Concern for the plight of refugees. Desensitised towards poverty.

These are not the usual concerns expressed by the teen generation. But then Shani Apelu doesn’t strike you as an average teenager either.

Shani, a prefect in her final year at Pukekohe High School, has been selected as a 40 Hour Famine Youth Ambassador. “The World Vision people called to tell me I had been selected and I freaked out a bit! I was so excited!” smiles Shani.

Chosen by her school to attend the 40 Hour Famine Scholar Week in 2016, Shani came away motivated to take action.

She is now looking forward to her role as a 2018 Youth Ambassador. The opportunity to work with like minded people, to inspire others to take part in the challenge, and to create awareness of the struggles others are facing, are forefront in her mind. “This is my chance to influence the success of next year’s 40 Hour Famine. I want to advocate in schools and share my passion for humanity,” said Shani.

Twelve Youth Ambassadors have been selected for 2018. A select few will head offshore to see first hand, the work World Vision is doing. “I think they’ll be seeking people who show passion and leadership for that trip,” she said.

Shani certainly has those qualities. As she heads off to university next year, Shani is committed to continuing her involvement with the program. And yes—the famine event still includes the option to eat barley sugars! Just in case you were wondering…

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