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Youngsters turn their minds to tackling globe’s big challenges

Kamahl Cogdon, June 2, 2020 7:00PM Kids News

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Some of the biggest and brightest ideas come from kids who are very switched on to the world and its problems. media_cameraSome of the biggest and brightest ideas come from kids who are very switched on to the world and its problems.


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When it comes to making our world a better place, some of the biggest and brightest ideas are coming from our youngest minds.

Young entrepreneur* Taj Pabari says today’s kids are much more switched on to the challenges facing their communities.

And they are determined to do something about it.

“This generation is a lot more socially conscious*,” said the 20-year-old who started his own business at the age of 14.

“They are thinking about the problems they see in their community and they are looking for solutions to these problems.

“They are thinking ‘we are the ones who are going to inherit these problems, so we need to start thinking about solutions’ and asking ‘how can I be part of the solution’.”

QLD_CM_BIZ_FIFTYSIX media_cameraFiftysix Creations founder Taj Pabari, 20, is helping kids bring their great ideas to life. Picture: Jodie Richter

Mr Pabari’s company, Fiftysix Creations, has delivered entrepreneurship* and financial literacy* programs to more than 60,000 kids across Australia and New Zealand.

His company has teamed up with the Westpac Youth Impact Challenge to encourage budding entrepreneurs to tackle some of the globe’s biggest challenges, from poverty and hunger to climate action and inequality.

The challenge encourages students from Year 1 to 12 to identify a problem in their community and come up with an innovative* way to solve it.

Their solutions must contribute to one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development* Goals, a global blueprint* for creating a better world by 2030.

“There are some really amazing young people out there,” Mr Pabari said. “I think we’re going to see some world-changing ideas, which is going to be a great thing for our country, especially in the current climate.”

media_cameraCarter Mason, left, and George Facer, right, have come up with a kit for tourists to try to cut the use of single-use plastics in their home town of Noosa.

Queensland 11-year-olds George Facer and Carter Mason are already on their way to changing their Sunshine Coast community for the better through their business initiative*, EPAC.

The friends from Cooran State School are developing an eco-friendly tourist pack to reduce the reliance on single-use plastics in the Noosa area.

They have already received $8000 of pre-orders and are finalising their packs, which feature locally made products and produce including a water bottle, bamboo towel, reusable coffee cup, a reusable spork (which is a combined fork and spoon), a stainless-steel straw, a bowl made from coconut fibres and an app that shows places to refill water bottles.

media_cameraGeorge Facer, left, and Carter Mason, right, prepare their eco packs. Picture: Andrew Taylor

The boys, who have been mentored* by Fiftysix Creations, plan to sell the packs for $40 at local farmers markets, restaurants and other tourist hot spots.

George said their tourist eco pack was inspired by seeing overflowing rubbish bins in Noosa during the busy Christmas holiday period.

“The bin was super full and just disgusting,” George said. “I kept thinking about it and wanted to do something to change it.”

Carter said it was worth listening to kids’ ideas.

“We have got ideas that are unique and fresh and unique perspectives*,” he said.

Aurora Surawski and Tanmay Pandya, both 12, have also worked with Fiftysix Creations to start bringing their great idea to life.

The Brisbane pair have come up with a fitness app called Cash Back Health, or CBH, which allows users to set goals and then find suitable diet and workout plans.

media_cameraAurora Surawski and Tanmay Pandya, both 12, met at a Fiftysix Creations business camp and are developing a health and fitness app.

The app costs $7 a week but users get the money back if they complete their weekly health goals, plus another $7 worth of healthy food or drinks.

“The app uses rewards and incentives, which is one of the best ways to get people to do things,” explained Aurora, who met business partner Tanmay at a Fiftysix Creations business camp.

She said she was inspired by the chance to make a difference.

“I really want to be able to help my country and make a change that is relevant to the time,” she said.

Both sets of budding entrepreneurs are considering entering the Youth Impact Challenge.

Westpac general manager Jane Watts said the challenge was designed to foster* problem solving skills and inspire new ways of thinking.

“As tomorrow’s problem solvers, we hope the program will inspire students to think creatively and demonstrate how they can harness their talents to drive positive change for the issues they care about,” Ms Watts said.

Nine winning ideas will be chosen by a panel of industry judges, with prizes including a Microsoft Surface laptop, a $3000 scholarship to attend the SingularityU Australia Summit: A Future By Design in Sydney and a 12 month mentor package from Fiftysix Creations and Westpac.

QLD High School winning the war on waste

The Westpac Youth Impact Challenge is open to all Australian students from year 1 to 12 and invites students to submit an innovative business or social change solution to one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The challenge aims to help students solve problems facing their local and global communities, whether it’s ending poverty, taking climate action or reducing inequality.

The challenge is divided into three categories:

  • Primary school — Years 1-6
  • Middle school — Years 7-9
  • Senior school — Years 10-12

Fiftysix Creations has developed free online learning workshops to inspire challenge thinking and help kids prepare their entries, with sessions covering topics including what is a business, financial literacy and presenting to large audiences.

Entries close on August 13.

For more information or to register, go to the website:


  • entrepreneur: a person who sets up a business
  • socially conscious: aware of what’s going on in society
  • entrepreneurship: the activity of setting up a business
  • financial literacy: understanding how money is made, spent and saved
  • innovative: clever and new
  • sustainable development: development that does not use resources that can’t be renewed
  • blueprint: plan
  • initiative: project
  • mentored: trained
  • perspectives: ways of seeing things
  • foster: encourage


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  1. How many goals are part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?
  2. What is the aim of the goals?
  3. How does the Westpac Youth Impact Challenge encourage students to do?
  4. What did George see to inspire his eco tourist pack?
  5. What have Aurora and Tanmay called their fitness app?


1. Westpac Youth Impact Challenge
The Westpac Youth Impact Challenge competition aims to help students solve problems in their local communities. To take part in the challenge, students must identify an SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) and brainstorm an innovative business or social change idea to solve it. Students can choose to work individually, or in a group of up to three students. If you are interested in entering this competition seriously, you’ll need to read all the competition information on the website.

For this Kids News activity — see if you can work with a partner to come up with one idea that could help solve a problem in your local community. You can work on it further if you want to enter the competition.

In the diagram below are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals put together by the UN (United Nations.) Choose one of these to base your idea around.

media_cameraThe 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

With your partner decide:

  • What is a problem in your local community related to one of the goals above?
  • Give a brief outline of your idea to solve the problem?

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Civics and citizenship, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social

2. Extension
Choose what you believe to be the top three goals out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals listed in the chart above. List these three goals and write why you believe them to be the most important.

Time: allow 10 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social

Punctuation Thief
Pick a paragraph from the article, or about three sentences together if that’s easier, and rewrite it without the punctuation. At the bottom of the page write a list of all the punctuation you stole and in the order you stole it. For example; C , . C .

Then swap your book with another person and see if they can work out where the punctuation needs to go back to.

Make it easier: Underline where you stole the punctuation from but don’t put the list at the bottom in order.


  • Don’t put the punctuation in order at the bottom.
  • Underline where you took the punctuation from, but don’t tell them what pieces you took.
  • Just tell them how many pieces you took, but not what they are.
  • Don’t give them any clues!

HAVE YOUR SAY: What problem in your community would you like to solve?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

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