Global poverty and the potential for New Zealand students to make a difference were on a list of challenges Wairarapa College students targeted during the annual 40-Hour Famine Global Leadership Convention in Wellington last week.
Six Year 10 to Year 13 Wairarapa College students travelled to the Beehive in Wellington for the convention alongside their secondary school counterparts from throughout the lower North Island, says Wairarapa College teacher Fleur Hardman.
Speakers included Education Minister Hekia Parata, Christchurch student volunteer army founder Sam Johnson, and three students who went with World Vision to Malawi in Africa to see where funds would be spent once raised on the 40-Hour Famine this year, which will run from May 23 to 25.
Ms Hardman says students at the convention were challenged on issues of global poverty and their potential to make a difference.
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"The number of children dying of starvation-related issues is decreasing and students were encouraged to rise to the challenge of seeing an end to world poverty in their lifetime," she said.
A surprise highlight for the students, Ms Hardman said, was meeting Prime Minister John Key, whom Year 13 Wairarapa College student Gus Syben, 17, posed with and captured in a "selfie" picture on the steps of the Beehive. Year 11 student Grace O'Hagan, 15, said she enjoyed hearing from the youth ambassadors and the inspiration they had generated.
"One thing that challenged me was putting myself out there and being more confident," she said.
Year 10 student Annika Green, 14, said the convention had "opened her eyes" to the large scale of poverty.
"I now feel passionate about the need to pass on this information to others and motivate them to make a difference, as well as raising so much money in this year's famine."
Year 13 Cassidy Cruz, 17, agreed and said a highlight for her was being among other people who were passionate about the 40-Hour Famine cause.