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Young and Powerful

Average Doesn't Mean Inadequate

How every young person is capable of changing the world.

There are currently around 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 - 24 in the world, making up the largest youth population ever in history. These are people who are navigating their way through life, discovering their abilities, talents, and their place in the world. Unfortunately, for many of them, their aspirations and opportunities are restrained by obstacles such as poverty, gender and economic inequalities, discrimination, and deprivation.

Despite these hindrances, plenty of young people have stood up against injustice and oppression to improve lives for their own communities, and for others. When we think of young people who have made important contributions to bettering the world, several archetypes may come to mind: ridiculously young visionaries and entrepreneurs; high school geniuses and fearless activists willing to risk their lives for what they believe in.

Malala is perhaps the most prominent and inspirational example of a young person fighting for a better world. It can be easy to feel incredibly average when you read about her immense perseverance and sacrifice.

Image: Malala.org (https://www.malala.org/malalas-story)

At the age of just 13, she drew worldwide attention towards the plight of young women and girls in her village in Pakistan when she was shot in the head by members of the Taliban for campaigning against the regime’s deprivation of education for girls. Following her recovery from the harrowing experience, she went on to lead a movement, established a global fund under her name, and became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

We’ve all heard the cliche but evidently true phrase “young people have the power to change the world”. But in comparison to extraordinary individuals like Malala, you may also feel like there is little you can do to make a significant or noticeable impact.  

But that is simply not true.

You may never have campaigned in your life, been particularly outspoken about the issues you’re concerned about, or view social action as outside of your comfort zone, but as a young person, especially a young person in Australia, you are incredibly well placed to enact change in your local community, city, state, country and beyond.

Youth participation in Australia, and opportunities to engage in civic and political arenas are greater than they’ve ever been. When it seems like there is increasing prejudice, injustice, and pessimism about the future, young people across the country are mobilising to tackle systems of inequality and advocate for fairer solutions to the challenges we face. The actions young people have taken individually and collectively have changed minds, influenced policies, and brought issues that were neglected to the forefront.

There is no reason to be discouraged by a perceived inexperience or lack of capacity to advance causes you care about. At Oaktree, as cliche as it may sound, we are witnesses to the enormous potential of our young volunteers each and every day.

So why not take the leap, and get involved with a campaign, club or issue you're passionate about? If you're looking for a way to fight injustice, you can become an Oaktree Student Ambassador, or volunteer with us!