|6 Dec 2022
|2022 Finalists Global Student Prize
Kenisha Arora studies Medical Sciences at Western University in Canada where she is working towards becoming a cardiothoracic surgeon. She is passionate about making a positive impact on society and does so through her involvement in UNESCO, student government, and various philanthropic endeavours.
Inspired to spread positivity during the dark days of the pandemic, particularly for children in foster care, Kenisha and her sister started Project HopeBags to help bring back the experiences and laughter that kids in care often lack. This quickly grew into a movement of hope with over 5000+ HopeSpreaders and 50+ school chapters. Now a registered non-for-profit organization, HopeSisters is dedicated towards uplifting vulnerable members of the community by spreading hope and positivity and empowering others to do the same. The project was awarded the prestigious Princess Diana Award and received recognition from government leaders worldwide as well as corporations such as Google, the UN, and Gates Foundation.
Elected as a Senator at her University and as Chair of the Student Senate, Kenisha is responsible for implementation and amendment of the university's Academic Policy, and she worked alongside her Deans to develop her University's Strategic Plan and embed sustainability across the university’s research, teaching and campus. This led it to be ranked as one of the world's Top 3 Universities in the Times Higher Education Ranking for Global Impact and Sustainability.
During her time as a School Board Trustee in the Toronto Area, Kenisha learned that period poverty was a serious problem at educational institutions even in developed countries – 1 in 7 Canadians has had to leave school early or missed school because of not having access to menstrual products. She put forward a motion to provide free menstrual hygiene products in school washrooms, and, despite many hurdles along the way, successfully passed a provision to provide free menstrual hygiene products in the Peel District School Board. This inspired the Minister of Education to invest in free menstrual hygiene products in all School Boards across the province.
Being passionate about the way government and society works, growing up Kenisha nevertheless noticed a large disconnect from youth her age in politics. In the hope of involving more youth in politics and breaking down the walls of bureaucracy, Kenisha produced a TV show called "Let's Talk Politics" with Tehlka TV, North America’s largest South Asian media network with over 4 million listeners. She interviewed a number of Canadian Ministers and U.S. Senators to educate youth and the general public about political news.
As UNESCO's elected Youth Representative for North America and Europe, Kenisha is the youngest member of UNESCO's High Level Steering Committee working alongside the Member States and Ministers across the world to transform education worldwide. Being the Executive of UNESCO's Youth Network, she also leads a network of 100 education activists across the world to provide quality education to all young people.
Through UNESCO, Kenisha developed a report on the youth perspectives of Higher Education, outlining recommendations for stakeholders across the world. She also leads the Education Policy Working Group in UNESCO's Youth Network and is working on writing a Policy Paper on the Futures of Education Social Contract Report by UNESCO.