Teenager Ashreya Duvuru has a unique distinction of being the sole member of the Indian community to function as an ‘Ambassador of UNICEF New Zealand,’ albeit on a short tour of duty of one year.
The 17-year old Mount Roskill Grammar School (Year 13) student will work with various organisations and people to enhance the awareness of UNICEF and the issues confronting the youth and children in New Zealand and the developing world
She was among four young New Zealanders chosen by the world body to represent its principles, practices and activities in this country.
Jonathon Gee (North Shore, Auckland); Anthony Wanakore (Fielding) and Francessca Hera Maslin (Gore) are among the other recipients of the honour.
Ashreya is the daughter of Shri Shirdi Saibaba Sansthan of NZ Inc Bhaskar Reddy, who spells his last name as Duvvuru.
Born in Ahmedabad (Gujarat) and raised in Chennai, India, social and community work is not new to Ashreya.
She was involved in helping slum dwellers, children affected by cancer and Aids hospices in various parts of the Capital City of Tami Nadu.
“My childhood, spent largely on such projects for Rotary International, gradually influenced my thinking and commitment to the cause of children,” she said.
She has been a student representative at the Peace Foundation of New Zealand and a ’40-hour Famine Leader’ at school in recent years.
Ashreya said among the lessons that she has learnt include the need to create a positive change among the people of the world and approach issues with an open mind and a pure heart.
She attributed her achievements to the support of her family, Mt Roskill Grammar School Guidance Councillor Donna Hourigan-Johnston and Cool Schools Peer Mediation Programme (The Peace Foundation) National Trainer Christina Barruel.
“My ambition is to qualify as a medical doctor and work with the victims of acid riots in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. I would also like to be engaged in the programmes designed to eradicate child trafficking,” she said.
UNICEF NZ Advocacy Manager (International) Vicki Soanes said the youngsters commenced work on August 12, observed as the ‘International Day of Youth.’
The theme this year is ‘Dialogue and Mutual Understanding.’
Ms Soanes said the young ambassadors would interact with the young members of the society and understand the issues confronting them.
“They will also contribute to The State of the World’s Children, the flagship publication of UNICEF. This year’s edition will examine the challenges and opportunities facing adolescents,” she said.
Ms Soanes said the ‘International Year of Youth’ aimed to engage the world’s youth in social, community and health sectors, encourage public discussions and foster the rights of children.
Photo : Ashreya Duvuru