Project Name: Project Lantern
Contact: Asanga Seneviratne, Co-Founder
What is ‘Project Lantern’ all about?
Project Lantern is a youth-led initiative on a mission to engage, enable and support young people across the globe in creating real social change.
Our first project is Lantern – a podcast about young people trying to ‘change the world’ and trying to understand what that actually means.
Our second project is our Beta Opportunities Platform that aims to connect young people who want to make a difference with opportunities where they can do just that whilst also building tangible skills.
How long have you been operating?
Where did the idea start?
The idea for Project Lantern, stemmed from a conversation that I had with my co-founder Reegan over dinner one night during SWOTVAC. Reegan opened up to me about his upbringing which was significantly more disadvantaged than myself and got me wondering why he didn’t fall through cracks as so many others do given that he was kicking goals at university (much more intelligent & talented than I am!). His response was that he was given opportunities to pursue his interests and people believed in him.
At this point I was getting emotional and wondering what we could to help other young people in similar circumstances and thought that a mentorship program could work well to make a difference in this area. Then Reegan noted that there was already an organisation that was doing great work in this area called DOXA but they were struggling to find volunteers. In my head, it clicked that I had a number of friends who would come to me for advice on where they should volunteer or get started in the social impact space so we should just put the two groups together via an online opportunities platform. We were unsure if we had the technical capacity to launch the opportunity platform immediately or whether we had understood the landscape appropriately so decided to first build a community around a podcast.
We decided to start with a podcast showcasing young people creating social change as we were already having some amazing conversations with young people through the organisations we were involved in and were struggling to relay the insights and inspiration to others especially those not already in the ‘youth impact’ network. Nor could we find another podcast showcasing the stories of young people attempting to change the world and so Lantern was born.
How do TOWNHALL Citizens or visitors get involved? Are you open to collaboration – if so, what kind?
TOWNHALL Citizens and visitors can get involved by listening and sharing our Lantern podcast (https://www.projectlantern.com.au/lantern) as well as participating or sharing opportunities on our beta platform (https://www.beta.projectlantern.com.au). If you’re interested in collaborating or being involved in the team just shoot us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you in 2 business days.
Do you have any success stories?
Our first project, Lantern, which is a podcast about young people trying to ‘change the world’ and trying to understand what that actually means reached over 3000 listeners across 37 countries in its first season across 16 episodes. Whilst the reach of those numbers is something we’re extremely proud of, it has been the individual stories and feedback that have really motivated us. Hearing stories of young people who have changed their perspective on their career trajectory or started volunteering for a cause or organisation because of a podcast that they listened to means the world to us.
Are you raising funds for anything specific or rallying for a specific cause right now?
We aren’t raising funds for anything specifically but are trying to reach as many young people as possible in globally through our projects. This includes our Lantern podcast and helping as many young people across Australia as possible through our opportunities platform (beta.projectlantern.com.au) in the next few months. We would love any support if you were to share these initiatives amongst your friends and network particularly with young people.
Any interesting facts you can share?
The original idea for Project Lantern was scribbled out on a flyer for Avocado Fries and has grown to what it is today in just over a year.
What’s the overall vision for Project Lantern?
The overall vision is to one day for Project Lantern to be the first stop for young people who want to make a difference but don’t know how or where to start. We want to be a global launchpad for young people creating social change.
Anything else you’d like to add or that you think we should know?
We have always taken a collaborate-first approach to all of our initiatives so if you have any idea or project you think we could collaborate on please do let us know. Additionally, if you just want some advice on your own project, social impact journey, have feedback or quality GIFs feel free to shoot us a message on any of our social media channels or via our email (email@example.com). We normally get back to all our messages in 2 business days or less.