Aboriginal students from Melbourne University and aspiring leaders of remote communities in the Northern Territory are among participants in Oxfam Australia’s ChangeCourse youth leadership program in Victoria from this Sunday.
The 30 participants, aged between 18 and 25, hail from different backgrounds from throughout Australia but have a common goal – to gain the skills to create positive change in their lives and communities.
ChangeCourse is a two-year program that will start with a gathering at Kinglake, outside Melbourne, from this Sunday to Friday November 2.
The program, which includes gatherings, training opportunities, mentoring and a small grants scheme, also will connect young Indigenous people to a range of inspiring mentors.
Twenty-three-year-old Leya Fewre is a community educator with Catholic Care in Katherine in the NT, assisting people in remote communities with financial literacy and advocacy skills.
‘I want to develop more confidence and leadership skills so I can be more effective in making a difference and achieving equality for Aboriginal people,’ Ms Fewre said.
‘It’s important to focus on youth, as that’s how we can start to break the cycle.’
Oxfam Australia Youth Programs coordinator Peter Nathan said the leadership program not only would allow participants to share experiences, struggles and goals, but also give them the skills to create positive change in their communities.
He said the participants were an outstanding group of people already active in their communities.
‘More than half of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population of Australia is under 25 years of age,’ Mr Nathan said. ‘Equipping young people with leadership skills and the capacity to create lasting change is critical if we are to make life better for Indigenous peoples.’
Mr Nathan said ChangeCourse also would connect young people with a range of mentors who could assist them over the two-year period.
‘It’s important to acknowledge the leadership that has come before and continues to develop in Indigenous Australia,’ Mr Nathan said.