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The Kinder World of Support for Little Dreamers
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The Kinder World of Support for Little Dreamers

As founder and CEO of ‘Little Dreamers Australia’, Madeleine Buchner is working towards an equal world for young carers, providing internationally recognised programmes focusing on health, wellbeing, social connectedness, financial capacity, education and employment opportunities. Little Dreamers supports thousands of young carers each year through online and in-person peer support, holiday programmes, mentoring, tutoring and in-school education and training. Correspondent Tanha Tarannum Emita, a 25-year-old from Bangladesh, spoke with Madeleine, who is a 2022 Commonwealth Youth Awards Finalist.

The task of a caregiver is certainly indefatigable, stretching and testing one’s mental stamina. It can be stressful, financially burdensome, and isolating. Oftentimes the caregiver must miss out on many opportunities while they fulfill their obligation of looking after a sick family member. But imagine having all that responsibility when you yourself are just a child. Well, this is the case for young carers across the world.  Luckily, Little Dreamers has set out to provide them with the scope to have a break from their daily duties and experience new opportunities. But who are Little Dreamers, you might ask? 

The brainchild of Madeleine Buchner, Little Dreamers Australia was launched in 2009, and works to improve the lives of at least 420,000 young carers throughout that country. The organisation has directly supported about 5000 young carers to date through its wish-granting programme and school holiday programme – initiatives that aim to help them achieve their best potential and have access to health, education and the finances they need.

Madeleine herself has been a carer since she was very young.  At the age of 15, she began taking care of both her brother and mother, all while studying for college and working for charity. Through her own experience, Madeliene knows all too well how extremely difficult it can be to have no support. It is why her organisation wants to ensure all young carers have someone to care for them.  

“I consider myself lucky to work with young carers on a regular basis; after all, they are at the heart of what the charity is all about. I am always re-motivated when I meet other young carers. It’s very humbling to listen to their personal stories and discover the steps they take to look after loved ones,” she says. 

In recognition of her tremendous efforts, Madeleine has received accolades including the Young Citizen of the Year and Victorian Young Achiever Award. She was also named the 2017 Queen’s Young Leader award recipient and was presented with the medal by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Now, Madeleine’s contribution towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3, which focuses on good health and wellbeing, makes her one of the 20 Finalists of the 2022 Commonwealth Youth Awards. 

As she presses on to make a difference in the lives of more young carers, Madeleine hopes to spread the vision of Little Dreamers worldwide. She adds, “My ultimate dream is to make Little Dreamers an international organisation. This is something we are constantly working towards and hope to achieve in the not-too-distant future.” 

Her initiative is a reminder that the kind work of charity is never extinguished. Young leaders around the world are making sure that people live better lives. Their light keeps giving us hope that we are never alone in our fight. 

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Photo Credits: Tanha Tarannum/ Madeleine Buchner

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About Tanha Tarannum: I am an author. Currently, I am working as a creative content and curriculum developer on various independent platforms. I design courses on SDG goals and STEM education for native teachers in Bangladesh. Someday I hope to become a best-selling novelist. With that ambition, I am pursuing a master’s in English literature and creative writing.

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The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work highlights the contributions of young people who are making a difference in their communities and celebrates their contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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