Many in the Australian aid and development sector will know Oaktree and the important mark it has made on advocacy and campaigning for the Australian movement to end poverty. For those that don’t, Oaktree is a youth-led organisation founded a decade ago on the principle of ‘young people working to end extreme poverty in our lifetime’.
Ten years on this goal still underpins its work, and Oaktree has evolved from a small team of people with no office or budget to being Australia’s largest youth-run organisation. They can count the 2006 MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY concert, the MAKEPOVERTYHISTORY ZEROSEVEN Roadtrip (where Kevin Rudd announced the Labor commitment to reach an aid/GNI ratio of 0.5% by 2015/16), the Live Below the Line campaign (which has raised more than $3 million for development programs in Cambodia and PNG), and numerous other community and youth engagement programs in their long list of achievements.
To help celebrate Oaktree’s growth and accomplishments over the past decade members are hosting events in every state. You can still attend the NSW, Queensland and South Australian events. For those in the ACT, I particularly encourage you to attend the celebration on the 25th of October where you can hear from the following guest speakers:
- The Hon. Dr Andrew Leigh, Federal MP for Fraser
- His Excellency Mr Abel Guterres, East Timorese Ambassador to Australia
I have had the privilege of working and volunteering for Oaktree throughout a decent chunk of my 20s, and I have never been exposed to a more driven group of young people selflessly working towards a goal we can all get behind. I hope some of our readers can join me in celebrating this milestone in Oaktree’s history.