On the 23 and 24 March, the Year 10 and Year 11 Living Justly Leaders attended the Educating for Social Justice Seminar at the Edmund Rice Centre in Lower Plenty, Melbourne. We were one of six schools across Australia to attend the overnight seminar run by the amazing Renee Oberin from Kildare Ministries.

The seminar was an incredibly inspiring and educational experience with activities and guest speakers that encouraged us to grow our passion for social justice.

Judy Ryan came to share her experiences with how she was able to open the second injecting room in Australia after she saw the hundreds of people overdosing in her street. She encouraged us to be brave and determined when we see injustices in the world.

Thenu Herath inspired us all with her story of her upbringing and how she went from a schoolgirl with a passion to the CEO of Oaktree, a youth-run, international development organisation. Oaktree assists developing countries and people in need, with the aim to help achieve the sustainability goals and create a more just world.

Finally, we had Michael McGirr from Caritas Australia talk to us about the wonderful work that Caritas does and talk to us about the opportunities we have as young women to go into industries where we can make a difference.

As a school, we shared and got everyone involved with the Justice Tree, which was a way for all the schools to share what they’ve been doing to promote social justice and explore the things they want to achieve in the future. This also helped us develop new ideas and aspirations for Clonard. Some of those possibilities include holding a sleep out to raise awareness for the homelessness, organising a coat drive in the colder months, joining Oaktree’s Live Below the Line challenge to raise awareness and money for extreme poverty, and many more ideas.

The activities and learning that we achieved over the two days, left us with a lifetime of knowledge that we will carry with us through our pathways, all thanks to Michael McCallum, Bridget Taylor and the rest of the staff from Clonard, Kildare Ministries and the other schools that were able to make the seminar happen.