Chatham High School student, Marylyn Sendah has a long list of changes she wants to make to the world, and at just 16 years old, she is well on her way to ticking them off.
Marylyn is already a prominent voice of the Manning River area, through her role in the Manning Youth Action Team, which communicates with MidCoast Council regularly on behalf of the youth of the area.
But this isn’t enough for Marylyn, who is passionate about increasing her political involvement in the community.
Marylyn was the winner of the public speaking finals at the Rotary District 9650 Conference in Armidale on March 10, the prize being a trip to New Zealand. She is also the Youth Ambassador for the Rotary Club of Taree for 2018.
Marylyn has also been selected in the YMCA Youth Parliament, a prestigious program which will launch in April with a two day training camp.
“I get to go on two camps, one will teach me how to write legal bills, and the other will give me a chance to actually write my own bill,” she said.
“I will then get to spend four days in Parliament, arguing my bill, and if it’s successful it will actually become real law.
“They will also choose the youth premier of NSW at the camp, which is really exciting.”
Determined to make the most of her opportunity to implement change, Marylyn already knows exactly what the subject of her bill will be, leveling the playing field between public and private education.
“I want to do something to do with the funding of public schools, and the school to prison pipeline between mostly disadvantaged students and indigenous students, and how to get less of that transition that happens a lot in public schools,” she explained.
“It’s important to me as someone who’s a product of a public school education.
“I know for me and students in my classes public school has been great, we have been able to take full advantage of the opportunities that have been given to us through the public system, but we also see a lot of other students who are disadvantaged because they go to a pubic school.
“There are some differences in quality of education and resources in public schools compared to private schools.
“I compete a lot with private school students, so I get to see a lot of the differences, which I think are significant for some students.”
Marylyn also won the public speaking section of the Lions Region Three Youth of the Year Final, with her discussion of what it would be like to live a month without technology.
“A lot of the time in today’s society we see technology as a bad thing,” Marylyn said.
“But there’s another side, technology enables us to have so many hospital machines, so if we had a month without all that a lot of people would die because they aren’t getting the help they need.”
And, providing that medical help is exactly what Marylyn wants to do, alongside her ongoing political contributions to the community.
“I want to study medical science at the University of NSW, and study medical research to improve the quality of life for people who don’t have the best resources,” she explained.
Since relocating to Australia from Zimbabwe, Marylyn has been driven by the inequality of the health care access between the two countries to work towards making a difference.
“Living in Australia now is wonderful, there are so many great opportunities here, but I look back at home and there are lots of people who don’t have access to medicine and health care,” she said.
“Lots of kids are malnourished, so I really want to learn the skills I need to go home and help out there with things like vaccinations.
“Most of my family are still living there, it’s just my immediate family here.”