Students raise voices for justice
Two Year 10 students recently attended Micah Australia’s Voices for Justice Conference. According to Arden alumna (2014), Ally Neale, who is Micah Australia’s Voices for Justice Intern: “ Voices for Justice is an initiative of Micah Australia, a coalition of Christian aid and development agencies and churches, which aims to educate and equip Australians to speak out for justice and a world free from poverty. Voices for Justice offers a unique opportunity for students, with focused interactive training opportunities as well as the experience of meeting MPs and Senators. Through inspiration and resourcing, students head home with tools and networks to continue seeking God’s heart for justice and working toward a world free from poverty.”
The overall theme of the conference was “Australia: A good neighbour?” and the important issues of Australian aid and Climate change were discussed in the lead up to the students’ visit to Parliament. According to Year 10 students Amelia Quinane and Alanna Baker, highlights included hearing from a native Fijian reverend about storytelling and how it is a very important part of their culture, being involved with discussion/lobby groups, attending a “Q and A” style lecture titled “How to have a good MP meeting”, enjoying a Tongan feast and receiving policy briefings. Attending a youth session run by Ally Neale was another highlight, with the session focused on personal narrative training and teaching students how to advocate for others, through their own story.
After absorbing two days’ worth of facts, figures and stories, the students assembled with their lobby groups in the Parliament House Foyer and attended challenging, yet exciting meetings with various politicians. Summarising the experience, Amelia Quinane and Alanna Baker shared: “After a challenging and exhilarating few days, we both felt very empowered and encouraged to use our voices to help those who are struggling in our neighbouring countries. As the voters in the next election, we hope it was useful to the politicians in planning their next pitches. Overall, this was an amazing experience and proved to us that more action needs to take place from younger generations as we have been called on to act by our brothers and sisters who still have hope.”