Ashtonfield's Kupakwashe Matangira selected to take part in UN National Youth Conference

An Ashtonfield teenager’s passion to make a difference helped her become one of 10 NSW students selected to take part in a national youth conference.

Kupakwashe Matangira,16, was selected from 250 students who took part in the NSW UN Youth Conference in March to participate in the national conference, which included students across Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific.

The aim of the program is to create a generation of informed young Australians who are passionate about the world around them.

Kupakwashe travelled to the week-long Perth conference earlier this month.

During the seven days, she took part in debates about gene patenting, international resource conflict and indigenous health.

The group also heard from renowned speakers such as human rights lawyer Rabia Siddique, who was taken hostage by Islamic terrorists, the Governor of Western Australia, consulates from Malaysia, Japan and Indonesia, federal senators, university chancellors and Australian of the Year professor Alan Mackay-Sim.

Kupakwashe said she came away with a great deal from the experience.

“I gained the will and drive to know that I can affect change,” she said.

“Being young is not a barrier, being young is actually an advantage.

“My thoughts are just as valuable as anyone else’s.”

The Hunter Christian School student said she was passionate about indigenous rights, as well as global issues such as equality and education.

She said the program inspired her to want to help others and make a difference.

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