“At first, I didn’t know much about this program, but after a few weeks I realised how great it was. It has been so useful for me,” Fatemeh says about the program that she claims taught her to become a leader.
“Through this program we decided to become leaders and speak in front of people. It was my first time doing this but now I know I can. We learnt that to be a leader you first need to be a leader for yourself, to know yourself, then you can be a leader for your community.”
With the program’s guidance, Fatemeh has helped design and deliver a community project to educate peers in her community about climate change and household energy use. Her project team distributed 350 energy efficient lights at her school and through the Asylum Seeker Centre in Dandenong. She has been inspired by the results.
“I would like to continue to help with this work any way I can in the future. I am planning to write about environmental issues in our local community newsletter, which is in my own language.”
Fatemeh enjoyed many parts of the program, but her favourite moments came while camping in the Strzelecki Ranges in the Gippsland area. “We saw a healthy river and the beautiful natural environment, which I had never seen before in Australia. It’s so important to protect this.” And she feels that it is crucial that other young people step up to take care of the environment.
“It is so important to our lives now and to our future. What we do now will affect future generations. Can you imagine if we didn’t have any more water or energy? We all need to put our hands together and work to save the environment for all people and for the future.”