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Youth ambassadors

Young people themselves are the best people to create real, lasting change – and that’s why we run our Youth Ambassadors program.

Young Australians are making the world a better place

Save the Children does everything it can to make sure children’s rights are recognised and respected. But we know that young people themselves are the best people to create real, lasting change – and that’s why we run our Youth Ambassadors program.

Each year since 2015, Save the Children’s Youth Ambassadors program has given four young people aged between 14 and 17 the opportunity and support to take their places at the forefront of Australian life.

Our Youth Ambassadors have brought the concerns of young people in their own communities out into the wider community by tabling issues relevant to youth in parliament, writing articles for mainstream media about their concerns, and speaking at conferences and summits.

They help Save the Children reach our goal of working to uphold, promote and protect children's rights, and are encouraged to focus on what impacts them most.

We’re proud of our past and present Youth Ambassadors as we watch how they inspire and create change in the Australian community.

Find out the latest news on our Youth Ambassadors:

Read our 2018 Youth Ambassadors' Manifesto here.

Meet our Youth Ambassadors

In 2018, we selected 7 emerging young community leaders to represent their peers as Save the Children Youth Ambassadors. Kupakwashe Matangira, Zahra Bilal, Imogen Radford and Bassam Maaliki from NSW, Georgia Lethlean, Alex Dunmill from Victoria, and Ben Jackman from Queensland. They are a diverse group with at least one commonality; all have a drive and passion to make change and create a brighter future for their generation and those to come.



Kupakwashe Matangira was born in Zimbabwe and came to Australia in 2006 at the age of five. She is passionate about human rights and social justice and strives for a society where all people are treated equally.


Georgia Lethlean reflects on a recent trip to Zambia with her school group that exposed her to the developing world and rewired her Western thinking. She wants to learn the language of diplomacy and social justice, and make her own contribution to upholding global human rights.


Zahra Bilal is a critical thinker but always open to new ideas. She believes the solutions to today's challenges will come from the bright, bold, youthful minds. As an Australian-Pakistani-Muslim female, she draws heavily from the lessons of her hard working, migrant parents as well as the challenge of facing various stigmas associated with her faith and culture. 


Imogen Radford is a proud Ngarigo woman from Tumbarumba, which is outside Wagga Wagga, NSW. She wants to study medicine or science when she finishes high school, to help people and impact lives. She is inspired by how her community, its leaders and teachers supported and raised her and this drives her further to advocate for the change she want to see in the world.


Alex Dunmill is 15 years old, born and raised in Melbourne and passionate about cricket, cooking, photography and writing. His volunteer work with a charity has taught him that you don't have to be poor or live in a bad area to fall on tough times. He feels it is the role of his generation to lead from the front and create the better world they want to inhabit.


Bassam Maaliki, is an Australian born Muslim from a Lebanese background, who is passionate about change. He believes that among other issues in the world, all youth have the basic human right to a full education, good health, a safe home and a place to belong and thrive. 


Ben Jackman is a 17-year-old student from Qld. He believes that the attitudes and values of the younger generation are disregarded by the politicians and he most wants to represent these voices that go unheard.


In 2017, Melissa Li, 14, Catherine Zhou, 16, Edward Cooper, 14, and Annalise Pearse, 14, represented three different states, and wrote about racism and refugees in the mainstream media. They also took to parliament their concerns on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, education, the environment, and drug and alcohol abuse in schools.


Melissa Li, from New South Wales, came to Australia from New Zealand when she was nine. She wants more opportunities presented to disadvantaged children, the education gap closed, more equality in gender and more support for marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Catherine Zhou hails from Victoria and joined the program to create impact. After volunteering for a refugee legal centre, she realised how privileged she was and wanted to ensure others have the same security she’s felt most of her life.


Edward Cooper, a basketball player from Victoria, is used to being political and speaking up loud, and is an advocate for encouraging other young people to do the same.


Annalise Pearse from Perth believes that education is the most important feature in unlocking people’s potential, reducing climate change, helping those in developing countries, closing the gap between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people, and giving everyone equal rights.

Read the 2017 Youth Ambassadors report here.


In 2016, Save the Children Youth Ambassadors Lilly Lyons, 14, Habiba Asim, 18, Cameron Warasta, 16, and Genevieve Groves, 16, joined 70 other young people for the 2016 Youth Summit in Melbourne, discussing what young people wanted from the new Federal Parliament. They took over Save the Children’s social media accounts when they met politicians in parliament. Lilly's article on family violence appeared in Mamamia and SBS, while Cameron shared his concerns on the same-sex marriage postal vote excluding young people.


Lilly Lyons is from New South Wales and is a strong advocate for sexual assault victims and people who've experienced homelessness and drug and alcohol abuse. She hosts her own show for young people on local radio station 2GLF.


Habiba Asim is from Western Australia. Her mother country is Pakistan and she’s passionate about breaking down stereotypes in society and achieving justice for people seeking asylum. She believes Australia has the capability of helping those who need it most.


Cameron Warasta, from Victoria, is passionate about fighting for equality and justice. Born to two Afghan parents in Australia, he believes the way we respond to the needs of people seeking asylum is the greatest moral challenge of our times. He’s also passionate about achieving equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Genevieve Groves, from Queensland, is passionate about empowering young people and keen to voice the concerns of her local and global community, and raising awareness about children who face disadvantage.

Read the 2016 Youth Ambassadors report here.


Our inaugural Youth Ambassadors, Danikka Calyon, 17, Elliott Gray, 15, Caitlyn Baljak, 17, and Hayden Burns, 17, came from three different states and the ACT. This group produced a youth manifesto to support 17 Global Goals – a meeting of world leaders held in 2016 designed to end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030. Calyon even went to the United Nations in New York to meet with world leaders.


Danikka Calyon is a proud Noongar woman from Armadale, Western Australia. She is passionate about advocating on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.


Elliott Gray is a proud Wiradjuri man from Sydney. He’s an accomplished musician and has performed at the Sydney Opera House multiple times. He has a very strong interest in climate change issues, as he has seen the effects of rising temperatures in the bush around his home.


Caitlyn Baljak lives in Queanbeyan in the ACT and is deeply interested in aid and development. She has been a member of the United Nations Youth Program, where she visited Timor-Leste to see aid work on the ground. She was the winner of the UN Youth Debate (ACT division).


Hayden Burns is a member of Save the Children’s NSW Youth Advisory Council and hails from Claymore, outside Sydney. He’s passionate about empowering youth, improving education, increasing employment and reducing bullying in schools.

Read the 2015 Youth Ambassadors report here.

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