The Dirrum Challenge

Artwork: Luke Chiswell, Collegian, 2016

Artwork: Luke Chiswell, Collegian, 2016

By Sophie McGready and Nii Adjei, Year 12 students

The Dirrum Challenge is a template for young people to enact change in their community.

It was created a few years ago in relation to the Dirrum Festival, when, although there would be a large spike of passion around the time of the festival, this did not turn into continuous action throughout the year.

As such, the Dirrum Challenge means to generate action surrounding an individual?s passion, and provides a process and a support network which greatly assists and streamlines the progression of the individual?s action and intended effect.

The support network for the challenge starts at RAS, where groups of like-minded people geared towards enacting social change gather and bounce ideas off each other, as well as participating in each other?s challenges.

The Dirrum Challenge starts off with two questions: ?What are you passionate about?? and ?What makes you angry?? These questions allow students to narrow down their areas of interest. The next thing a student is asked is ?What are your talents?? Where these two areas overlap is what the challenge is centred around. The steps in the challenge procedure ensure the students outline the intended impact of their challenge, how they are going to enact the change, and where they will carry out their action. Lastly, the students reflect upon the challenge and assess its effectiveness.

An example of a student challenge is Bridget Carroll?s (Class of 2016) on education inequality. Bridget was passionate about the lack of educational opportunities for refugees. Her passion surrounding this issue stems from her passion for education and the beneficial effects it can have on an individual, and so she decided something should be done to close the gap in educational opportunities.

Bridget recognised her skills lay in patience and teaching so she decided the best way for her to help change the gap was to go to PASS (Program for After School Studies) run by MARS (Migrant And Refugee Services), which is an after-hours school that teaches English to migrants once a week.

Other examples of Dirrum Challenges vary in size and type. Elysse Williams, another 2016 graduate, focused on educating herself about the fear of religion ? specifically islamophobia ? and understanding why, in Western culture, it has become so prominent. The vilifying and stereotyping of Muslims upset Elysse and ignited her passion to understand why and how fear came to override compassion. The nature of Elysse?s challenge allowed for a very achievable intended effect, allowing the process to be realistic and fulfilling.

Any students willing or keen to start or join a Dirrum Challenge can come along to RAS, held every Thursday in the Library Classrooms, to have a chat with Nii or Sophie.

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