Ahmed Hassan and Ali Ahmed have helped keep thousands of disadvantaged youth off the streets, giving at-risk migrant communities a helping hand.
Ahmed Hassan and Ali Ahmed have helped keep thousands of disadvantaged youth off the streets, giving at-risk migrant communities a helping hand.

The mates keeping young migrants out of trouble

Two Melbourne locals are giving young migrant communities a helping hand, mentoring youth and getting them engaged in activities to keep them out of trouble.

Ahmed Hassan, 23, and Ali Ahmed, 30, have made it their mission to give disadvantaged young people the tools to succeed, through not-for-profit Youth Activating Youth.

The pair have helped more than 7500 young people in just four years with a network of programs and volunteers, and supported over 300 into employment. Mr Ahmed, the group's CEO, said its focus was on providing practical ­support and breaking down ­barriers.

"As an organisation we aim to support disadvantaged young people by working through three pillars: community participation; education, training and employment; and health and wellbeing," he said.

"We know access is an issue and we've eliminated that by bringing them to communities. Each one targets young people in different stages … (and) all programs are run by young people, for young people."

The programs include girls' leadership, arts, youth justice, employment and multicultural engagement as well as support for young people in the justice system.

Mr Hassan said giving at-risk communities and people access to basic resources was the first step to change.

"The communities are often vulnerable, they're mainly young people - vulnerable, marginalised - or who have little access to resources," he said. "So how do you make them a leader? How do you turn their life around? Give them all an equal opportunity.

"We want others to understand the importance of investing in the community … because if we can give employment opportunities to young people, and hope and inspiration, we won't be having so many problems."

The pair have already gathered support from both state and federal governments, philanthropists and even Prince Harry, who they met on his last visit.

Mr Ahmed, who came to Australia as a refugee, said he hoped the organisation would pave the way for future generations.

"We're building the future leaders of tomorrow, today.

"To come to Australia and be given these opportunities - it's my way of giving back."

- For more information, visit yay.org.au

alanah.frost@news.com.au


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