News Centre

World Vision Youth Conference

A group of Sancta Maria College students from the World Vision 40 Hour Famine Student Committee were selected to attend the World Vision Youth Conference on Monday. This event was held at the Vodafone Events Centre and is a leadership event for secondary school students. The conference is an opportunity for ‘young people to develop into global citizens that are able to respond to the world around them.’

The day consisted of many influential speakers that talked to the audience about how they can be involved in the community. Some of the main speakers were Nishan David, Golriz Ghahraman, Chris Jupp and Abe Nouk.

Nishan David tricked the students into thinking he was from Britain and went on a mission to the moon. His talk fooled the students. However, they took away the message of how easy it is to be influenced by other people’s opinions. This made the audience think about how we shouldn’t let other people impact our decisions in life.

Golriz Ghahraman is an Iranian-Kiwi refugee who spoke of her experience escaping war and persecution as a child. She has been able to pursue a career as a lawyer in New Zealand and is now working to support fundamental human rights, restoring communities, is involved in refugee and migrant rights activism, and is empowering women. She is also the first ever refugee to be a member of parliament (MP). She talked about empowering refugees so that they feel they have a voice and can take their opinions to the officials so that they can get a better chance at life.

Chris Jupp has worked with World Vision for six years, having the opportunity to work with young leaders, innovators and change agents across the country. He works as a Youth Partner Manager, working alongside power movers to help see the potential in people and show them what they can do to end extreme poverty and injustice in the world. He talked about the understanding of how it is alright to say that you are not alright and that you’re not happy with how things are being done in our world. He also talked about hope, saying, “Be a person of influence, interaction, and engagement. Find hope in the things that you do, in the government and in others.” He said that to fix a problem, big or small, you have to acknowledge it first. This made the students think about how their own choices reflect the change they wish to see in the world and how their change is a beacon of how things really could be.

Abe Nouk is a spoken-word poet, hip-hop fanatic, and an author who talked of freedom of speech. He talked about how you should use your time wisely and make every moment of every day count. He told the group to use time to their advantage so that amazing things can be accomplished.

The World Vision Schools and Youth team talked to the students as well, and encouraged them to participate in the 40 Hour Famine. They talked about ways people could organise the 40 Hour Famine within schools and promote it to get everyone actively involved.

This year the 40 Hour Famine, occurring on June 8-10, is focused on South Sudan. Many young lives have been affected by conflict, drought, and famine, causing children to flee from their homes and their families. They have been forced to cross the border into Uganda, becoming refugees, where they are asking for protection and safety.

The money that is raised this year will help support the children have a better future, by having, “nutritious food, clean water, safe toilets, a place to live, and education and play in child-friendly spaces.”

Overall, the students left the conference feeling motivated and determined to do something about the inequalities they see in the world.

Mia Gilchrist