More than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are under 25. Oxfam Australia works in partnership with youth to create, empower, and effect lasting change.
Oxfam supports young people to increase their capabilities in order to affect change and play active roles in their communities. There is great potential to encourage strong future leadership by guiding and empowering young people to be strong, confident community members and leaders.
An often unheard story is that of the growing national movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who have seized opportunities and drawn strength from each other, and their passion for change. Our work with young people aims to build on this positive energy, widening networks and working across sectors to ensure that young people have their voices heard.
Recently we have supported SEED – Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network who work to build a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.
We have also supported Melbourne Aboriginal Youth Sport and Recreation (MAYSAR) to run boxing classes for Aboriginal young people in Melbourne northern suburbs.
We have hosted young people from the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) to highlight how Oxfam works with Indigenous organisations and communities on important issues such as health equality and reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in jails.
Skilling up in human rights
Oxfam has sponsored more than 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander young people to undertake Indigenous human rights training with the Diplomacy Training Program in Sydney. From the program young people learn about international human rights law, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, community development, and lobbying and campaigning skills.
We remain committed to assisting Indigenous youth gain an understanding of their rights at both the international and domestic levels and how respect for the rights of Indigenous people can ensure better social, economic and cultural outcomes. By working with Indigenous young people we are helping to build capacity of future Indigenous rights advocates.
We are incredibly proud of our contribution to developing the capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to lead projects which progress change and assert self-determination through our ChangeCourse program. In 2016 we wrapped up our ChangeCourse project but will continue working with young people with a range of new projects and partners.
In 2017 we will be developing a new model to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people aged between 18—25. We will seek to give young people the opportunity to gain experience and knowledge so that they can become agents of change in their own lives and on the issues that matter to them.
In the past year we supported young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to participate in a wide range of self-directed learning events:
- United Nations Conference on Climate Change
- SEED State Coordinator Training
- VACCHO Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
- Indigenous Study Tour to Canada and New Zealand
- Garma Festival
- Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre
- National Indigenous Legal Conference
- International Indigenous Youth Conference
- 4th National Indigenous Drug and Alcohol Conference
- Drug Awareness Campaign
- Beyond Coal and Gas Summit
- Volunteer Assistant Teacher of English in Fiji
- Rumbalara Healthy breakfast Junior Program
- Domestic Violence Veterans Support Group
- Dreamtime Bag Project (Emergency bags for kids removed into out-of-home care)
- National Indigenous Netball Carnival