Mayors share their insights

Bhutanese students Indra Gurangai and Asha Bhujel, both 17, and Anita Subedi and Dinesh Sapkota, attended the seminar. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

Bhutanese students Indra Gurangai and Asha Bhujel, both 17, and Anita Subedi and Dinesh Sapkota, attended the seminar. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

ALBURY and Wodonga’s mayors shared their insights on how to become strong and effective leaders with 30 Border Bhutanese teenagers at a youth leadership seminar in Wodonga.

Albury mayor Kevin Mack discussed building community relationships.

While Wodonga mayor Rodney Wangman explained Australia’s three levels of government on Saturday in front of the Murray High School and Wodonga Senior Secondary College students.

It was the final session of a three-day Regional Youth Leadership Program at Gateway Health.

Wodonga Council chief executive Patience Harrington focused on what drives the Border economy while economic, industry and community development consultant Tammy Atkins talked about the importance of networking.

Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District project officer Sam Atukorala, who co-ordinated the event, was impressed at the large number of Bhutanese students who had enrolled in the three-day leadership program.

“Some of these kids came to Australia as refugees and went through a lot of hardship,” he said.

“In my eyes, all of them are actually leaders because, in order to come to a different country and establish themselves, they need some leadership skills.

“What we are trying to do is make sure they go to their maximum capacity, so I want them to push their boundaries and I want them to actually get their dream job and the highest education level.”

Murray High School student Dinesh Sapkota, 16, who has his sights set on becoming a police officer, said the program had helped him to identify what was needed to become a good leader.

“I’ve learnt what a good leader does and how to help people around you,” he said.

“Whatever I learn will get into my brain and will be able to spread out later.”

Anita Subedi, 16, who also attends Lavington’s Murray High School, said the topics discussed in the seminar would benefit her professional and personal life.

“I want to become a doctor and I’ve learnt that it’s important to help people in your community,” she said.

Mr Atukorala said he made a point of communicating with Australians and other nationalities when he came to Australia from Sri Lanka as an international student.

“I know how hard it is to break that communication barrier or the cultural barriers, because we have different accents when you’re talking and that’s what these guys are doing too,” he said.

“It’s very important for these guys to hear from the guest speakers as well as connecting to the mainstream.”

The program is a joint project of the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District, GOTAFE and Shepparton’s Word and Mouth youth organisation.

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