UN meet­ing in­spires Nive

Central Leader - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

Work­ing with the United Na­tions to im­prove the lives of women is a dream come true for Nive Sharat Chan­dran.

The 23-year-old has just re­turned from New York where she at­tended the 58th Com­mis­sion of the Sta­tus of Women.

The meet­ing fo­cuses on women’s rights is­sues and gen­der equal­ity.

Sharat Chan­dran is the vice pres­i­dent of the YWCA Auck­land board and was selected from hun­dreds of ap­pli­cants from around the world for an in­tern­ship to go to the com­mis­sion in March.

‘‘I didn’t know what the com­mis­sion was at first. I had to Google it and find out,’’ the Mt Roskill res­i­dent says.

‘‘It was more ex­cit­ing when I re­alised the women that would be there would be of such a high cal­i­bre.’’

Meet­ing her idol He­len Clark was a high­light for Sharat Chan­dran.

‘‘I ac­tu­ally mes­saged He­len Clark on Face­book while I was in New York say­ing that I would love to meet her and she mes­saged me back say­ing she was look­ing for­ward to it – I got so ex­cited,’’ she says.

In 2015 the Millenium De­vel­op­ment goals set by the UN in 2000 will end.

This year’s com­mis­sion looked at find­ing ways for fur­ther­ing the out­look of women af­ter then.

‘‘The con­tentious is­sues are those that re­li­gion gets into. En­sur­ing com­pre­hen­sive sex­ual ed­u­ca­tion is an up­hill bat­tle when you’ve got the con­ser­va­tive states and the Holy See in­volved. Ev­ery­one has equal say which can lead to a lot of stand offs,’’ Sharat Chan­dran says.

Com­ing from a rel­a­tively sec­u­lar so­ci­ety like New Zealand and ac­cept­ing the role re­li­gion plays in de­ci­sion mak­ing was a learn­ing curve, she says.

Sharat Chan­dran grad­u­ated in Septem­ber with a Bach­e­lor of Health Sci­ences and sees her­self work­ing in pub­lic health pol­icy.

‘‘I’ve al­ways wanted to work with the UN’’, she says.

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