Social Good Outpost, working with the Australian Embassy and Australia now ASEAN recently presented Oz Talks: Bullying and Youth Mental Health in Laos
The Youth Entrepreneurs & Leaders Speaker Series showcases, inspires, celebrates and connects young entrepreneurs and leaders that are making a difference to their societies across Australia and Southeast Asia.
Nicole Gibson, multi-award-winning social entrepreneur and mental health advocate, ran an incredibly well received program which engaged educators, parents and youth in thinking about and tackling mental health and issues with bullying.
The Director General of Foreign Relations praised Nicole and the way she was able to engage with her audience, and was impressed with not only her high level of expertise and understanding, but also her approach to recognising and supporting culture. Directly contributing to the success of the program, talks are currently underway to look at continuing some form of exchange yearly, which would foster greater Laos-Australia youth collaboration and exchange.
The program was the first time that the Australian Embassy had engaged with the Lao Youth Union – a government-backed body who were supportive and excited to be involved. Multiple workshops saw many issues covered including mental health and social enterprise for up to 200 young Laos people per event.
Curator Nicole Gibson said “Working with communities across the world is always a remarkable experience. To deliver this work in partnership with the Australian government, in moments, made me feel extremely patriotic. What I loved most was the integrity in which the program ran, with true and sustainable partnerships with local non-profits and existing progressive communities in Laos. It amazed me the receptivity and openness I experienced from the community, especially considering the amount of times I heard “this is the first time I’ve ever engaged in a conversation about mental health.”
Nicole praised the enthusiasm, and warm reception she received from participants, adding ‘They were brave, vocal and demonstrated a lot of leadership. Their questions around relationships, love and well-being fascinated me; it felt progressive, real and like we were really challenging the status quo – not from a place of aggression, but rather rational thinking and heart- based perspectives.’
Social Good Outpost will next visit Brunei in November delivering their final program in the series, Sustainable Fashion & Social Enterprise.
Photo credit: Social Good Outpost