A NEW youth group has been formed in the hope of shining a light on the positive side of the Sudanese community.
The Sudanese Australia Youth Action Group (SAYAG), launched in Footscray, is tackling issues such as education and employment along with representation in mainstream media.
Founding member Asunta Akeri said the group aimed at making improvements for the community via education and other ways.
"We hope things will change for the better. We want to see less youth on the street. We also want to show that there are positive things. There are not enough positive messages getting out."
The Tarneit student believes Sudanese youths face extra scrutiny, with negative portrayals making it difficult for them to get ahead.
"We feel, as youths, everyone can mess up, but when they are constantly showing the problems in our community that is not good," she said, "and it also causes difficulties when it comes to gaining employment.
"People need to understand that not everyone is exactly the same."
Fellow founding member Victor Victor echoed Ms Akeri's concerns.
"We are fed up with seeing negative images of African youth in the media and the bad reputation we have amongst Australians. We want to show people there's another side to the story."
The group, supported by the Centre for Multicultural Youth, hopes to find long-term solutions to some of the issues they face, in education, racism and community engagement.
"We want to make Australia our home and be proud to live here," Ms Akeri said.
"We feel a shift in our communities. The older generations will always be important as well, but we want to be there to mentor the younger generations.
"Hopefully we can support them and open those doors to give them the right start in life."
To become involved, contact SAYAG via firstname.lastname@example.org