This Gympie student just got one of Australia's rarest jobs
SHE was always passionate about humanitarian work, but earning selection as one of just nine UNICEF Australia Young Ambassadors has given Gympie student Indiana Hehir her best chance to follow through yet.
Inspired by her frustration over not being able to help people affected by the Rohingya Refugee crisis, Indiana applied for the program through social media alongside "over 450 applicants” aged between 15 and 25 from all around the country.
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The Year 11 student at James Nash State High School was then shortlisted in an impressive group of 25 finalists, before capping off her astonishing achievement by being picked to officially represent the leading humanitarian and development agency in the world.
After being introduced by UNICEF's global Goodwill Ambassador and Ambassador for Children Affected by War Ishmael Beah at the State Library of Victoria last week, the 16-year-old said she was "extremely excited” to embrace her new role.
"It's amazing to be chosen, I'm very grateful and excited to have the opportunity,” she said.
"Over the next 12 months I'll be running consultations with children and young people, speaking with politicians and influencers and really trying to make kids' voices heard by adults.
"I want to take what young people are saying and raise their voices in communities all over Australia.
"It's also about maintaining communications, taking what they've told me in the consultations and taking it back to leaders.”
Indiana said she would also be looking forward to working with youth in the community she has grown up in.
"I want to work with everyone from kindergartens to Year 12's and flexible learning centres, and make sure kids around Gympie know we want to hear what matters to them.
"I've done all my schooling life in Gympie, and I've seen how much love and kindness there is in this community from seeing my Mum work as a nurse at Little Haven Palliative care.
"I'm looking forward to creating an ongoing connection between UNICEF and all the kids and young adults here.”
Indiana's principal Jackson Dodd said the James Nash community was "immensely proud” of the star student's achievement.
"Indiana will be recognised not just within our ... community but within the broad educational community of Gympie,” Mr Dodd said.
"Indiana is already a tireless worker for the social good in our school (and) her work will continue in this vein in her new role.
"I am particularly excited that this role will raise the profile of 'student voice' within our school.
"This achievement, whilst remarkable, comes as a result of the values that Indiana lives up to.”
Indiana and her fellow Young Ambassadors will "report back on their findings” to UNICEF in 2019 after conducting consultations for the rest of the year.