UN meeting inspires Nive

23:14, May 01 2014
 Nive Sharat Chandran, Helen Clark
RUBBING SHOULDERS: Nive Sharat Chandran, right, meets former prime minister and current UN Development Programme chairwoman Helen Clark.

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.

Central Leader