In 2011, QPASTT developed Youth Voice – a forum for young people aged 12-25 years from diverse backgrounds to explore ideas and educate their peers and the broader community on social justice and policy issues that impact young people.
QPASTT supports Youth Voice committee members to develop their skills to engage and advocate to the community, services and government around the issues that are important to them. Youth Voice leads a range of activities each year including youth employment forums, Mental Health Week and National Youth Week events, initiatives that promote youth inclusion and participation and aim to reduce the stigma attached to youth mental health, as well as social media campaigns to raise awareness around issues of discrimination, racism and bullying experienced by young people.
In 2020, Youth Voice was awarded an ABC Radio Community Spirit Award, which celebrates individuals and organisations making a positive difference in the community.
I personally joined Youth Voice because I always valued my confidence and wanted to use it for being a part of something useful. I have always searched for a platform where my ideas can come to life and be valued. Youth Voice is all about helping all our youth boost their confidence and be a part of it. Youth Voice is important to people because it is a safe place where new ideas can form and create change. If you see things in society that need to happen or improve, Youth Voice is the place where all these ideas can be heard. Importantly, Youth Voice helps improve your social and communication skills. I personally kept my life engaged and fun by joining Youth Voice. I get to do things that I have always wanted to do – like giving a speech regarding an issue in Australia, doing the fitness group on Saturdays and many more activities.”
Nooria Ahmadi, Youth Voice Member
I got involved in Youth Voice because I wanted to be part of a group that addresses current issues that young people from multicultural backgrounds – a team of young people for young people.
I wanted to be part of a group that advocates for youth who don’t have the same opportunities as we do, to become a bridge that connects young people to ‘upstream’ people, whether that be government officials or organisations that we partner with.
A sense of belonging is really important for us young people – and Youth Voice gives us that. Youth Voice is a safe space where young people from multicultural backgrounds can come together to socialise, form a community and work together to bring positive social change. Being part of Youth Voice has made me more confident in myself.
Through the activities that we have done as Youth Voice, I feel that I have become a person that is more confident to voice out my opinions, rather than keeping them to myself. Additionally, having supportive team members has really helped my confidence to try new things such as public speaking.”
Angeli Tabinga, Youth Voice Member
Raziq Qasimi came to Australia from Afghanistan as a young person. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Law and Justice (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology, Raziq works with Legal Aid Queensland and has volunteered with numerous organisations including QPASTT. Raziq shares his reflections on being part of QPASTT, from a Homework Club student in Grade 9, to the President of Youth Voice, to a Director on the QPASTT Board.
From my own personal experience, I know how vital QPASTT’s work is.”
“In 2011, I was in Grade 9 and needed some support with my schoolwork, assignments and exams. A friend told me about Homework Club and QPASTT.
It was a really great time, you really felt safe coming to a place after school where you felt like you belonged somewhere, where people looked after you, and someone was always there to help you with your assignments or exams or whatever assistance you needed.
Later, the opportunity to join Youth Voice came up. Coming from a refugee background I am passionate about advocating for social justice issues in our community. Youth Voice is a group of enthusiastic and passionate young men and women who are tackling many social justice issues in our community. We’ve had forums for employment, about domestic violence, we would go to schools to talk about racism and bullying. It was such a great period of my life and I gained a lot of skills and confidence around public speaking and communication.
In 2016, Tracy Worrall, the then CEO of QPASTT, asked me if I wanted to be on the QPASTT Board. I did a double take and had to confirm that’s what she was asking.
It is a huge privilege and honour to be on the Board of QPASTT, an organisation that does extraordinary work in helping some of the most vulnerable members of our community. There are challenges and difficult decisions but it is incredibly personally satisfying doing this work.
Coming from a refugee background to a country where you don’t know anyone, where you have to start from scratch and you don’t really feel like you belong, QPASTT has helped me get to a stage where I feel like I can help other people and be a voice for the voiceless. The journey I have been through is one of healing, of finding a sense of belonging, and QPASTT has supported me in that journey.”