A young Hunter human rights advocate will have her voice heard on the international stage this year.
Kupakwashe Matangira is among a group of youth delegates from around the world who have been selected to travel to New York to participate in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March.
This year's convention is focused on women in the context of a global crisis - specifically climate change.
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"My mission, in a nutshell, is to enhance the democratic process for young women," Ms Matangira told the Newcastle Herald.
We are not just leaders of tomorrow, we are today's catalysts of change.Kupakwashe Matangira.
The 20-year-old, who was born in Zimbabwe before growing up mostly in the Maitland area, is also preparing a policy paper to be presented to organisations and bodies including Global Voices and the Human Rights Commission.
Ms Matangira, a policy consultant for advocacy group Save The Children, is about to begin her third year of study with the University of NSW, where she is reading politics, philosophy and economics.
She hopes to combine those disciplines with a law degree so she can have a career in international human rights law.
For her policy paper, Ms Matangira is focusing on the participation of young women in decision-making during a crisis.
She said there was a broad lack of culture that allowed young people to practically participate in decision-making.
"Young people, we are recognised as the leaders of tomorrow; the future leaders, the future politicians, the future decision-makers, but society somehow still does not recognise our capacity to create change today," she said.
KUPAKWASHE'S MATANGIRA'S PASSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS:
"We are not just leaders of tomorrow, we are today's catalysts of change.
"We see this through the climate protests and through young activists the likes of Malala [Yousafzai] and Greta [Thunberg] who have created change on a global scale.
"Even locally, young people have the capacity to create change but we as a society don't seem to recognise that."
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