Rudd receives ‘Dear Kevin’
The 2009 Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, Chris Varney, delivered his Dear Kevin book to Kevin Rudd on Monday.
Dear Kevin was a collection of children and young people’s stories from across Australia. It was developed by Mr Varney to inform his advocacy in the 2009 UN General Assembly. Since then the book has been readily used by children’s organisations as part of Australia’s periodic review under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
40 letters from the book were published in a non-‐government report delivered to the review panel, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in 2011. Dear Kevin also made significant contributions to successful campaigns such as the replacement of Adelaide’s decrepit Magill Training Centre and the establishment of a National Children’s Commissioner.
‘After three years of using Dear Kevin’s stories to advocate for children and young people’s rights, we felt the job of the book was done, and it was time to hand over its original copies to Mr Rudd’ said Mr Varney.
A total of 789 young people made contributions to the book writing on topics including domestic poverty, climate change, foreign aid, human rights, education reform and youth empowerment.
‘What made Dear Kevin so powerful was the raw honesty of its authors. One 17-‐year-‐old boy in a homeless shelter started his letter by writing ‘I have never felt like I meant much’. It was this honesty that drove me to ensure the book created meaningful change for vulnerable youth’ Mr Varney said.
Mr Rudd was pleased to receive the book acknowledging that, ‘a lot of the advocacy that has come through this has gone towards seeing better application of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in Australia itself…thank you for Dear Kevin!’