Vodafone is supporting a brighter future for our Invercargill rangatahi

In life, not everyone starts on an even playing field. Differences in opportunity, resources, community and upbringing can put us on remarkably different pathways, and in New Zealand, that means that 20% of rangatahi (young people) aged 12-25 are experiencing disadvantage or exclusion, locked out of opportunity by systems and situations they can’t control.

For Invercargill, this number is even higher – 30%. Incredible work is already happening locally to try and address the challenges young people are facing, and the Vodafone Foundation is so excited to join the mission, working together with the community to build a brighter future for these rangatahi and fast track their aspirations.

The Vodafone Foundation has chosen to invest significantly in Invercargill over the next six years, intending to improve areas such as grant funding, digital and network investment, connectivity, employment pathways, connection to culture, and supporting the work of the community – things that will have a phenomenal ripple effect. This will be a collaborative approach, working together with philanthropy, iwi, government, community and business.

The Vodafone Foundation is working to build strong community relationships, deepen our partnership agreement with Ngāi Tahu, and will also take advantage of the 5G rollout that will happen there.

About the Vodafone Foundation 

“Vodafone is extraordinary in this space,” says Lani Evans, Head of Foundation and Sustainability.

“We are one of the most generous corporate philanthropic organisations in Aotearoa and we have been building our skills and increasing our contribution over the last 19 years. When it’s possible for us to create better opportunities and a more equitable world for our young people, why would we not do everything we can to make that possible?”

“We have a goal of halving the number of excluded and disadvantaged people in Aoteaora, and it’s possible. Our work in Invercargill is a way of eating the elephant one bite at a time. We want to focus all of our energy, invest in one place and see how much we can really turn up the dial for young people down there. We can then use our learnings and success as a model for scale.”

About our work in Invercargill 

To kick-start Vodafone’s project, the Foundation will spend six months immersed in the community, building relationships in the region, listening to local perspectives on what is needed, and gathering insights into the dreams and realities of young people – what they want for themselves, their whānau and their communities, and what obstacles are getting in the way.

“These young people are overburdened and under-resourced. They don’t have access to the resources and opportunities that many of us take for granted, and our current systems and structures are not set up to welcome them and support them to succeed. These are young people who are not being served by the current state of the world,” Lani explains. Her team is passionate and positive about the amazing possibilities that lie ahead.

“It’s not our job to tell people what their lives should look like, it’s our job to listen and support people to live whatever life they envision for themselves and make sure they have the opportunities to do that.”

“The work we’re supporting has the power to not only change the life of a young person, but change the lives of their whānau and their community as well. It means better access to housing, better health, more plentiful resources, and so many more opportunities for themselves and their children. It impacts everything.”

Over the coming months, keep your eyes out for videos about the wonderful work the Foundation is doing to create brighter futures for our rangatahi.

The Foundation wants to hear from you! 

Did you grow up in Invercargill, have a personal connection to the place, or know someone who does? The Foundation would love to hear your story and learn about your experience! To share your story, please get in touch with Lani Evans at vodafonenzfoundation@vodafone.com.