Kate Koller, Gabby Eastgate and Petra Curd-McCullough, were lucky enough to be chosen to attend the World Vision Youth Conference.
The conference was a very heart-breaking and eye-opening experience. It was jam packed with a number of activities and talks. We started off the day with a game, the peg game. For this we had to run around the hall and collect as many pegs as possible, each colour corresponded with a certain food which was for morning tea, once all the pegs had been collected we counted up how many we had. After this they changed the meaning of the pegs to good water, clean air, shelter, and enough food. We were then asked to think about whether we would play the game the same way as before, to collect as much as we could, or if we would share it with others.
The first speaker was Joseph.He was born and raised in Ethiopia in the time of civil war. He spoke about the challenges in his life, his upbringing and his perspective on this. Even from a young age, when Joseph would complain to his parents about what he didn’t have, his mother would take him to the street to show him all the children with no parents, no food, no home and all sorts of various injuries. Through this he learned how to be grateful for all he had, not all that he did not have. Even though his family had no money, his mother fought incredibly hard for him to be accepted into the best schools with scholarships and he eventually got into Harvard. He now lives in New Zealand working on making visas more accessible to people.
Lydia is a New Zealander who after university moved to Cambodia to work with Hagar, a company which works with and supports victims of slavery. She taught us the true qualities of leadership and how leadership is not always taking a nice photo or having a cup of coffee but taking out the rubbish and doing the hard work. She now works in New Zealand providing food and sitting with the less fortunate people in our communities. She helped us understand the idea that you can’t expect to be the person people go to in the good times if you don’t sit with them through the hard times.
The final speakers were two of the youth ambassadors for World Vision, Luke and Jess. We got to ask them questions and hear about their experiences that made them decide to become youth ambassadors. Luke told us a story of how he got to go and meet one of the children he sponsored. He said that he had donated them a chicken and later when he visited the family he heard the story of how they had sold the chicken eggs to make enough money to buy a cow. From here they sold the cows' milk and saved up enough money to buy a motorbike. The father could then ride on this motorbike to get into the city to work and could therefore earn more money to help them survive. This helped us to understand the concept that even a small donation can go a very long way.
Overall the conference was a great opportunity for the three of us to attend and we hope to help raise awareness of the topics discussed to the students at our school and implement some of the ideas we have on how to best support these.