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Empowered to make a difference

Angelina Del Favero and Rachel Zhou with their magazine, impower.
Angelina Del Favero and Rachel Zhou with their magazine, impower.

From creating sleeping bags from recycled plastic bags to donating books to children, Year 10s did it all in their community projects last year.

The Year 10 community project is a core requirement of the final year in the IB Middle Years Programme. Through their projects, students explore their rights and responsibilities through doing service as action in their community. Students work on the project outside of school hours.

Angelina Del Favero and Rachel Zhou’s project has extended into this year. The pair created the organisation Find your Fire and, through that, a magazine named imPower to educate young people about family harm.

The duo learnt how to create a magazine using Adobe InDesign, interviewed people about family harm, wrote the content and then sent it to every school in New Zealand. imPower explores the meaning of family harm, gives statistics and helps people identify if they, or someone they know, has been affected by family harm.

Angelina says she came up with the idea for the project after talking to her mum. “My mum works for ACC as a statistician and sometimes tells me about the statistics of family harm. They are really high, so I decided I wanted to do something about it,” she says.

“The purpose of our magazine is to guide, educate, inform and empower youth in New Zealand about family harm. imPower is a play on the word empower but can also be read as ‘I’m power’ to let teenagers know that they are in control and have the strength to make a change.”

“The important thing is that it’s written by us, so it’s in a student voice,” Rachel says.

“Often information comes from adults in adult language, but this is easy to understand.”

The pair set big goals in sending imPower to schools throughout New Zealand despite warnings that the goal may be too large for a school project. “A lot of people told us to narrow our vision and that we needed a smaller goal. But we really wanted to do it, so we put in the hard work and we achieved our goal,” Angelina says.

“We sent out around three magazines to every secondary school in New Zealand. Since then schools have contacted us asking for more copies,” Rachel says.

The pair now want to use Find your Fire to put out a new magazine every year that focuses on a different issue affecting New Zealand youth.

Their advice for current Year 10s starting their community projects in Term 3 is that “no dream is too big”.

“A lot of people told us it would be too hard, but if everyone thought like that, nothing would ever get done,” Angelina says.