.

As a journalist she has written many stories about people in need of financial support for such things as life-saving surgeries, taking it upon herself to drive donations from others in the community.

“In some ways it’s not surprising that I am doing charities now as a job, as helping people is something that resonates with me,” she said.

Her career as a writer started early in high school when she realised the pathway of studying maths, physics and chemistry to “become an engineer or doctor” wasn’t for her.

“As soon as I finished Year 12 I got a job in the local newspaper,” she explained, adding that her first editor was someone of the ilk of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada.

“She was terrifying, but I was this spunky kid who loved writing… and I scored the job!”

Already enrolled in university to study mass communication, political science and English literature, for several years Christina managed to juggle her studies in the morning, followed by work at the newspaper from 2-10pm.

Along the way she also began to follow her passion for travel and set her sights on Australia.

She was accepted to study her Master of Media and Communication at university here, but months before she was due to leave her 18-year-old brother was tragically killed in a vehicle accident.

“That changed the whole trajectory of my life and I decided to stay in India as I wanted to be closer to my parents,” she said.

However, about five years ago the travel bug got hold of her again and she and Gavin decided to try something new and applied for permanent residency in Australia.

In 2019 they were excited to receive news that they had been accepted into South Australia.

“I didn’t know anything about Adelaide really, except Adelaide Oval because of the cricket matches played there,” Christina said.

“We went for a holiday in 2019 to see if we would like it and were here for two weeks. We absolutely loved it and the pace here was just right for us.”

They returned to India intent on making the move to Australia when COVID intervened, delaying their departure until the end of 2022.

Now settled into the Australian way of life, Christina’s new job means she is quickly learning about the important role Catholic Charities plays for some of the most disadvantaged people in the community.

When not working, she finds time to study and teach yoga classes.

Christina and Gavin are part of the Norwood parish.

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