In 2003, Oaktree had no office and no budget and only a small team of people.
They met in living rooms, cafes and school classrooms, to pursue an audacious goal: young people working to end extreme poverty in our lifetime.
Students reading in a new library built in one of the Demonstration Schools as part of our Beacon Schools Initiative in Cambodia.
Oaktree’s first overseas partnership was was an organisation called Sethani, In Kwa Zulu Natal., South Africa. Between 2006 and 2008 we worked with Sethani to invest $83,000 - funding the establishment of a community and education centre for 750 young people. Since then, Oaktree has partnered with three other South African organisations, as well as organisations in Ghana, East Timor, Cambodia, PNG and the Philippines. In 2011, we shifted our entire focus to the Asia Pacific. We’ve been lucky to work with over 10 local partners on projects in the region, directly benefiting almost 20,000 people. Overall, Oaktree has invested over $8 million in overseas partnerships - and every cent of that has come from people like you.
Raising awareness and influencing policy
The thing people still talk to us about is the 2006 MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY concert. It was timed to coincide with the G20 meeting in Melbourne, and we (somehow) managed to secure bands like U2 and Pearl Jam. 15,000 people attended the concert, and over 3 million watched on TV. As a result, over 50,000 Australians signed up as MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY supporters. From there came the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY ZEROSEVEN Roadtrip, and the End Child Slavery campaign; where 800 young people directly engaged with companies like Cadbury, to ensure their supply chains were slave free. In 2009 Cadbury announced their dairy milk range would become entirely Fairtrade. Most recently, Oaktree has run two more Roadtrips (in 2010 and 2013) and launched Live Below the Line - one of our most impactful campaigns to date. For 10 years, young people have been at front and centre of our campaigning.
For six years, Oaktree worked directly with high schoolers, through our Schools 4 Schools program. We provided knowledge and leadership training, so students could turn their passion into well-informed, well-directed, and influential action. Working in more than 50 schools, we’ve been lucky to encounter thousands of early leaders of social change - students making a difference in their school communities.
From 2008, a similar program, Generate, was on offer for university aged students. Generators have been some of our most committed campaigners, and highest Live Below the Line fundraisers - raising just under $6 million in four years.
10 Years of Oaktree