Starting early on Monday 17th May 2021, several schools across the North Island assembled in the Victory Convention Centre in Auckland for the annual World Vision Youth Conference.
The main goal of the conference was to ignite passion in the hearts of young leaders across New Zealand. Nine 40 Hour Famine Student Committee leaders were invited to attend the conference, and in turn, gained valuable insight as upstanding leaders of tomorrow.
Our leadership was challenged by “The Peg Activity.” Everyone was told to search for pegs (and even steal some) so that prizes like apples, coke, or pizza could be won. However, the true intention behind the activity was to test our determination. How far would we go if those prizes suddenly became water, food, or shelter?
Laz Lemanutau: the host for the day, spoke about the ‘Tragedy of the Commons.’ It encapsulates systemic injustice where there are essentially enough resources to sustain the whole world, however, not enough of these resources are being shared around. This smoothly tied with the theme of “We before Me,” that Laz later talked about. For us to get somewhere, to make a change, we must store away our selfishness and start with others.
Guest speakers: Yoseph Ayele and Lydia Hollister-Jones, who experienced their fair share of hardships, had some messages that left us pondering on.
Yoseph’s message was, “You can shape your reality.” It’s a common belief that one person amongst over 7 billion people in the world can only make an insignificant change. However, Yoseph guaranteed that even one of us could make a difference. Like the Persian poet Rumi said, “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”
After Yoseph had spoken, Lydia talked to us about the idea that leaders are not always on the frontlines. Often, leaders are left to handle the hardest and messiest jobs like cleaning up ‘rubbish juice’, as Lydia had done herself. Martin Luther King had said, “There is deep down within all of us an instinct,” so as leaders, it is up to us to support and nurture others.
Currently, New Zealand is one of the fortunate countries that are not having to face Covid-19 face-to-face. However, it is crucial not to forget that other countries continue to battle Covid-19 head-on as it takes over their lives. Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many of those less fortunate countries, where over 280 million kids do not have enough food.
This year, World Vision has chosen to send all proceeds to sub-Saharan Africa, where all donations will go towards alleviating their hunger pandemic. The 40 Hour Famine will occur in Week 8 of Term 2, from 25-27 June. For 40 hours, see what you can give up – be it food, devices or other privileges. Or instead doing a 40km walk. Whatever you do will impact the way you and others see the world.
40 Hour Famine Booklets are now available, so come along to CU1 during interval and lunch to sign-up for the challenge!
With a big thank you to Ms Kevern, the student leaders described the day as empowering, enlightening and inspiring. We hope for everyone to keep their eyes and hearts open so that together we will make a change starting now.