Millennial Myth Busting: Young Aussies are Hungry for Change

A survey of teenagers has debunked the myth of the millennial “me” generation with 80 per cent of young people believing that helping others in an important part of who they are.

The selfie loving millennials are often criticised for being materialistic and even narcissistic but the survey of 14-17 year olds conducted by Roy Morgan for World Vision suggests they have an altruistic focus.

The survey finding comes as World Vision launches the nation’s largest youth fundraising event, the 40 hour Famine where 50,000 young Australians will give up everything - from food to their voice - to help fight global hunger.

World Vision Youth Ambassador Thenu Herath will be giving up food for 40 hours in August and as a result of a life changing trip to World Vision programs in India, is taking her efforts a step further. Download photo here

“I decided to not only give up food but walk for 5km to collect my daily water need as I wanted to gain a glimpse of what it may be like for teenagers living in communities experiencing drought,” Ms Herath said.

“The biggest eye opener for me from my trip to India was that real change is happening right now. I saw with my own eyes how small progressive steps can make a vast difference to communities.  Change is possible and it starts with us.

“Currently, there are more than 300 million people in India and Africa facing food shortages because of drought. With the massive support of my friends and family I do believe, collectively, we can make a difference.”

Thenu and her generation have raised close to 27 million in the last 10 years – providing much needed funding for food to drought affected communities in over 30 countries around the world.

Dr Steve Roberts, Youth Advocate and Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Monash University, is not surprised by the success of 40 Hour Famine which is now in its fifth decade.

“There is a misconception about millennials which has in fact been a criticism of almost every teen generation, that they are materialistic, narcissistic and selfish. But the reality is very different,” Dr Roberts said.

“Young people are interested in not only issues that affect their lives, but also with issues related to wider global themes, such as the environment or social justice. World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine is an excellent example of that,” he said.

“They sign online petitions, are exposed to politics, arguments and differences of opinion in a myriad of ways through social media activity. Even if the methods for doing so have evolved, we should be supporting and celebrating that young people can and do get involved in a great many ways.”

Australian youth can get involved in the 40 Hour Famine by:

  • Giving up something important to them for 40 hours (19-21 August) to raise awareness and much-needed funds to help fight global hunger.
  • Sponsoring someone who is doing the 40 Hour Famine.
  • Joining the online conversation at or using

     #40Hour Famine on Twitter. The 40 Hour Famine trends each year on Twitter during the 40 Hour Famine weekend.

  • Visiting for more information, to register and to donate.

The UN has named hunger and malnutrition as the world’s number one health risk. Funds raised through the 40 Hour Famine will go to World Vision projects in countries such as India,  Bangladesh, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malawi, Nepal, Swaziland and Uganda. 

For media enquiries and to request an interview with a youth ambassador in your state or territory contact:

Charmaine Waduge on 03 9287 2619 /0433903503 or:

Note to Editor: Source: Roy Morgan Research Charity Monitor, 12 months to March 2016, Incidence of Australians aged 14-17 agreeing with the statement “Helping others is an important part of who I am”.   Sample size 14-17 year olds n= 694

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