Global Leaders Convention, Luna Park

Our High School Maphutseng ambassadors were invited to attend the 2018 World Vision Global Leaders Convention, on Tuesday the 29th of May. This was a one-day leadership event designed to inform and empower students in Years 10 to 12, who are passionate about being a voice for justice in the world.

Ten of our students represented WCCS, below are some of their reflections:

Lauren (Year 11 Maphutseng Representative)
I had the privilege of attending the World Vision Youth Conference alongside a thousand other students from across NSW. The day began with each school being assigned a country, and faced with making decisions responding to international crises. This experience confronted us with the reality of Syria’s civil war and challenged us to think through potential solutions to help the 6.5 million people displaced as a result of this conflict.

In the next segment of the day, we heard from Asma Mirza and Simon Shahin; refugees who fled to Australia from Afghanistan and Syria respectively. After hearing their stories, we were encouraged to write down our own. We each chose a social justice issue we were passionate about and shared it with someone we didn’t know. Each story was written in three parts; our personal story, the story of “Us”, and the story of “Now.” This was a unique experience where we were not only confronted with issues in the world, but encouraged to think of possible solutions. We hope to challenge all students at William Carey to become active global citizens.

Upon further reflection, I realise we have a large responsibility as future leaders. Beneath every economic issue there are people with real stories to share. Australians have been blessed with safety and peace, but does that mean we distance ourselves from the suffering millions? It is worth educating ourselves so that we can stand with wisdom and understanding, rather than speaking blindly or with apathy towards others who are created and loved equally by God.

Emily (Year 10 Maphutseng Representative)
I was blessed to have the opportunity to attend the World Vision seminar at Luna Park. It was an interactive conference involving schools around Sydney, the whole experience was unforgettable. We learnt about how one selfish action can have world-wide consequences. I personally was impacted by one of the videos we watched. It was about an underprivileged girl who, although fleeing her country, thought to bring her school books. She made me think of those of us who take the school system for granted. Thousands of children would be extremely grateful for the educational privileges that Australia offers. And yet, we grudge and complain at times. Another video that was a revelation for me, was a video about stereotypes. They used colours to represent ways people are stereotyped, which showed how easy it is to stereotype without thinking. We were encouraged to write about something we were passionate about in relation to social justice. I wrote about school shootings. We then had to share with people from other schools. It was both interesting and encouraging to see what other young people like me were passionate about. It really made me hopeful for the future, seeing a whole conference centre full of next generation leaders, finding solutions for issues prior generations haven’t paid attention to.

Siobhan (Year 10 Maphutseng Representative)
The day was an awesome experience, it gave me a deeper understanding of the refugee crisis; how displaced people are really struggling. For example, about 28,300 people per DAY are forced to flee from their homes because of conflict and persecution. This at first appeared to just be a number, however, World Vision stopped me from seeing this as just a number, but as many different life stories. They did this by showing us individual stories of people who have left their home to seek for a different place.

What was also amazing was that World Vision didn’t just leave us with those facts, rather, we were empowered to pursue change and make a difference in our world. For example, we were taught ways to instigate change, and little shifts that can inspire significant movements. My desire is to see our school community continue to make a difference in the lives of those less privileged than we are. The William Carey Maphutseng Partnership is an example of that.

Olivia (Year 9 Maphutseng Representative)
I had the great privilege of representing my school at the World Vision Youth Conference. The day started with an interactive activity that explored the refugee crisis faced by the UN. This activity involved extensive consideration and discussion about potential methods to end the refugee crisis. We compared different ideas and approaches. I was immediately overwhelmed by the enormity of the issue and judging by the frustrated energy in the room, hundreds of others were as well. We listened to firsthand accounts of refugees and an immigration lawyer who spoke about the unimaginable struggles faced by refugees and asylum seekers. We were enraptured by their stories about their childhood which differed so much to ours. While we had experienced childhood’s full of outdoor adventures and fun, it had never been safe enough for them to set foot outside their house. The speaker spoke to us about effective strategies to influence change within our communities. He spoke about how simple, small actions can cause a ripple effect to occur within a society. Many people had the opportunity to speak about issues they have recognised in our society and we formulated innovative ideas to influence change. The speaker used effective strategies to demonstrate to us that by directing our focus in the appropriate areas, we have the capability of helping those less fortunate, and contributing to the combined effort to making the world a safer environment.

Overall, this conference was a great experience that had a lasting impact on me. I have learnt that if people work collaboratively towards a common goal, change is more than achievable.

Grace (Year 9 Maphutseng Representative)
I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to go to the World Vision Youth Conference, and it was an eye opener. The leaders told us about the world issues going on at the moment, focusing on refugees and the crisis currently going on in Syria, and the millions that had to flee from their homes to go to a foreign land,only with the clothes on their backs. I had no prior knowledge of the enormity of this problem, and the number of people it affects. We got to hear personal stories from refugees that had to leave their homes.

We also participated in interactive games that opened our eyes to issues outside our own bubble, and gained a deeper understanding that change is possible. All movements start with a small spark, and we as a WCCS community, can be that spark.