A new scholarship has been set up for AUT students by Miss World New Zealand 2017, Annie Evans, to provide support for those who are both struggling with mental health issues and experiencing financial hardship.
The Skills to Thrive Scholarship has been established thanks to the efforts of Annie and Miss World New Zealand 2018 contestants, who threw themselves into fundraising for the cause as part of the pageant’s Beauty with a Purpose programme in response to New Zealand’s high suicide statistics.
The charity, Annie’s Lifeline, was established during Annie’s reigning year, and these funds have now been resettled to the AUT Foundation which will distribute funds over the next four years.
After supporting a close friend who struggled with mental illness, Annie felt that fundraising to assist people through education by relieving financial pressure was something she could help with.
“I wanted to ease some of their financial burdens of debt supporting themselves as they go through university,” Annie says, as she believes financial woes can be a stressor exacerbating mental illness.
A self-proclaimed ‘hustler’, Annie says raising money is one of her strengths – and she intends to continue building the fund so it can help more students in the future and would love to find some collaborators.
“I really want the fund to be flexible so there aren’t limitations,” says Annie, who this year entered her third year studying finance and economics at the University of Auckland after her year travelling, fundraising and working on humanitarian projects. “Ideally we would like to target students who come from a lower income background, although I know from personal experience it really depends how much your parents help you as opposed to how much they have.”
Applications close on 15 November.
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