Our stories are incredibly powerful, and as we share them with one another we find they empower both the speaker and the listener. Throughout 2016 we we will continue to build our common story by sharing the personal stories of Micah advocates. This is Sarita's story ...
How and when did you get involved with Micah Australia?
To be honest I'm not exactly sure (as I was quite young) but I remember that I found out about Micah Australia through my church and family when I was in high school, and attended Micah Challenge training days to find out how I could get more involved in speaking up for justice. I remember one day sitting in church and listening to my Dad up the front talking about a Micah campaign (I think it was the 'Survive Past Five' child health campaign). He was asking people to get involved by signing a postcard, and he said that he would meet with our local MP and deliver the postcards. I remember thinking, “If this is something I really care about, then I should be willing to visit the MP too!” So Dad and I met our local MP (Maxine McKew), and that was the beginning of my advocacy journey… (I think that was in year 8 which would have been 2009).
Is there an area of Micah’s work in justice that you are particularly passionate about?
I love that Micah calls for more and better aid! I think it is extremely important that Australia, the amazingly privileged country that it is, gives its fair share to our neighbours in need. I also think it is important that we work to increase the effectiveness of our aid. As a development studies student, I learn a lot about ineffective aid. I have been overseas and have seen aid done really well, but I have also seen ineffective aid, so I love that Micah is speaking up for better aid!
How has journeying with Micah impacted your:
Justice is such a significant part of my faith. I believe our God is a God of justice, and we are to be people of justice. I follow a Jesus who has a massive heart for the poor, vulnerable and marginalised. Journeying with Micah has influenced my faith because it has given me many opportunities to live out my faith through pursuing justice.
Micah has given the churches I’ve been a part of the opportunity to live out God’s call to act justly. I have also met amazing people through Micah, and have been able to be a part of a fantastic community of people who are passionate about Jesus and justice!
I have loved the way Micah has educated me on issues of justice, and given me opportunities to speak up. Micah has helped me apply what I’ve learned in development studies.
Throughout your advocacy journey is there one particular memory/ story that stands out to you that you’d like to share with us?
The Survive Past Five campaign was particularly encouraging for me. It was one of the first advocacy actions I was a part of, and I was amazed at the positive response we had! We met with Maxine McKew, our MP at the time, and organised a Survive Past Five party at our church. Ms McKew attended the party, as did many other members of the community. Both Ms McKew and the community members were very keen to get involved and do what they could once they found out about the number of children who die before their fifth birthday due to preventable diseases. Ms McKew spoke at the event, wrote about it on her website, and contacted the Minister of Foreign Affairs for us. She encouraged us to keep speaking out. It was so encouraging to see people getting on board with our asks.
Is there a bible verse or quote that particularly inspires you to seek justice?
There are many, but this one in particular: '"He defended the poor and the needy… is that not what it means to know me?” declares the Lord' - Jeremiah 22:16. To know God is to do justice and speak up for those in need!
What are you looking forward to/hoping for with Micah in 2016?
I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with Micah of speaking up for justice. I hope that through this advocacy, both the Australian public and our Government will realise the importance of Australian aid, and that more and better aid will become a priority for our nation.
Sarita Hales is a Development Studies student and long-term Micah advocate.
She will be speaking next weekend at the Voices for Justice South Coast NSW Youth training day (April 2nd) about the value of using your voice for justice as a young person. For more details about the youth training day click here.