Lucknow slum children impress at Model United Nations
Slum and shelter home children of the city challenged the notion of ‘being privileged’ and excelled at the Revolutionary Model United Nations 2017 held here last month.
Model United Nations (MUN) is an extracurricular activity in which students typically role-play delegates to the United Nations and simulate UN committees. This activity takes place at MUN conferences, which is usually organized by a high school or college MUN club, a relatively recent activity in mainstream schools in India.
Akshai Abraham founder-director of Project KHEL said he was approached by Abhivyakti, a voluntary organization, to send a few children to Revolutionary Model United Nations 2017. Five children were then selected to participate. Two girls from a shelter home – Shraddha (17) and Swati (14) along with Uttam (15), Bunty (16) and Anshu (15) from slums in Gomti Nagar and Butler Palace, were sent as delegates by Project KHEL, a city-based non-profit organisation that caters to underprivileged children using an activity-based curriculum to provide all-round education and leadership skills.
Angna of Project KHEL said, “We knew they were confident speakers. The only thing to be seen was how these children would perform in the company of children from the best schools of Lucknow.”
At the closing ceremony, Shraddha and Uttam were also given ‘Special Mention’ awards.
Zia, Rutwik and Arsh, Class 11 students of Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad who are interning with Project KHEL for a month opined, “At our first MUN we barely had the guts to speak. That way to get a special mention in their first MUN is huge!”
Project KHEL sought feedback from others who were present for both days of the conference. Tanisha, a student of La Martiniere Girls College said, “The children didn’t have speeches ready and were speaking on the spot, which showed their presence of mind and a deep interest in their surroundings.”
“This is great validation of our approach to education. Over the years our children have always excelled at youth camps and other events but these were always with children from similar backgrounds,” Akshai said.