Melton Secondary students ‘changemakers’ for cultural awareness

Melton Secondary College students Anna- Lousie, Kiki, Fasil, Barsha, Jayda, Sajjad and Mason with Student Voice leader Peta Stone and Community Liaison coordinator Robert Aduer. (Supplied)

About 25 year eight, nine and ten students from Melton Secondary College joined 18 secondary schools from around Victoria to present their ideas about diversity and inclusion to politicians and community leaders at the inaugural Victorian Youth Summit at the University of Melbourne on Tuesday, July 18.

In their group presentation Melton Secondary students highlighted the importance of developing understanding of diverse cultures and fostering meaningful relationships.

“Cultural awareness is about building respect, inclusivity, acceptance, tolerance and empathy for others while celebrating and embracing our differences as well as our similarities,” they said.

“We thrive by honouring different cultural groups through celebration of events Cultural Diversity Week, Harmony Day, Refugee Week, as well as Intercultural Cities program at Djerriwarrh Festival within the City of Melton, in order to enable social cohesion and open-mindedness and eliminate issues of racism, stereotyping and cultural biases.”

Students also raised awareness about a lack of access to resources for some members of the Melton school community – resources that enable them to connect with their cultures.

Melton Secondary community liaison Robert Aduer said the Summit provided an opportunity for students to be changemakers in terms of cultural awareness, leadership and inclusivity.

“It’s good that they’re learning those skills to apply in their own environment…It was a great platform the organisation provided for young people,” he said.

The summit is an initiative of Together For Humanity, a not-for-profit educational organisation that has been running diversity education programs in schools for over two decades.

Together For Humanity founder Zalman Kastel said the idea is that the summit is a catalyst for action out in the world.