Save the Children’s Youth Ambassadors are in Canberra this week to raise their voices and meet with decision makers in Parliament on issues affecting young people.
The Youth Ambassadors will present a powerful manifesto of issues they know are important to young people and that they would like politicians to address. These include climate change, violence against children, asylum seeker and refugee policy, LGBTIQ inclusion and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, youth justice and health.
Save the Children passionately believes that Australia must do everything in its power to ensure children’s rights and ideas are recognised and respected.
The Youth Ambassadors will be attending and speaking at a Kids Off Nauru rally on the lawns of Parliament House on Tuesday, November 27 at 10.30am, joining the thousands of Australians who will not rest until all the children and their families are evacuated from Nauru and resettled in Australia or another suitable country that welcomes them.
Ambassador Kupakwashe Matangira, 17, said it was important for the Australian Government to listen to young people.
“It is my hope that one day adults can see young people for their value and give us platforms to voice our opinions. That’s why having the opportunity to take my voice to Canberra this week is so important to me,” Kupakwashe said.
“This is an opportunity for us to be heard and make the case for change that matters.
“If history repeats itself, and young people are relegated to the sidelines, then we will not be building the Australia we want to inherit.”
Kupakwashe said while young people may not have the life experience of older Australians, they still wanted to influence the world around them.
“Politicians rarely consider the thoughts and opinions of young people in decision making – even when the issue directly concerns us – meaning there is a clear disconnect between what adults expect from young people and what we expect from ourselves,” Kupakwashe said.
Ambassador Zahra Bilal, 16, a passionate health advocate, is concerned that now more than ever, young, politically-minded people are missing out on the chance to influence policy on issues that matter to them.
“My peers and I are passionate about the incredible country that we live in and it is critical that we have a say in deciding its course, so our values are reflected in our political future,” Zahra said.
Save the Children's Domestic Campaigns Coordinator Peter Nathan said the Youth Ambassador program, and process of producing their own manifesto, helped young people articulate their views on what a fair Australia could look like.
“Young people themselves are the best advocates to create real, lasting change on issues that matter to them,” Mr Nathan said.
“We are incredibly proud of this year’s Youth Ambassadors, who have proven to be tenacious, passionate, and sophisticated in their views.
“I urge today’s political leaders to receive these impressive young people and their views with the respect they deserve.”
Save the Children’s Youth Ambassador program is a year-long program that aims to provide young people from across Australia with skills and knowledge that will help them represent their views at events, in the media and in Parliament.
Find out more about the 2018 Youth Ambassadors and read their manifesto here.
For interviews, call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027