First Brush With Poverty

An article by Bree Williams:

When I was 8 I went on a family holiday to Thailand. This was the first time I had left Australia, and boy was it something else; from the humidity in the air, to the amplification of my post-10-hour-flight headache due to the bustling sounds and foreign smells. But, the starkest of differences was shown to me mid tuk-tuk ride to the hotel: the standard of living that the locals faced.

This was my first brush with poverty.

Growing up in Australia I was happy and healthy, and lived comfortably in our big home, where all of my friends lived the same way. To me, everyone lived like this. The contrast between Bangkok and Canberra amazed and appalled me – why was I away on a beautiful holiday while these people looked as if they were struggling to find their next meal? The difference in living between the two countries disgusted me, and it still does; which is why I do everything I can to help people less fortunate than myself.

Access to basic human rights should not be a matter of wealth or location – for it is something that you should be provided with, regardless of the circumstances you are born in to.

To help people, I believe we need to be well informed of the situation: the causes and effects, the people impacted and the possible solutions. To be well informed I think it’s important to take every opportunity available: especially those that push you out of your comfort zone.

Bree profile
Bree at UN Youth Australia’s Nation Conference, 2017. Credit: UN Youth Australia

This mentality has afforded me so many openings that I would never have dreamed of otherwise taking: including political campaigning and fundraising through Oaktree, attending state conferences for UN Youth Australia and being selected for UN Youth Australia’s National conference in 2017, participating in UQ’s Young Scholar’s program, and joining the 2017 Innovation GO! Sustainable Innovation forum in Taiwan. On top of this I’ve also been honored with the title of School Captain at my school – something I would never have done without deciding I had nothing to lose but everything to gain from applying for.

All of these valuable experiences have come from my desire to help people – and the need to be educated and removed from my echo chamber, in order to do so in the best way. You see, I think it’s vital to be driven by your goals, because nothing is as important to you as your passion.

So allow yourself to be consumed by your passion, and use that to take all opportunitiess to better yourself, and go fourth and change the world.

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