Social action and big ideas at Dirrum Dirrum

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Dirrum Dirrum is a movement creating a culture of youth led engagement in big ideas and social action. It is an Australian expression of a shared humanity. This profile is from the fifth edition Term 1 2014 and was contributed by Richard Browning, Chaplain at Radford College.dirrum2
What was the need or challenge being addressed?

A world full of need and gross excess, waste and obesity alongside famine and dispossession; a world of seemingly overwhelming complexity, distorted anxiety and powerlessness; and young people who inherit the calamities of past generations are coerced into a small world of individual pleasure and achievement or small acts of good that are later exposed as self serving or flawed charitable projects.

What was the response to the need?

Dirrum Dirrum – an Australian expression of a shared humanity; a movement creating a culture of youth led engagement in big ideas and social action; moving beyond good intentions to effective solidarity with others; linking people of faith with those of none in the work of doing justice and loving kindness.

The first conference was 2013 and was led by students; a website created by students that links young people across different schools and different contexts; a practice of listening that leads to achievable, winnable action. Check out: www.dirrumdirrum.orgdirrum

What was the impact?

We wait to see, but something has started. Students have taken ownership of hosting the second conference and are intentional in hosting something for others to copy. In 2014 they shall welcome over 400 delegates. A student leader addressed 2000 guests and spoke not as a victim but as one who was ‘different but not less’. Students are engaged in their own work of service and reflect on their learning from it; students are initiating projects that have already been taken over by younger peers. To one student: why are you so active in this movement? “Because I am pleased to be a part of something great.”

What were the greatest challenges?

These were not challenges: finding enthused young people; finding willing and capable students who could devote great swathes of time organizing the conference whilst also continuing their own work of service in solidarity; finding real action and projects that students invest themselves in and build up a greater flourishing humanity. The greatest challenge was providing sufficient teacher mentors to guide, encourage and facilitate the service and the learning from it.

Experiri was a quarterly newsletter presenting stories of innovation in school ministry from Australia and beyond. Each edition provided two or three profiles of  innovative strategies that had been developed in response to challenges or emerging issues for chaplains or others in Anglican Schools, including Heads and Religious Educators. 

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