Monday, December 4, 2023

Making a difference

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Michelle Prasad started the Good Start Foundation with the aim of helping striving students.

Michelle Prasad was named head girl, achieved excellent grades, founded her own company, received distinguished awards and was still rejected for multiple scholarship opportunities.

This inspired her to start the Good Start Foundation a year ago to help students who do so much for their community but don’t have the financial security and means to study further.

“Additionally, I started it to make sure that doesn’t happen to anyone else,” Michelle says.

It was 2018 when she moved from Fiji to New Zealand with her family.

In the same year she founded her first company, Kiwi Essence, with friends when she was attending Edgewater College in 2019. She carried it forward into 2020.

Kiwi Essence won multiple awards – the Excellence in Product Design for the East Auckland Region and Excellence in Perseverance Category in the Yes East Auckland Region Awards.

She also assisted in the company’s inclusion in the EA Region Top 8 Yes Companies list.

And she was head girl at Edgewater College in 2020.

However, despite her accomplishments, her applications to multiple scholarships were rejected.

Michelle decided to make sure this would not occur to other students.

The Good Start Foundation aims to help students who continually strive to serve their community – in and out of school – while also maintaining their academic potential and success.

Students for assistance from the foundation are those who have continually made efforts to serve their community through volunteering or participation, while also demonstrating great ownership of their learning.

“I want to create opportunities for people who do so much for the community but don’t have the financial means to study further.”

Within two weeks the foundation garnered interest and received offers of funding.
Michelle’s vision became a reality.

The scholarships will be launched in mid August and are for Year 12 or 13 students at Edgewater College. She wants to expand the scholarship opportunities to other schools as well.

“I want there to be easier access to tertiary education,” Michelle says.

After the launch and success of the foundation, she has received three scholarships: the University of Auckland Business School Inspiring Futures Scholarship, Brian Boyd First in Family Scholarship and Leap First in Family Scholarship.

Michelle studies a co-joint of Law and Commerce at the University of Auckland. She’s the first in her family to attend university.

She wishes to became a lawyer and, later in life, dip her fingers into politics.

“Outside of the foundation and my studies, I love reading and travelling,” she says. “But most especially – I like to make a difference in people’s lives.”

“I would like to thank my family, Edgewater College staff and students and Young Enterprise staff,” she says. “Everyone’s been wonderful.”

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