After searching the length and breadth of the country for young, passionate New Zealanders who want to make a difference in the world, UNICEF NZ (UN Children’s Fund) has chosen six students to become its 2012 Youth Ambassadors. They are:
· Akane Sandom, 18, Wellington
· Darren Zhang, 18, Auckland
· Ben Dowdle, 17, Auckland
· Sharndre Kushor, 17, Auckland
· Rachael Hodge, 17, Christchurch
· Nasif Azam, 17, Christchurch
The new UNICEF NZ Youth Ambassadors were chosen from an in-depth process of written applications and interviews. The successful six began their new role with a workshop weekend at the charity’s offices in Wellington which took place from January 21–23.
The practical training weekend was an opportunity for the new Ambassadors to get to know each other, learn more about the mission and values of UNICEF New Zealand, share ideas about how to make a difference, and gain the skills needed to take action.
The Youth Ambassadors will work with the charity to create a program of activities on the issues they care about most, such as climate change or HIV and AIDS in developing countries. The teens will aim to raise awareness in their own communities and around the country through activities such as running events, writing blogs, giving interviews or creating video content.
Pip Bennett, Advocacy Officer at UNICEF NZ, said “It’s so important that young New Zealanders have their say on issues that affect them at home and around the world, so we’re very excited about having our new Youth Ambassadors on board.
“We were hugely impressed at the quality of applications we received this year and can’t wait to see what our new Ambassadors do over the next 12 months to inspire and engage others with the issues that matter to them.”
UNICEF NZ started its Youth Ambassador program in 2010 to coincide with the International Year of Youth. Ambassadors were involved with a range of activity including attending the UNICEF NZ Youth Congress in Auckland and the 3Youth project with 3News which aims to give young people a voice in the media.