23 SEPTEMBER 2020 – UNICEF New Zealand today announced a collaboration with The One Billion and a gift of $26,000 that will support children to experience a culturally equitable education. On her 26th birthday, young entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Crimson Education, Sharndre Kushor, announces the launch of her foundation, The One Billion, which has the goal of helping 1 billion people to live happy and healthy lives by 2070. To celebrate the launch, The One Billion has selected UNICEF as their inaugural partner.
Sharndre says “I’ve looked to UNICEF as an organisation at the centre of creating long term change and equity for children all around the world and here in New Zealand. I am really proud to be partnering with UNICEF to mark the launch of my foundation and to be supporting this project. COVID 19 has exposed the scale of the inequalities that exist for young people in education around the world and in New Zealand.”
“What has become abundantly clear is that poor and vulnerable communities are mostly impacted by natural disasters and Covid 19 is just another example of this. Now is the time for collective action and we are thrilled that The One Billion will be a long term partner of UNICEF`s game changing unconscious bias programme, Te Hiringa Tamariki, and to invest in its growth and the future of youth in New Zealand,” said Sharndre.
New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the OECD and the gap between the highest and lowest performing students is being made worse by poverty. UNICEF New Zealand has developed a school intervention programme which encourages positive outcomes for tamariki by reducing unconscious bias in the classroom and lifting the aspirations of teachers for Māori (and Pasifika) students.
Vivien Maidaborn, UNICEF NZ’s Executive Director expressed her gratitude for Sharndre’s investment, “New Zealand’s education system is under immense pressure and this generous gift will allow us to scale-up our unconscious bias programme to have even greater impact.”
The foundation’s support will enable the development of an online tool kit which includes a series of educational digital resources for teachers, transforming their teaching pedagogy to address unconscious bias and have a positive impact on the children they teach.
“Sharndre is setting a powerful example, inspiring other leaders to invest in young people and clearly demonstrates the strength of public investment” said Ms Maidaborn.
Education is in Sharndre’s blood. Her father was a teacher and actively involved in fighting for equity and an end to discrimination in education. At just 18 years old she co-founded education company Crimson Education to support young people in their university applications. While still at school she was a UNICEF Youth Ambassador. All of these experiences have deepened her commitment to social justice, education and the power of young people.
According to UNICEF’s latest report Worlds of Influence, Understanding what shapes child well-being in rich countries only 64.6% of 15 year olds in New Zealand have basic proficiency in reading and maths. “We know that when children are well supported in the classroom and their culture is recognised, they have a stronger chance at fulfilling their potential,” said Miss Maidaborn.
As cases of Covid continue to soar around the world, UNICEF continues to advocate loudly for the safe reopening of schools to be prioritised around the world. Young people depend on teachers to ensure that children are able to continue their education in a safe and healthy environment; and make up for knowledge and skills that may have been lost. Investing in young people is vital as their lives have been up-ended by the global pandemic and they are facing uncertain futures.
UNICEF works with a number of philanthropists and companies to achieve real impact for children both in New Zealand and around the world. “I believe young people have the power and potential to solve some of the biggest problems in the world. I see this partnership with UNICEF as an investment in the next generation. I can’t wait to see what they go on to achieve” said Sharndre.