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Youth volunteers take local action for global impact

Published on 19/12/2023



SVA at work

Insights from the SVA team.

Student Volunteer Army (SVA) grew out of crisis in the wake of the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes. With the force of 11,000 students mobilising to help their city recover, SVA demonstrated the power and determination of young people ready to help their communities.

Our mission is to build a global volunteer movement ready to mobilise when our community needs us. All of our programmes, SVA Skills, the SVA Service Award, and SVA Clubs, are about teaching, celebrating, and empowering volunteers to improve the world they live in.

With programmes spanning from primary school all the way to tertiary aged, we continue to keep our student-led kaupapa close to heart. We inspire rangatahi to find their passions, identify needs in their local community, and make the impact that they want to see. Building foundations for self reflection and personal skill assessment helps us grow a generation who truly know what they’re capable of, and motivate them to do something about it.

We are a network of tens of thousands of volunteers driven by a desire to help the people around them. Recognising both informal and formal volunteer activities, we educate on the importance of dedicating time and resources to others.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals give our volunteers a useful framework to make sure that their mahi is connected to a movement beyond the shores of Aotearoa. By shifting between local need and global outlook, SVA volunteers are empowered to make tangible differences in the world every day – whether it’s simply mowing a neighbour’s lawn or taking action to reverse the effects of climate change.

Our engagement means building community resilience; networks who are capable of responding quickly and effectively in the wake of a crisis. As SVA grows we hope to promote a shift in how society values rangatahi; based on their contributions to the community, instead of just their capabilities in curriculum. Reducing disparity gaps, reaching all corners of Aotearoa, and celebrating the power of our rangatahi are all part of our plan for a better future.