Future Voices will launch the Shepparton Mandela Learning Centre Project on International Nelson Mandela Day at La Trobe University’s Fryers St Campus on Tuesday.
The launch, at 5.30pm, will feature guest speaker United States Consul General to Melbourne, Frankie Annette Reed, and local politicians — Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum and Northern Victoria MLC Wendy Lovell.
Future Voices project manager Rashidi Sumaili said the Shepparton project would develop future leaders in innovation, social enterprise, and encourage inter-country cultural and business exchanges.
‘‘We want to support Shepparton young people’s learning and development,’’ Mr Sumaili said.
‘‘Our goal is to promote equity, fairness and encourage young people to become successful learners who are confident and creative individuals.
‘‘Through the Mandela Learning Centre, we hope to provide a space for understanding diverse communities and their circumstances through knowledge creation and sharing.’’
Future Voices is a not-for-profit charity established in 2016. It works with the diverse communities in Shepparton with a view to meeting an identified need in the multicultural community.
Its leadership program is designed to help young people of all backgrounds, particularly emerging communities’ members between the ages of 15 and 25 to develop skills for participation in society.
The formal introductions of the evening will be given by current participants and alumni of the Future Voices leadership program.
Future Voices chief executive officer Jennifer Hippisley said it was a huge honour to be endorsed to use the Mandela name.
It’s the only organisation in Australia with permission from the Mandela family to use the name of the South African leader, she said.
‘‘It will be an opportunity to promote Victoria’s multicultural heritage, celebrating our diversity and promoting social inclusion in our community,’’ Ms Hippisley said.
At the launch, the Shepparton Leo Club, formed by the Future Voices participants, will also make a presentation about its community engagement.
All are welcome to attend the evening or the earlier Mandela church service at 11am at Shepparton’s St Brendan’s Catholic Church on Knight St. RSVP before the event to Ms Hippisley at [email protected] or Mr Sumaili at [email protected]