October 15, 2012
Forget binge drinking and antisocial behaviour, Generation Y may have the greatest sense of social justice yet – and they’re ready to make a difference.
The road to ending global poverty might be a long one, but for The Oaktree Foundation it’s a cause worth fighting for.
Next March, more than 1000 volunteers aged 16 to 26 will come together for a week-long, nationwide campaign, The Roadtrip to End Poverty.
Teams of young ‘ambassadors’ will hit the road from various capital cities before meeting in Sydney for Australia’s largest youth mobilisation against poverty.
The campaign will spread the message across Australia that young people care about extreme poverty and are willing to fight against it.
WA Roadtrip manager Georgie Perrot, who joined The Oaktree Foundation after being selected for the 2010 Make Poverty History Roadtrip, said she wanted others to get the same opportunity.
“The [Roadtrip] really shaped me as a young person, and I hope it will to do the same to many others,” Ms Perrot said.
Despite past setbacks in the fight to end poverty, Ms Perrot said she would not be giving up any time soon.
“Earlier this year when the aid budget was cut, it was hard to not get discouraged,” she said.
“But the amount of young people who called the Prime Minister’s office telling her how we felt about the issue shows that we have power.”
Today, more than a billion people live in extreme poverty, without access to education, health care, adequate food and clean drinking water.
In the year 2000, the Australian Government signed up to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, a set of eight targets to halve global poverty by 2015.
The goals range from providing universal primary education, to reducing child mortality and improving the health of mothers.
National Roadtrip Operations Manager Honeylyn Lisson says holding the government to this commitment will make a great difference.
“It will save the lives of thousands and contribute greatly to ending extreme poverty,” Ms Lisson said.
From March 9 to 16, ‘ambassadors’ across Australia will take a stand for poor people around the world.
“Having the road trip just months before the [Federal] election will have more influence and leverage than it would at any other time,” Ms Lisson said.
“The road trip will show that voters care about this issue, that it is a priority of the Australian youth … and it should be a priority of government.”
For the first time, The Oaktree Foundation is relying on donations from the public to fund the road trip.
“An anonymous donor has also recently committed to matching every dollar donated once we reach the $25,000 mark,” Ms Lisson said.
“This means that once we reach $25,000 we’ll have our impact doubled to $50,000.”
The Oaktree Foundation is now taking applications for ‘ambassadors’ for The Roadtrip to End Poverty.
Photos: Alanna Symes