THE Roadtrip to End Poverty visited Bega on Tuesday with two special youth ambassadors in their ranks.
The road trip is the initiative of the Oaktree Foundation, Australia’s largest youth-run development agency.
The group’s aim is to collect 100,000 signatures for a Movement to End Poverty petition asking “for Australia to do its fair share to help end global poverty by giving 70 cents in every $100 of national income by 2020”.
One thousand youth ambassadors aged between 16 and 26 have spent the week travelling across the country collecting signatures and talking about global poverty.
Among the group of 30 travelling through South-East NSW is 16-year-old Niamh Nicol from Brogo and 18-year-old Siobhan Linehan from Nethercote.
After leaving Bega the group was headed to Canberra where all 1000 road trippers were set to perform a “visual stunt” yesterday at sunrise at Parliament House.
They were then set to meet over 100 MPs and senators throughout the day to talk about what they have learned and what Australians are thinking about global poverty.
Today all 1000 are headed to Sydney for a public celebration at the Sydney Town Hall with Federal Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth Peter Garrett and the band Evermore.
Sapphire Coast Anglican College student Niamh heard about the trip after an Oaktree representative came to visit her school.
“The school and my parents were really supportive of me talking this trip and it’s definitely been an amazing confidence builder,” Niamh said.
“I’ll have to give a talk at school when I go back, which is a little intimidating, but I’ll have plenty to talk about.”
For Siobhan, the trip is giving her a chance to pursue her dream of working as a humanitarian.
“When I was at Eden Marine High I went to Cambodia and it changed the way I looked at the world,” she said.
“It made me realise how privileged I was to grow up in Australia, and I want to use that privilege to help others.
“Joining the road trip is a way to channel that passion and also a way to meet other liked-minded people.”
It’s been a busy week for Siobhan, who was awarded the Bega Valley Shire Council’s International Women’s Day Young Woman of the Year Scholarship last Friday.
“It was an awesome surprise, and it will really help me achieve my goals,” Siobhan said.
Currently having a gap year, Siobhan is set to start a degree in International Relations and Sociology at the University of Wollongong next year.
Siobhan is also working towards getting into a United Nations intern program in New York this September.
Donna Campbell, youth community development office for Bega Valley Shire Council, praised Siobhan and Niamh as great youth ambassadors not only for Oaktree’s Roadtrip to End Poverty but for their hometowns.
“Siobhan is on the BVSC Youth Council and does a really exemplary job there so we were happy to sponsor her for this road trip,” she said.
“Having young people like Siobhan and Niamh do something like this is very inspiring and I hope many more youth from the Valley following in their footsteps.”