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EMPOWERING YOUTH THROUGH CULTURE

StarKids and World Vision are helping Indigenous youth reconnect to their roots through programs like Young Mob.

Young Janaya stands atop a boulder in the middle of outback Northern Territory pointing into the distance while two of her friends look on. A few yards away, Lachlan is practising throwing a wooden spear that he learned how to carve.

Surrounding them, other Indigenous youth can be seen connecting with members from the Aboriginal Mutitjulu community against the backdrop of the mighty Uluru – the scene of this year’s Young Mob cultural exchange trip. The purpose of the Young Mob program is to offer Indigenous youth a rich cultural experience. The program gives them an opportunity to embrace their roots, gain perspective and take pride in their identity, and also serves as a stage to build leadership skills, self-esteem and confidence.

Indigenous youth, especially in urban areas, face many challenges and one of those challenges is cultural disconnection – culminating in misplaced identity, leaving them vulnerable and misunderstood.

“This experience makes you feel like you’re belonging and you’re more connected to your culture… it really grounds you,” says Jordan, a young Indigenous man from the Hunter Valley.

Mark, a Young Mob facilitator, was one of Young Mob’s first participants. “Growing up in Sydney, I didn’t really learn about my specific tribe and totems and culture,” he says. “Young Mob helped make me into the man I am today. It taught me things about how to behave in life and how to be a leader within my community,” adds Mark, a former school captain.