Voices for Change
Voices for Change (VFC) is a project which works with young people aged 18-28 from Kurdish, Somali and Iraqi backgrounds. It will seek to empower them with the knowledge, skills and resources to influence and mentor other young people in their community to help them formulate a clearer purpose and direction for their future.
VFC offers a unique opportunity for young people to
- Build and develop their networks with people from diverse social and cultural backgrounds through innovative and interesting programs;
- Provide an exciting opportunity to promote a more positive image of the communities they represent to the general public;
- Identify ways to prevent isolation and encourage them to engage more positively with their community as well as with other communities;
- Be part of an interesting forum to share knowledge, experiences, culture, traditions, beliefs and concerns with other young people and, at the same time, learn from other young people's insights and experiences.
This project has been funded by the Australian Government acting through the Attorney-General's Department. These grants have been established to help local communities take action to counter violent extremism within our society and to promote an inclusive and safe environment for Australia. Spectrum MRC was one of only seven organisations funded to implement this program in the first round of funding.
VFC will take place in Melbourne's northern metropolitan region, focusing on communities located in the Darebin, Moreland, Banyule and Hume local government areas.
Key VFC project activities include:
- YOUTH AMBASSADORS - Exploring the issues around disengagement & isolation, vulnerability and lack of purpose and direction in life among young people from these backgrounds and identifying young people interested in ongoing involvement in the project as VFC youth ambassadors.
- CAMP - A three-day multi-faith camp bringing together selected young people from each target community with youth from other faith and cultural backgrounds and communities, facilitating dialogue and debate around issues in their respective communities.
- MENTORING - Support young people to crystallise ideas arising from previous activities by matching them with mentors on an ongoing basis, and holding a workshop that enables the transformation of those ideas, particularly relating to engaging vulnerable youth from their communities and taking practical actions to assist and guide them.
- FUNDING FOR PROJECTS - Facilitating participation in one-on-one peer mentoring with young people who are most in need of mentoring and receiving ongoing support and guidance to apply for funding to implement project ideas. This will also be supported by workshops and a mini-conference to be jointly conducted with the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University.
A steering committee (formed by major stakeholders and community leaders) will meet bi-monthly to discuss major milestones in the project and ensure the project activities feature innovation and creativity.