TEDxManukau Speaker Susan Dunlop

Yendarra School is situated in Otara, South Auckland, one of the lowest socio-economic areas in NZ where many of the children live tough and below the poverty line.  Susan (Sue) Dunlop is their school principal.

Yendarra School swims against the tide of public opinion and assumption that parents in low socio-economic schools are poor parents who don’t care for their children and are unable to help themselves. Sue and her team strongly believe in their parents’ capabilities and the acknowledge the important role those parents play in the school’s transformation.

Yendarra’s story is extraordinary in a simple, yet revolutionary way; they have changed the food that their children eat and this has made a positive impact, not only to the children’s wellbeing, but also to that of their families and the wider community.

By focusing on ‘real food’, they have reduced truancy, dental decay and skin infection and they have seen a progressive change in classroom achievement and playground behaviour.  At home, parents have been empowered and inspired to make healthy food choices for their children.

Yendarra School has discovered something very special; changing what we eat and drink can have a dramatic and positive impact on our lives.  It is a compelling demonstration on what can be achieved when a school community works together.

The solution did not come from the outside; it was developed from within – perhaps the best place to begin.