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Hip Hop star says Wipe Out Poverty!

New Zealand hip hop artist Feleti Strickson-Pua is joining forces with Christian World Service’s (CWS) to encourage young people to help wipe out poverty.

“We are really excited to have Feleti’s support for this year’s Wipe Out Poverty week”, says CWS youth coordinator Michael Wallace. “He appeals to young people, is a great role model, and shares the same values as CWS.”

Feleti is a member of the hip hop group Nesian Mystik and the award winning Fresh Dialects. He performs a mix of rap, rhythm & blues, and hip-hop. The influence of his Pacific Island heritage is strong in Feleti’s music, which strives to affirm the experience of Pacific peoples and encourage young people to contribute to their communities and the wider world. The lyrics of his songs show a commitment to culture and justice.

Through his Presbyterian upbringing, Feleti is aware of the work CWS undertakes to end global poverty and empower communities. Feleti thinks what CWS does is “great” and he’s happy to endorse the youth programme and Wipe Out Poverty Week. “Get out and get involved,” is his message to New Zealand young people.

Michael says Feleti is “a really friendly and humble person. It was easy to work with him.” Feleti appear in Wipe Out Poverty publicity and plans to visit youth groups during Wipe Out Poverty week. “We hope Feleti’s example will encourage even more young people and youth groups to get involved this year,” explains Michael.

Wipe Out Poverty week is the annual CWS youth fundraiser. It builds on the Youth Topics education resources. “Throughout the year, CWS educates young people about global social justice issues and the inspiring work of our partners,” says Michael. “Wipe Out Poverty week is a chance for them to do something about the problems poor communities face and take action against poverty.”

As well as the traditional clean ups and car washes, this year CWS offers ideas on how to join in at home or at school, run an all night event, sell fair trade goods from Trade Aid (which also supports Wipe Out Poverty week) and encouraging youth groups to serve fundraising breakfasts for their church community – all to help communities around the world working to end poverty and injustice.

As Feleti says, “Changing our world and making a difference is no small feat but together it is possible”. Join in Wipe Out Poverty week, September 6 –12, 2004. Email: youth@cws.org.nz or phone 0800 74 73 72, for more information.