A Year 10 Trundle Central School student, who is passionate about youth and rural communities, has been given a rare opportunity to be involved in UNICEF Australia's NSW Youth Summit on Living with Drought.
Hamish Sanderson lives on a farm about 38 kilometres southwest of Trundle and has been chosen as one of the 11 NSW young people on the steering committee for the summit that will focus on discussing the drought.
The three-day summit that is supported by the NSW Government and will run from October 9-11, is the next step in improving people's understanding of the impacts of drought on young people.
UNICEF Australia cast their net wide when searching for its steering committee so that they had even representation from drought-affected regions across NSW.
Initially the organisation worked through its contacts from the consultation process for its drought report, which led them to people recommended by community leaders and members, and drought-related organisations across the state.
From that list, they found Hamish.
UNICEF Australia is, until tomorrow night, seeking applications from across the state from young people aged 14-24, who have experience, knowledge and/or are living with drought, to attend the summit.
Applications close at 11.59pm on Friday, August 30 and all costs (travel, accommodation and meals) will be covered by the summit for the successful applicants.
The application process is available at https://www.unicef.org.au/droughtsummit.
The steering committee will then complete the task of selecting the 107 successful participants.
The steering committee has also been instrumental in designing the summit, which will see them collaborate with the participants and experts to come up with solutions and recommendations in relation to the many aspects of the drought that affect young people.
They will put these recommendations to bureaucrats, politicians and other decision-makers on the final day of the summit.
"The drought here in NSW has brought experiences of frustration and helplessness," Hamish said.
"As a Year 10 student, chances to work and earn money around my area are slim.
"This is due to the fact that farmers do not have enough money or small jobs to spare.
"Being unable to assist my family or do anything to remedy our situation leaves me feeling more helpless than ever before."
Hamish had two reasons why he wanted to be involved in the drought steering committee.
"The first because I wanted to do something to support youth in rural areas like Trundle," he said.
"Places like Trundle are hard to find because Trundle has a genuine feeling of support and security.
"Most of that support is due to the community, but some of these feelings occur because of the location.
"I also wanted to join the committee so I could meet up with like-minded individuals and listen to their stories."
Hamish hopes the summit will allow rural youth to open up and discuss the issues their families are facing.
"I believe this is important because if teenagers or young adults have someone to talk to, then a lot of stress they feel will be relieved," he said.
"These rural youth can also provide us with some ideas or inspiration for methods to assist the communities that are affected by the drought."
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