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Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle www.mnnews.today/aurora-magazine
STUDENTS LEARN TO EMPOWER
Caitlin O’Brien reports on a social justice forum
which both informed and empowered local
secondary students who participated.
Recently students from schools in the Chisholm
and Upper Hunter Regions of the Diocese of
Maitland-Newcastle attended a Social Justice
Forum at St Joseph’s Campus, All Saints College,
Lochinvar. Guest speakers from NSW and
Victoria came together to talk about current
issues facing the world today. These include
refugees, migrants, pover ty and concerns
around young people. Students were invited to
lis ten to well-informed and inspirational people
talk about causes close to their hear ts.
“Be Your Note” by Lynette Pearce rsj
encouraged a creative, hands-on experience of
unders tanding social justice through your
“ Social Justice Teachings and Effects on Youth”,
presented by Sam Hill, addressed the Catholic
Church’s teachings on social justice and how
these are af fecting the youth of the world.
“ Schools, Immersion, Mission” (SIM’s Cambodia
Inc), presented by Sue and Brian Morgan,
informed us of the ways we can help suppor t
school projects in Cambodia and gave us insight
into suppor ting roles that we could be a par t
of, including oppor tunities to see this work in
We were for tunate to have the oppor tunity
to meet and hear the wisdom of many people
who have been involved in social jus tice issues
for many years. “Caritas − Global Goals 2015”
by diocesan Caritas team member, Louise
Roach, gave s tudents the oppor tunity to
become familiar with the Global Goals for
sustainable development that were announced
by the United Nations in September.
CatholicCare Refugee Service’s Kiri Hata
enlightened us about the ser vices of fered by
CatholicCare in our diocese. These include
education and suppor t that empower refugees
and their families.
A session about Lasallian Volunteer Ser vices,
presented by Stephen Beirouti from Melbourne,
encouraged us to learn about the programs
students can join that are run in Cambodia,
Indonesia and Balgo in Western Australia.
The day began with a talk from Sr Rita Malavisi
rsj who has worked closely with asylum seekers
for the past 12 years. In recent years she has
been working with Melbourne Immigration
Transit Accommodation. She stated, “Social
justice should make you feel uncomfor table and
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Photo courtesy of Lachlan Guy of St Joseph’s Campus, Lochinvar.
make you consider your life. Jesus sought those
people who were powerless.” This made a huge
impact on the s tudents and made us reconsider
how we viewed issues in the world today.
After students had attended their chosen
workshops, they came back together to
discuss what we could do, as individuals and as
members of groups, to make a positive impact
on the world. In this time we had an open
discussion and a wide range of creative ideas
was suggested for social justice initiatives at
Caitlin O’Brien is a Year 10 student at St
Joseph’s High School, Aberdeen. The forum
was organised by Stef Lloyd and Sam Hill of
Chisholm Region Youth Team.
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