Rochelle Prasad maybe just 20 years old, but she has already accomplished significant achievements in humanitarian work and global youth engagement. The Simon Fraser University student is a global volunteer, youth empowerment advocate, role model, young entrepreneur, social activist, motivational speaker, academic achiever, and passionate educator—and book author. Prasad has continuously given back to the community by volunteering locally and internationally, building schools and educating children, co-founding youth-focused organizations, and inspiring others through her work and writing.
This past summer, 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 form part of the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda of Sustainable Development and are a blueprint for achieving a better and more sustainable future. They address climate change, poverty, inequality, peace, and justice. With support from volunteers and multi-stake partners around the world, the U.N. 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. Events include workshops, fields, and an annual Climate Change Challenge. The program has been running for four years and has inspired hundreds of teenagers to engage in social change and make a positive difference in the world.
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. Out 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 U.N. Friendship Ambassadors Foundation Forum’s ‘New Horizons for Global Youth’ event in Washington, D.C. The platform brings together engaged young leaders ready to act on resolving global challenges. Prasad built connections with U.N. 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. The initiative is what inspired her to transfer to SFU, and through the involvement Camp We Empower began to become a reality.
Prasad is also the author of a novella, Because We Can, which reflects her journey of becoming a changemaker. She says she wrote the novella 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, received a Canada 150 Community Award.
Prasad was also recognized with a Soroptimist Women in Leadership award, and earlier this year was nominated for a prestigious YWCA Women of Distinction award in the young woman of distinction category.