LAST month Oaktree launched an exciting new initiative known as International Youth Exchange, which aims to connect young people across the Asia-Pacific to collaborate on the movement to end poverty.
As Australia’s largest youth-led, anti-poverty organisation, Oaktree’s young leaders believe that social change is possible through sharing skills and knowledge with other young people overseas.
As part of the launch of the International Youth Exchange, eight of Oaktree’s most passionate young leaders from around the country recently returned from a 3-week trip to India working in collaboration with one of India’s largest youth organisations, Pravah.
The young Australians led campaigning workshops with Pravah’s volunteers to help strengthen the organisation’s capacity to create change in parts of North India whilst simultaneously having the opportunity to learn skills that create active youth citizenship from Pravah’s own members.
With almost 30% of the Indian population living below the poverty line, Pravah believes that social change is essential and can occur through empowering young people to be able to take informed value based stances and act on them, thereby building with and in youth leadership for social change.
Neeru, who travelled the journey of volunteer to facilitator at Pravah, said that “the larger aim [of Pravah] is to enable young people to become active citizens for life who act for positive social change irrespective of the careers and paths they take in life.”
Their young volunteers take part in campaigns and initiate social action projects such as a 6-week rural internship and educating the public on issues such as social inclusion.
Oaktree’s Director of International Youth Exchange, Laura Sykes, said “we’re privileged to learn from the expertise of our peer partners, and through promoting this learning we hope to create a broad shift in the perspective of the Australian public about our role in the region and the value of such meaningful partnerships”.
Oaktree has ongoing peer partnerships with youth organisations in Cambodia, Papua New Guinea and India, recognising that young Australians have so much to learn from youth leaders in our region.
To find out more about the International Youth Exchange initiative as well as Oaktree and its peer partners, please visit www.oaktree.org/youth_exchange.