Every child and young person have a right to be heard on issues that affect their lives.
Over the next 12 months, 12 young people aged 15-24 will have the opportunity to listen to children and meet our country’s key decision makers to influence change.
Recruited from across Australia, they are trained in leadership, government advocacy, media and communications, and engaging with children and young people.
Read on to learn what motivates our Young Ambassadors to speak up for every child, no matter what.
Traditional land: Wurundjeri (Melbourne)
A song that represents me: “That Funny Feeling" by Bo Burnham
My favourite TV show: Avatar: The Last Airbender
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I am an active advocate for the importance of diverse lived and living experience. I believe that UNICEF embodies the concept of ‘Nothing about us or for us, without us.’ I resonate strongly with UNICEF’s core values and how they amplify voices that are not often heard.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: The voices of young people are often overlooked or drowned out by people in decision making positions. As children and young people, we have a fundamental right to be involved in decision making that affects us. As our representatives, decision makers have a responsibility to support us, not just as partners, but as leaders. I believe that, together, we can co-design a future for all people, regardless of age, background, identity, or neurodiversity.
Jahin, Australian Capital Territory
Traditional land: Ngunnawal country (Canberra)
A song that represents me is: “I Lived” by OneRepublic
My favourite TV show: Friends
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I want to be a torchbearer for young people who don’t feel like their voices matter or are heard. My ambition is to elevate the concerns of young people from minority communities and ensure that we act on their needs, and deviate away from tokenistic representation.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: Young people and children are often brought into discussions and rooms to tick an agenda. They are seen in a tokenistic light. This is not right, as young people have an enormous amount of lived experience, opinions and ideas that are valuable and should be seen with the same importance as anyone else.
Traditional land: Djabugay country (Cairns)
A song that represents me: “Time” by The Whitlams
Favourite TV show: Utopia (ABC)
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I strongly support UNICEF Australia’s mission to uphold the rights and dignity of children, and I believe that through the program I can help build a future of which we can all be proud.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: I would like access to mental health services to be more readily available, particularly in regional and remote communities, so young people, regardless of their location, can get support when they need it most.
Amber, Western Australia
Traditional land: Wadandi Boodja (Margaret River)
A song that represents me is: I’m not sure about represents, but I love Billy Joel’s “Vienna” – very wholesome!
My favourite TV show is: The Office
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I’m passionate about making sure young people’s voices are heard by decision makers. I believe young people not only deserve, but need a seat at the table.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: Valuing education! Making education about curiosity and learning, rather than grades and stress.
Bayan, New South Wales
Traditional land: Darug land (Western Sydney)
A song that represents me: “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwoʻole
Favourite TV show: The Office
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I want to contribute to the advancement of young people. I hope to one day be able to apply what I learn in the program in places around the world that are not as lucky as Australia. I am an Iranian, ethnically Kurd, and came to Australia in 2007. During my time overseas as a refugee, UNICEF helped me receive medical assistance at school when my family could not afford it.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: I would love for the voice of young people to be front and centre on issues that affect young people. I wish that during my time in school my voice would have been front and centre on issues regarding mental health, bullying, and literacy for culturally and linguistically diverse young people.
Grace, Northern Territory
Traditional land: Larrakia country (Darwin)
A song that represents me: “Legends” by Sleeping with Sirens
Favourite TV show: Supernatural!
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I’m passionate about contributing to improving the lives of children and young people. I’m a Nyikina woman and first-year university student living in Melbourne. I’m hoping to study veterinary medicine.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: I would like to help more children and young people to be aware of and fully understand their rights, so that there are less opportunities for others to take advantage of them. I am passionate about the climate crisis, the #MeToo movement, mandatory detention for refugees, black deaths in custody.
Kbora, South Australia
Traditional land: Kaurna land (Adelaide)
A song that represents me: “Try Everything” by Shakira (from the movie Zootopia)
My favourite TV show: Young Sheldon
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I can never forget being given donations of school supplies when I was young. These were from organisations such as UNICEF and they were a symbol of hope that people cared and knew we existed. I was born in Afghanistan and became the first Afghan woman to join the Australian Army. Being honoured as a Young Ambassador today means I can pay it forward because children never forget kindness and generosity.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: To seek help if they are struggling with mental health. More than ever the young people are faced with challenges that are beyond their control while also juggling with the daily demands of life. More than ever, we need to continue to speak up, put more effort in creating safe classrooms, schools and workplaces so children and young people can feel safe to reach out for help.
Traditional land: Wurundjeri (Melbourne)
A song that represents me: "Good Life" by OneRepublic
My favourite TV show: Stranger Things
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I am passionate about creating equal opportunity for all young people to pursue their interests and receive a quality education. I co-founded a peer-to-peer tutoring program for younger students at my school and volunteer as a reading buddy for a disadvantaged student. I was born in New York City and attended a public school in Brooklyn which exposed me to significant educational inequality.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: Australia needs to be a place where everyone belongs and everyone can have their ideas heard, because meaningful change stems from the collaboration and consensus of all, especially those inheriting positions of influence. In order to establish this, we need to sow the seeds of representation early, by equipping young people with the skills they need through our education system.
Isabelle, New South Wales
Traditional land: Bidjigal (Southern Sydney)
A song that represents me is: "Another State" by Tigers in the Sky
My favourite TV show: Gilmore Girls is my comfort show.
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: Young people have more power to change the world than we are told we have. I want to help ensure our voices are heard because we are responsible in creating a future we believe in.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: The education system so that every child and young person in Australia has equal access to a quality education. Socio-political structures have an acute impact on children and young people. Early inequalities in primary school are compounded over time and manifest into gaps in career opportunity and quality of life in adulthood due to inequitable funding and resources. Education is one of the strongest determinates and predictors of poverty and wellbeing and everyone deserves the chance to get a quality education.
Traditional land: Tiagarra (northern Tasmania)
A song that represents me: "Fine Line" by Harry Styles because I love the meaning of the song – with the good and the bad everything will be alright in the end.
My favourite TV show: The Office
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I experienced a class session with a Young Ambassador last year. It was the first time, not only myself but my peers, felt like we were really heard, listened to, and appreciated. This is something I am passionate on continuing and believe the voice for change in this country begins with our youth.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: For every child to grow up and have the same opportunities as each other. To celebrate each other’s culture and heritage, diversity is a strength and not a weakness. I’m passionate about this issue because it is close to my heart as a proud Lutruwita (Tasmanian) Aboriginal.
Daniel, South Australia
Traditional land: Kaurna land (Adelaide)
A song that represents me: "Remember the Name" by Fort Minor
My favourite TV show: The Big Bang Theory
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I am interested in making a genuine difference to not only the lives of those within my own community, but to the lives of all children across the world. I want to be a voice that speaks on behalf of those whose voices are drowned out in the world.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia: I would like to create an environment of equity where every child can pursue their own goals. While each child in the country is unique as an individual, each and every one of them should be given the opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the world.
Traditional land: Yugambeh (Gold Coast)
A song that represents me: "This is It" by Michael Jackson
My favourite TV show: I really don’t have one! But perhaps my favourite movie is Burlesque.
I joined the Young Ambassador program because: I want to advocate for and with young people in an engaging and inspiring way and develop a passion and commitment in them for pushing boundaries and ensuring their voices are heard. When we work alongside children, we encourage their responsibility to make choices and exercise their rights so that they are the breakers and makers of their story.
One thing I would like to change for children and young people in Australia is: The current state of children in mandatory closed immigration detention for an indefinite period with no consideration in providing pathways to protection, settlement or stability. It’s time that we welcome children seeking asylum to our shores and seek for them, protection from conflict and persecution.
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