SFU student partners with UN to deliver global sustainable development goals
By Kiko Kwok
This summer, Rochelle Prasad realized her dream of working for the United Nations. An undergrad in SFU’s Faculty of Education, she is a co-founder of the non-profit organization Camp We Empower, which has just registered as a partner to help the United Nations achieve its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The goals, which form part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development, are a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future for all. They address climate change, poverty, inequality, peace and justice. With support from volunteers and multi-stake partners around the world, the UN hopes to meet these goals by 2030.
Prasad and Amandeep Boparai, an undergrad at the University of the Fraser Valley, established Camp We Empower to train youth to be leaders in their schools, local communities, and even on the world stage. The camp offers workshops, social activities and summer camps where youth learn how to create change for a better world. Activities include workshops, camps and an annual Climate Change Challenge.
Now, as a registered SDG partner, Camp We Empower can access a consortium of global initiatives that share knowledge and expertise on sustainable development. SDG partners must also provide periodic updates monitoring their progress.
Of the 17 sustainable development goals, Camp We Empower is focusing on four:
● Quality education
● Sustainable cities and communities
● Climate action
● Peace, justice and strong institutions
Last August, Prasad represented B.C. at the UN Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Forum’s ‘New Horizons for Global Youth’ event in Washington, D.C. This platform brings together engaged young leaders ready to act on resolving global challenges. She built connections with UN ambassadors and presented Camp We Empower to 200 international delegates and dignitaries.
Camp We Empower, based in Surrey, receives entrepreneurship support from SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, an early-stage business incubator for SFU entrepreneurs.
“Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection was one of the reasons I transferred to SFU,” says Prasad. “My previous post-secondary institution did not have a program that could fit the needs of Camp We Empower.”
Prasad is the author of a novella, Because We Can. She says she wrote the novella as a way to empower youth and encourage them to work toward a brighter future—one that aligns with the missions that her non-profit delivers. In April 2018 Prasad won a Top 25 Under 25 Award from the Surrey Board of Trade and, in 2017, won a Canada 150 Community Award. Both awards recognized her community contributions to Canada.
- Camp We Empower has galvanized 5,000 youth across Canada through life-education programs
- CWE participants have significantly increased civic youth engagement activities in Surrey