Connecting Disadvantage Youth to Technology
4 November 2013 at 9:20 am
Making digital technology accessible for disadvantaged youth was the idea behind Jade Stott’s successful Perth-based Camera Recycle Project, which has recently expanded to Melbourne. Stott is this week’s Changemaker.
Stott started Camera Recycle Project in July 2009 with the aim to redistribute technological waste (particularly photographic equipment) and make it available to young people who can’t afford or easily access technology.
“I had been to see a photography exhibition that paired eight young homeless people up with photographers to take photos about what home meant to them,” Stott said.
“The photographs were then sold to raise money for youth homelessness services.
“I thought the images were fascinating, and the initiative great, but started wondering how a young homeless individual then accessed a camera after the six-week program.
“Hence, CRP was born with a flyer and suddenly camera donations started coming in.”
The project, which not only hires out equipment but also offers mentoring and advice, is now available in Melbourne. Stott came to the city to run the Computer Clubhouse drop-in centre for refugee and young migrant people in a neighbourhood house in Fitzroy.
“I had never considered moving to Melbourne, but after our recent visit for the first residency of Young Social Pioneers I love the sense of community in Melbourne, and after a couple of meetings about potentially starting CRP up here (the photographer who I first employed for CRP has been living here for one year), this Computer Clubhouse opportunity fell into my lap,” she said.
“I love how they are passionate about making technology available to young disadvantaged Australians, and it has always been hard fitting in full-time work with CRP commitments. So this opportunity enables me to work on both.”
Stott has more than eight years experience working in child and adolescent mental health and more than four years experience in community development, most recently in Burringurrah Remote Aboriginal Community in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia.
She is also a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
Camera Recycle Project is just beginning to expand into Victoria, and apply the successful model from WA in another Australian State.
We have started working with “unaccompanied minors” (asylum seeker young people) and are setting up our first camera library in Fitzroy in partnership with Fitzroy Learning Network working with predominantly migrant and refugee young people 10-18 years of age.
CRP’s Managing Director has made the big move across the Nullarbor just last week to oversee the rolling out of CRP in Victoria.
What was your first job in the Not for Profit sector?
Volunteering for Radio Lollipop, working at Princess Margaret Children’s Hospital to run the radio station in the hospital and other activities.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
I have had the opportunity to hear many young people’s stories – young people who I wouldn’t otherwise have had the opportunity to meet including Aboriginal youth in remote communities, homeless young people and refugee and migrant young people.
I find that using digital media to engage with young people is usually more conducive to young people bringing issues up that are important to them, as opposed to the “sit down in my office, we have 50 minutes, tell me your problems” way of working.
Favourite saying … “Keep your coins. I want change.”
I’m always being asked … “Don’t the cameras get stolen??!!!” People find it hard to believe that if you trust an at-risk young person they usually react with respect and don’t seek to tarnish that trust.
What are you reading/watching/listening to at the moment? Why?
The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson – recently I had an experience with an older professional in a management position and this book is a comical and thoughtful look at the 1 per cent of “psychopaths” in our population that seem to set the reality for the other 99 per cent of the population.
Through your work, what is your ultimate dream?
To establish a model of “technology libraries” where the concept of hiring technology just as we do library books is normal practice, in so doing addressing the digital divide and ensuring that every young person has the opportunity express themselves creatively.
My greatest challenge is … Trying to find a way to do what I love to do and am passionate about whilst still being able to pay off my HECS debt and afford the rent!!!
What (or who) inspires you?
Hidden heroes – for example an Aboriginal lady, Rebecca Milly Milly, who lives in a remote community in WA, feeds about 20 children a day, is Chairperson of the Board and does all this whilst on a Centrelink payment because there are no official “jobs” for her in her community.
She also sponsors children in Africa regularly – and shows me photos of them often. The strength and heart of that woman is something I aspire to everyday!!!