“Speaking Honestly About The Way You Feel Is a Sign of Strength”

Fran is from the United Kingdom.Her growing interest in development and poverty alleviation has been spurred by her participation in displacement and refugee volunteering projects in Europe and disability support work in the UK. She is particularly interested in women's empowerment and encouraging future generations to work together to effect positive change in the world. Fran Baker's mentor is Rana Nejem.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story! 

A: I'm from the UK and currently live near Cambridge where I also work. Cambridge is a wonderful city with a truly international community that I love to be part of.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: For me, the concept of a better world is one where we are all working to evolve innovative solutions to global

challenges to solve the planets biggest issues, and creating greater global equality by doing so. It is sometimes difficult not be overwhelmed by the torrent of bad news from across the globe, but there is also reason to be hopeful; we as a species are now more educated, wealthier and more technologically advanced than we ever have been, so we have the resources to achieve this if we choose to.

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: For my generation in my country, as well as others, I think the biggest hurdles are trying to deal with the many changes in technology and society that have meant our upbringing and future look very different to those of our parents and grandparents.These changes affect all aspects of life - in the form of individual life choices versus expectations to financial security.

We are a global generation, and growing up and living in a connected world has been a blessing and a curse for us - we are the first digital natives, with information available to us at the tap of a button, but according to some sources, the generation most likely to struggle with mental health issues.

As an individual, the key challenges for me are on those on a global scale, the most pressing of which is climate change.

Q: As a young individual what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: I am very fortunate to live in a society where, although there are still a few hurdles to jump, pale in comparison to those faced by some of my counterparts globally.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: I find having a mentor important as you have someone who is willing to listen to you speak honestly about your hopes and concerns and can give you the benefit of their own learning from when they were in your position. It is also very exciting to speak with someone from a different culture and to bridge the gap between countries and lifestyles as you draw parallels.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: The Centre for Global Equality in Cambridge.

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.  

A: That speaking honestly and openly about the way you feel is not a sign of weakness but of strength.