Verity Brogden is a 20-year old ambassador for KidsCan.
OPINION: Going through poverty as a kid you feel invisible - like no one sees you and no one cares about you.
Often people don't want to acknowledge your existence, because they're trying to pretend there's no such thing as poor people. It just makes you feel like you're not worth much.
So, I want to be a voice for kids in poverty. Not enough of us speak out about living through it, so then we're just thought of as statistics. And it's easier to ignore it, and to pretend it's not happening.
But real children are suffering. I want people to see my face, because if I can help people become more aware of the issue, if I can help children out of the position I was in, it means I didn't suffer for nothing.
Living in poverty means you are in survival mode, constantly, just trying to figure out how you're going to get your next meal.
We survived on $1 loaves of bread, noodles, and cheap junk food. Once my sister made me a birthday cake from a stack of dry Weet-Bix with icing poured on top.
I got used to the feeling of an empty stomach but was always paranoid about everyone noticing my tummy grumbling in class.
It's not just hunger - you feel like there's something wrong with you.
You know you're different from everyone else. You get bullied because you don't look the same. You're a bit scruffy, a bit smelly from not being able to wash as often. Your clothes won't be as new and as expensive as other kids.
Your teeth are bad. It was pretty lonely.
My overriding feelings were of fear and uncertainty. We moved around a lot and lived in some horrible environments. We lived in one house which was a leaky home, we joked the stairs were a waterfall. There was mould on the carpets.
We'd get sick.
We never had other kids over because it was so bad. School was my safe space, and the support I got there made such a difference.
It was warm, and there was power. And I knew I was always going to be fed. Sometimes the only food I'd get a day would be at school.
I can still remember getting my first pair of brand-new shoes there from KidsCan. I'd always had shoes from the op-shop with the price tag written right on them, which I always tried to hide. The new shoes fit, and it felt like someone could see me and see what I was going through.
It's extremely hard to escape the cycle of poverty. It feels like the system traps you in it.
I'm extremely lucky. I moved to live with my aunty, which was the first time I got to have constant meals, a roof over my head, a stable education.
I just absolutely flourished.
I've been so privileged to be able to come from something like that and turn it around.
So, I've just taken every opportunity possible.
I ran a full marathon at 16. I went skydiving. I got to be head girl of my school.
I went to Youth Parliament and to Fiji on a future leader's programme.
All these cool things started to happen.
I made it to university, and I'm in my third year studying politics at Canterbury University.
And now I'm even an ambassador for KidsCan, which provides food, shoes and clothing to schools, and early childhood centres.
They helped me out so much, those little things of hope. Their support meant I could go to school regularly with a full tummy, and focus for class. I felt a bit more whole.
I don't want escaping poverty to be about luck.
I want every child to have the means to succeed.
I want to be a politician so I can help make sure other kids get really good help, right from the top.
I would like to implement a minimum standard of living for children, across all aspects of their life, like housing, food quality, and education.
We need to stop worrying about who is to blame for us being in this situation and just solve it. Because every child deserves the chance that I've had.