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Schools and Students




‘Don’t wait for an opportunity – find it and make it yours!’

When Sheenal Prasad was interviewed for her 2010 First Foundation scholarship, she was determined to avoid getting special treatment due to her health.

At the time, she had leukemia. She sat down and told her interviewer from Telecom, now known as Spark NZ, that if she was going to be selected for her health condition, she would rather not continue the interview.

“I look back and think how brave I was to say that,” says Sheenal, who is now a learning and development specialist at Asahi Beverages in Australia.


Life-changing opportunity

Sheenal’s work experience at Spark turned into five years of work, where she was able to work across all the departments, including human resources, information technology, marketing and sales.

“I worked with industry experts and learned valuable lessons while working and studying for my bachelor degree at the University of Auckland.”

“First Foundation gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. Through my journey, I flourished through my career and achieved the goals that I dreamt about from my hospital bed.”

As part of the First Foundation programme she was also matched with a mentor, who she says she can’t speak highly enough of.

“Sarah Kirk has changed my life. Without her guidance and support, I wouldn’t be able to come this far in life. We have established an extraordinary bond, and I call her my ‘zen’.”


‘The journey is the reward’

Sheenal is now happily married and is continuing her education with a Masters in commerce at RMIT University in Victoria. She says her experience through the First Foundation programme taught her to take all the opportunities that come her way.

“The most valuable lesson I’ve learned from this experience is, the only difference between success and failure is the ability to take action. Don’t wait for an opportunity to come to you; go find it and make it yours!”

“Thank you to the entire family of First Foundation to give me this opportunity that has changed my life completely. I would personally encourage all businesses to get involved with First Foundation and make a difference in a student’s life.”