MyVoice

FECCA 2017 – Youth Day

by Krshna Capaque

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Through the past few months, MyNT have been working together with MCNT and FECCA in organising and promoting the the first ever FECCA Youth Day – Celebrate. Reflect. Advance: Our Multicultural Australia.

In October 2017, the FECCA Conference was held in Darwin, with the first day being dedicated to young people.

The Youth Day included speakers such as Jenevieve Chang, who talked about her journey of finding her culture and provided tips on sharing their own journeys through creative writing, using her own biography ‘The Good Girl of Chinatown’ as inspiration.

Dor Akech Achiek from Settlement Services International introduced us to two extraordinary young people, Rooan Al Kalmashi and Bassam Maliki. Rooan comes from a refugee background who uses her experience to advocate for refugee rights and encourages young people to become active citizens, meanwhile Bassam started an initiative for homeless children and young people called #YouBelong.

Peter Doukas, Chair of ECCNSW, along with SBS youth mentees, Fern Mei Sim and Sheena Meha, spoke about the lack of representation in the media landscape.

MyNT is proud to have also held a panel on youth leadership. 2012-14 MyNT Chair and The RACE Darwin project leader, Alpha Capaque, spoke about the importance of taking a step back and allowing young people to speak. Current Executive officer, Kyaw Naing John Yusuf, shared his story about how education allowed him to be empowered in Australia despite coming into the country as a refugee with no english. Meanwhile, Pritika Desai, ShoutOut: Youth Mental Health project leader, shared her story about living with mental health issues and using her experience to lead change.

Kashif Bouns, General Manager of the Western Bulldogs, and Alipate Carlile, former Port Adelaide Football Club player shared their experience of multicultural participation and representation in sports.

Lastly, the Honourable Lauren Moss MLA talked about her journey as a youth leader to becoming a Minister for the NT Government.

As Chair of MyNT, I was also interviewed by SBS during the Youth Day, you can hear it on here.

The FECCA Youth Day was a success and we are grateful for FECCA, MCNT, SBS and all the other supporters and sponsors for allowing young people to have their voices heard through the event.

For more information on the other speakers, visit #FECCA2017 in Twitter to see all the posts.

#10yearsofMyNT

By Krshna Capaque

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In April 22 2007, a group of young people gathered in the MCNT office. They believed that young people should be heard in the community and thus, MyNT was born.

That was 10 years ago. And while I am celebrating MyNT’s 10th year this year, I am also celebrating 10 years of living in Australia. It feels like lifetime ago when my family and I packed our bags and left everything and everyone we knew back in the Philippines.

And at first, the sudden change felt like an exciting adventure. But after a while, the excitement fades as you start to realise what you had lost. And suddenly, the adrenaline is replaced by the crushing dread of not belonging in this new, strange place where the people looked and sounded nothing like me, but rather, it was a melting pot filled with people of different shades and colour; where the way they acted was different from the one I was used to; and their English sounded different from the English I learned.

When I started school in the second semester of year four, everyone in the class had already formed friendship groups, the seating arrangement had already been established, and the lessons continued from what was left off in the first Semester. I was forced to play catch-up in my education and in trying to make friends – and in pretending that I knew what my classmates were talking about when they said “round robin” and “dodge ball”.

I was forced to pretend to fit in this new life, and then go back home and revert back to what I was used to.

I was living in two worlds, yet feeling like I didn’t belong in either.

That was until about five years ago when my sister encouraged me to apply for the Youth Leadership Summit organised by this quirky, youth organisation. While I did not end up actually achieving the project I applied with, the experience opened up a new perspective in me. And the following year, I volunteered to help organise Kaleidoscope Youth Leadership Summit. And the rest is history.

While we left our family behind in Philippines, I found a new one with MyNT. I learned a lot of things including being confident and working in a team. But the most important lesson I learned was to embrace the culture I was born in alongside the culture that I am a part of. I am not Filipino or Australian, rather, I am both.

As part of MyNT, I hope to be able to help young people who, like I did, feels lost to be able to find a place they belong and to realise their potential.

In June 2 2017, we celebrated MyNT’s achievement in a reception hosted by The Honourable Dale Wakefieled MLA at the Parliament House. The MCNT committee members and staffs, previous MyNT members, community stakeholders, and other youth organisation representatives attended the event. We also took this time to acknowledge the work of the previous MyNT Executive members to bring MyNT to where it is now, and recognised the previous MyNT Chairs as we look forward to the future of the organisation.

I hope to see MyNT look back at the ups and downs of the past 10 years, and look forward to a brighter future filled with empowered young people.

Residential Strategic Planning

By Margo Hi

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On Thursday 13th of April 2017, all the new 2017 executive members hopped into cars and drove to Darwin FreeSpirit Resort (or the middle of nowhere – sort of). Why did we do this? Well simple, in order to move forward as an organisation, we needed to reflect upon the past, present and potential future of MyNT. How did we do this? Through a 3-day strategic planning!

On the first day, we got settled in and (of course) went to ‘investigate’ the giant jumping pillow and the swimming pool – it’s always good to know your surroundings, or so the saying goes. After exhausting ourselves with our ‘investigation’ we all returned to our cabins and got ready for story time with tone of the co-founder of MyNT and our mentor, Kevin Kadirgamar. The first step of the StratPlan is to know your past as you cannot go forward without looking back at where you have been. The inspirational past of MyNT gave each Exec member fuel to move forward and to aim higher.

The second day was the biggest since it was jam-packed with workshop, food, more workshops and more food. This day was spilt into two with a brief look at the present structure and operation of MyNT and more largely focused on the future of MyNT (which was a much, much bigger picture filled with high aspirations). Former Chair and MyNT Mentor, Sarah Tam-Perez, coordinated and ran workshops for us in order to break the bigger picture into smaller puzzle pieces that were bite-sized and more easily achievable.

On the final day, we met at the Casuarina electorate community room to put all of our ideas and goals into one document that would continue to fuel us and future MyNT Executive members for may years to come.

On behalf of the 2017 Executive team, we would like to thank Sarah Tam-Perez for facilitating us through our strategic planning; The Hon Lauren Moss MLA and her team for allowing us to use their office for our final workshop; and Kevin Kadirgamar and all the people who helped found MyNT ten years ago for their courage to believe in young people.

The Entity that is MyNT…To Me

It was six years ago when I received an email invitation to a ‘multicultural youth forum’ at the Multicultural Council of the NT during National Youth Week 2007. Little did I know that what was going to come out of that one event would dominate a large part of my life for the next half a decade and beyond! After a day of the usual games and discussions on how Darwin could be made better for young people, a very simple idea was raised by a few of us… to form a sub-committee of youth, to organise activities and projects bringing young people together. There was an air of excitement when a group of 12 of us were nominated to be part of the committee. As the forum ended, I distinctly remember one of the participants saying as he left “I hope this continues forever…”

In the brink of all the excitement of the moment, this hope seemed more than reasonable. Then kicked in reality. How long can we really keep this new creation of ours going? Will it fall into the many traps set out for new volunteer youth projects? The only way to find out was by launching into it. And so began the roller-coaster ride. The pitfalls and challenges of a youth-led initiative were evident from the start: from lack of resources to the transient youth population of the NT. Overcoming each challenge took us to new heights, and taught us valuable lessons in youth leadership as well as life in general.

We learnt about the value of goal-setting and having a road map to reach those goals. At the same time we realised that while planning is essential, plans are useless! We had to keep our plans flexible and open to change when something didn’t work. We learnt that true multiculturalism is achieved when it is practised rather than preached. Most importantly, we learnt never to underestimate what can be made possible when a group of committed young people with ideas for positive change unite together towards a common cause.

There have been some steep learning curves, exciting twists and turns, some breathtaking views of the big picture, and of course some freakishly scary, scream-worthy spirals. In the end, every point of the journey has been worth it. It sure is difficult to believe that it has been 6 years since those humble beginnings… Reflecting back, it is even harder to fathom what a single collective idea brought up by a group of young Territorians at a small community gathering has led to.

The special thing about MyNT, which I think is one of the key reasons for our sustained success, is that from the very start, young people have taken full ownership of it. MyNT as a whole is a collective youth idea, and it is a credit to the young leaders who have come into the organisation at different points to make it theirs.

The moral of the MyNT story is to never underestimate the power of ideas for positive change. Following this motto, we make our core business at MyNT to ‘make your ideas reality’. It is about young Territorians being empowered with the skills and resources to take steps towards the change they want to create. By passing on the lessons we have learnt from our own journey, we aim to make each project a microcosm of the success of MyNT itself. MyNT is here for young Territorians, to take it and make it their NT! And with every reason, we do “hope it continues forever”…

Making MyNT Our NT

by Kevin Kadirgamar

https://funtaqa.wordpress.com/author/funtaqa/page/19/

It was six years ago when I received an email invitation to a ‘multicultural youth forum’ at the Multicultural Council of the NT during National Youth Week 2007. Little did I know that what was going to come out of that one event would dominate a large part of my life for the next half a decade and beyond! After a day of the usual games and discussions on how Darwin could be made better for young people, a very simple idea was raised by a few of us… to form a sub-committee of youth, to organise activities and projects bringing young people together. There was an air of excitement when a group of 12 of us were nominated to be part of the committee. As the forum ended, I distinctly remember one of the participants saying as he left “I hope this continues forever…”

In the brink of all the excitement of the moment, this hope seemed more than reasonable. Then kicked in reality. How long can we really keep this new creation of ours going? Will it fall into the many traps set out for new volunteer youth projects? The only way to find out was by launching into it. And so began the roller-coaster ride. The pitfalls and challenges of a youth-led initiative were evident from the start: from lack of resources to the transient youth population of the NT. Overcoming each challenge took us to new heights, and taught us valuable lessons in youth leadership as well as life in general.

We learnt about the value of goal-setting and having a road map to reach those goals. At the same time we realised that while planning is essential, plans are useless! We had to keep our plans flexible and open to change when something didn’t work. We learnt that true multiculturalism is achieved when it is practised rather than preached. Most importantly, we learnt never to underestimate what can be made possible when a group of committed young people with ideas for positive change unite together towards a common cause.

There have been some steep learning curves, exciting twists and turns, some breathtaking views of the big picture, and of course some freakishly scary, scream-worthy spirals. In the end, every point of the journey has been worth it. It sure is difficult to believe that it has been 6 years since those humble beginnings… Reflecting back, it is even harder to fathom what a single collective idea brought up by a group of young Territorians at a small community gathering has led to.

The special thing about MyNT, which I think is one of the key reasons for our sustained success, is that from the very start, young people have taken full ownership of it. MyNT as a whole is a collective youth idea, and it is a credit to the young leaders who have come into the organisation at different points to make it theirs.

The moral of the MyNT story is to never underestimate the power of ideas for positive change. Following this motto, we make our core business at MyNT to ‘make your ideas reality’. It is about young Territorians being empowered with the skills and resources to take steps towards the change they want to create. By passing on the lessons we have learnt from our own journey, we aim to make each project a microcosm of the success of MyNT itself. MyNT is here for young Territorians, to take it and make it their NT! And with every reason, we do “hope it continues forever”…