Vision for better future given voice

1 09 2009

See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil, do no evil – Proverb ;]

Taking action: Glen Waverley Secondary College students Lakshan, Daniel and Caitlin gave up things they enjoyed for the 40 Hour Famine. Picture: Lucy Di Paolo

In his attempt to give a voice to the plight of a billion hungry people in the world, Glen Waverley Secondary College student DANIEL CHRISTIANSZ gave up talking during World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine.

BEING voiceless for 40 hours was a physical, psychological and emotional challenge. Perhaps I have taken for granted my ability and right, in Australia, to voice my opinion without fear. To forego something this important and imperative to my social and school life, even for 40 hours, was a challenge.

Attempting to rehearse with a band, debate with parents and explain to people why I had tape on my mouth proved an arduous task.

Studying for a legal studies test on criminal trial procedure without being able to ask questions was truly tedious. It became difficult to think straight and to be able to solve problems. However, at times it did work in my favour as I was not compelled to respond to some questions people posed.

Although it was a struggle, the connection I felt towards the poor and oppressed became irreversible. I can never again say that I am disconnected to the point of inaction, or that I don’t know what is happening in the wider community.

I am privileged to form part of the Monash Young Persons’ Reference Group, which ensures the voices of Monash youth are heard. Unfortunately, many people in our wider community remain voiceless for their entire life.

The global financial crisis has negatively impacted the lives of countless people across Australia.

Those responsible for this financial crisis have been bailed out and have in some cases received enormous payouts while the true victims, the poor and oppressed, have been forced into poverty.

In the past year the global food crisis, the lesser known GFC, has pushed another 100 million people into poverty. According to the United Nations there are now a billion hungry people in our world. We must never forget that behind every statistic is a face.

What has been described as a ‘triple crisis’ by the United Nations will hurt the poor more than ever. The effects of soaring food prices, climate change and economic instability in Third World and developing countries cannot simply be swept under the carpet.

In Australia, rising food prices may influence us to eat out less but if you are one of the billion hungry people across the world it may mean you do not eat at all.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore that we live in a globalised world. Actions that do and do not take place in Monash will affect people in other countries who we may never meet.

The Monash Fair Trade Steering Committee, which promotes the use of Fair Trade products, is a prime example of how change is being created from a local level.

Although the 40 Hour Famine was a struggle, I strongly believe it was a worthwhile challenge that allowed me to stand in solidarity with the poor, raise awareness for an issue that will define my generation and raise money that will bail the poor out of a financial crisis they did not create.

I encourage you to take action. Choose two ways that you can make a difference within the next week. Visit to find out different ways that you can be involved.


Selfless teens act

10 11 2008
10/11/2008 11:05:00 AM

Lucy Di Paolo

Fair’s fair: Danielle, Daniel, Nicola and Priscilla will fight to end global poverty. Picture: Lucy Di Paolo

GLEN Waverley students are challenging the ‘selfish teenager’ stereotype by using their spare time to fight global poverty.

Four students from Glen Waverley Secondary College’s ‘Vision Group’ have been invited to World Vision’s Trek Against Trafficking campaign in Canberra on November 24-27.

There, the group will learn about slavery and trafficking, particularly in the cocoa trade.

Year 12 student Daniel Christiansz, 17, said it was unfair to label young people as “selfish”.

“I think we live in an age where statistics form attitudes,” Daniel said.

“I think many young people can see the economic failings of a society that gets its wants and needs sorely confused.”.

Last month, the group met more than 60 schoolmates and plans to invite business representatives to listen to their message.

Daniel said spreading the word created consumer awareness, which was vital for change.

The group wants to promote practical alternatives, such as buying ‘Fair Trade’ products as opposed to products sourced from slave trade and other unjust methods.

World Vision estimates more than 600,000 children work on West African cocoa fields, which produce 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa.

Of these children, 80 per cent are exposed to dangerous working conditions.

Councillor to make bold fair trade pitch

3 11 2008
27/10/2008 11:09:00 AM
A COUNCILLOR will pitch a bold proposal to make Monash a “Fair Trade Community” at Tuesday’s council meeting.Cr Charlotte Baines will recommend the council adopts the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand’s fair trade community guidelines and meets the terms of the program within 12 months.

The proposal will commit the council to serving Fair Trade-certified products at its meetings and in its offices.

If agreeing to adopt the guidelines, the council would be the second in Victoria, joining the City of Yarra, and the third in Australia to become a ‘fair trade’ council.

Fair Trade is a social movement which ensures farmers in developing countries are paid a fair price for their produce and not subjected to unsafe working conditions.

Under the plan, a steering group would be formed with a council representative and people representing schools, churches, community groups and businesses

to encourage the wider use of Fair Trade products.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for the City of Monash to become a leader within Victoria as well as Australia, to take up social responsibility and encourage the benefits provided by fair trade,” Cr Baines said.

She will also lobby for a Fair Trade Award at the Monash Business Awards.

The initial cost for the council would be $982, including a one-off joining fee of $850 from the association.

World Vision estimates more than 600,000 children work on cocoa fields in West Africa, which produces 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa. Of these children, 80 per cent are exposed to potentially dangerous working conditions, including the unprotected use of chemicals, carrying heavy loads and using machetes.

Youths rally for vision of fairer world

22 09 2008

Ted Kloszynski

22/09/2008 11:39:00 AM
A RIPPLE effect in Melbourne’s suburbs has turned one young voice into hundreds in a bid to make a difference in the world.Glen Waverley Secondary College’s “vision group” is one of many that will convene in Camberwell on Tuesday to campaign against child slavery.

Student Gabriel Wong, 16, co-founded the group after hearing about the concept on a visit to Emmaus College.

In turn, the Emmaus College students started their group after hearing about the idea from a different school.

“I agree with the concept ‘think globally, act locally’,” Gabriel said.

“There are a lot of things we can do as individuals that make real differences in the world.”

Gabriel said vision groups were having a ripple effect in Melbourne’s suburbs.

“It’s like a cell. Hopefully we will be able to influence our community and the Monash municipality and get other schools involved.”

Gabriel said child trafficking enslaved 27 million people on a global basis and there were practical ways to help, such as buying fair trade products.

The products guarantee no child labour is involved in the production process.

The GWSC vision group will attend World Vision’s rally against child slavery at Camberwell Baptist Church, 460 Riversdale Rd, Camberwell Junction, Tuesday, 9am-5.30pm. Cost: $10. Details: