‘Leave no one behind’ say 200 young people at the Poverty Summit 2019

More than 200 young people gathered at the Adelaide Festival Centre on Friday 28 June for the 2019 Poverty Summit.

Open to all South Australian students in years 10 -12, the first-of-its kind Poverty Summit was run entirely by and for young people, positioning young South Aussies as global leaders in developing real-world solutions to poverty, applying a local focus to a global issue.

On the day, more than 180 high school students travelled from all over the state to assemble at the Adelaide Festival Centre and participate in a series of UN Youth led workshops, listen to a panel of young experts and present their recommendations on issues they identified as being of greatest concern to South Australian children and young people who are experiencing poverty.

Australia’s Youth Representative to the United Nations, Kareem El-Ansary, gave the keynote address sharing his insights on the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals set for 2030 which features as its first goal the elimination of poverty for all children everywhere by 2030. Students representing more than 29 South Australian, public, private and independent schools discussed how to create a world where no child lives in poverty.

I had enormous confidence in the diversity of young people who were present to bring a unique perspective to one of the biggest social issues of our time.

At the event we references findings from the Poverty Survey undertaken from January through to June this year, which more that 1,000 young people responded to. A summary of these findings was presented at the Poverty Summit to provide a context for the workshops and panel discussions throughout the day:

Children and young people told me that ‘helping poor kids’ should be one of my top five priorities, with the common theme of ‘leaving no one behind’ developed as a result of this emphasis.

As much of the existing research on poverty focuses on the impact poverty has on children, my Poverty Project aims to learn what children and young people think are the causes of poverty across our communities, and to hear what ideas they have to address these issues, adopting a peer to peer approach. You can hear their recommendations by clicking on the link below:

The 2019 Poverty Summit built on my previous consultations by inviting student groups to use interactive problem-solving techniques to come up with solutions to particular issues related to poverty that they had identified through the workshops earlier in the day. These recommendations were guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and considered:

  • The impact of poverty on children and young people from a rights perspective.
  • Current responses to addressing poverty at the local level.
  • What more should be done, and by whom, to address issues associated with poverty as it exists in South Australia.
A snippet of the Instagram Challenge undertaken at the Poverty Summit 2019

The key issues identified by young people in attendance were homelessness, government policy, healthcare, and safety. The young people talked about wanting cheaper bills to make it easier for families, wanting all children to get a good education and have equal access to activities, both sports and fun things for everyone.

The panel of young leaders shared their insights into what it means to live in poverty and included Kynesha Temple, Ibrahim Ali, Ellen Fraser-Barbour, Doha Khan, Caleb Sweeting and Danielle Seymour. They also reflected on poverty as it related to their own areas of expertise, including Aboriginal rights, mental health, climate justice, diverse backgrounds, multiculturalism and more.

The inheritance we leave for South Australia’s children and young people depends on the long term investment we make in their future now. Children and young people have already told me how committed they are to a future that leaves no-one behind. I am committed to taking these recommendations forward to decision makers for serious consideration.

Stay tuned to ccyp.com.au for updates on the Poverty Project.

Helen Connolly, Commissioner for Children and Young People SA.
Friday 12th July 2019

Helen Connolly is South Australia’s inaugural Commissioner for C&YP. Her work ensures their opinions and ideas are being sought and that their voices are heard.