• At Save the Children, we’re doing everything we can to ensure children’s rights are recognised and respected. But we can’t do it alone. Young people themselves are the best people to create real, lasting change. That’s why we run our Youth Ambassadors program.

    This week, a group of passionate young people walked the halls of Federal Parliament as they presented the 2017 Youth Ambassadors report to parliamentarians. The report is the result of each ambassador’s work in their community to advocate for youth issues and applies a youth perspective on larger societal issues.

    Catherine, 16, from Melbourne is passionate about refugee rights and wants politicians to recognise the importance of youth perspectives. She says: “Young people are often overlooked, their ideas undervalued. We will inform the direction and I want to ensure that the Australia I inherit asserts equality for all.”

    Edward, 14, from Echuca in country Victoria is a passionate advocate for addressing youth homelessness. Edward understands the challenges many families face in Australia and has a mission to inform politicians that poverty is more than not having a home. He implores that “the cost of living for many Australians has created an economic divide that we must address, so that no one is left behind.”

    Melissa, 14, from Sydney is an experienced advocate campaigning for equality with a specific focus on refugee and asylum seeker communities. Melissa has set a challenge for politicians to ensure safety, opportunity and human rights are recognised for all. Her approach is to encourage politicians and law-makers to engage with and form meaningful connections with communities suffering from oppression and discrimination.

    Annalise, 14, from Kununurra in remote Western Australia is avidly campaigning for equal access to education for all children. Her idol is Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist for female education and, like her, she believes education can end wars and help shape a more equitable world.

    Our Youth Ambassadors presented the 2017 report with recommendations that ask Australia’s parliamentarians to:

    • Restore the funding to the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.
    • Commit to an immediate halt on any government funding towards the operations of Adani within Australian borders.
    • Fund programs that aim to increase awareness of the impact of drug and alcohol abuse in schools.
    • Commit to fully funding and implement Gonski schools funding and ensure that no child is deprived of access to a high-quality education, even when incarcerated.
    • Ensure more support and emergency housing is available for those suffering homelessness.
    • Legislate to allow consenting adults to marry in Australia, regardless of their sexual identity.

    Read the Youth Ambassador Report

    Find out more about our Youth Ambassadors for 2017

    Image: Melissa Li, Annalise Pearce, Edward Cooper. Youth Ambassadors in Canberra at Parliament House, Canberra