Founder of Hello Initiative
WANomineeYoung Australian of the Year2021
Ashleigh Small is the founder of an organisation that helps young people in the youth justice system to create a better future.
Hello Initiative (HI) provides practical tools to help empower these children and prevent re-offending, so they can leave the justice system for good.
Ashleigh established the mobile support project, which provides recycled smartphones and credit to young people aged between 10 and 17 years. Having access to a phone enables them to keep up with court requirements and nurture community connections, while growing their digital literacy. Youth support workers have also reported a positive impact on their ability to build relationships with their clients.
Through HI, Ashleigh is tackling three interconnected social justice issues: the widening digital divide in Australia, socio-economic disadvantage and climate justice – as HI is a fully-sustainable initiative.
HI is assisting more than 100 young people and is supported by the Perth Children’s Court and frontline justice organisations.