The ARA Youth Ambassador Program is a leadership development opportunity for high school students in years 10-11 who are passionate about refugee issues. The program provides young people with leadership training and experience to advocate for refugees and asylum seekers, as well as guide them in engaging the broader community to promote harmony and understanding.
Young people face unique challenges throughout settlement. With hopes and aspirations for their future, they are learning to define who they are. It is a critical time as they lay the foundation for their future lives. The ARA Youth Ambassador Program helps set young people up for success in their community, empowering them to become leaders with a strong voice.
“I was only six when I began my long journey to Australia – a place I now proudly call home. But I was born and raised in Tanzania in eastern Africa.
“As a young child, I lived in a carefree bubble, unaware of the civil war raging in Burundi, where Dad had worked with the UN. Dad was a target for gunmen and thieves and in constant danger, so my family was forced to flee to Tanzania, where I was born.
“We were poor and food was scarce. Mum and Dad were desperate to give our family a better future. Dad began applying for visas to Australia. It took six years to be accepted. When the day came, we had to grab what we could and run to the overcrowded UN truck – or be left behind.”
Now Claudetta is 18, a confident, strong young woman and a proud Australian citizen. But it wasn’t always this way. Settlement is challenging and full of uncertainty. Claudetta is just one of many young people who cope with this enormous change in their lives every day.
These young people need your support to find their place in their community, succeed in school life and their future career.
Claudetta and her peers have stories to tell about hardship, struggle and success. They have a critical role to play in inspiring other young people and raising awareness about the challenges they face. They need you – and ARA – to help them take on the world.
Through the ARA Youth Ambassador Program, young people become confident decision makers and future leaders. Youth Ambassador activities include a three-day camp, mentoring support, focus days to explore special topics and leadership opportunities such as events and public speaking.
The Youth Ambassador Camp is crucial to the group’s formation, providing a unique opportunity to build confidence, understanding, relationships and a sense of purpose and inspiration.
“The camp was an unforgettable experience. It was incredible to see how brave people around us are and how their stories shaped who they are today.”– 2018 Student
“The resilience workshop helped me grow personally and helped me discover who I am. The ARA Youth Panel was really inspiring to hear all the stories and know that you’re not alone.”– 2018 Student
Claudetta speaks passionately about why it is so important that young people like her are given a chance.
“Giving me this chance to be a Youth Ambassador has changed my life. I feel so honoured to be an Ambassador. I want other young people to have this chance too. Will you please support us?”