Published: 02nd June 2021
This trio from Hyderabad shows you how MUNs can help govt school students pick up those necessary life skills
Participating in Model United Nations (MUNs) means that you need to be a good speaker, be confident and have knowledge about world affairs — essential life skills that EVERY student needs!
For Diya D, it all started at the Model United Nations (MUNs) — the academic simulation sessions modelled along the lines of the international sessions conducted by the United Nations. Here, students get to play the role of delegates from around the world and simultaneously learn about these countries. In the 14-year-old's own words, "At a very young age, I started participating in MUNs and discovered that public speaking is what I enjoy most. I even started understanding several issues like human rights and quality education through these sessions."
In many ways, this is how the student of Oakridge International School educated herself about the ways of the world and was quick to realise that if MUNs are so beneficial, then everyone should be introduced to it, especially students from underprivileged backgrounds who have no access to such opportunities. Diya joined hands with her close friends and schoolmates Ayaan Ali Sayed and Deetya Thota to start the Out of the Box Foundation in November last year. The MUN itself requires one to polish up their skills in public speaking, diplomacy and a whole lot more, which would actually hold one in good stead through life. This is also the trio's aim through their foundation.
Diya started a blog in July 2020 called The Hidden where she voices her opinion on world and national affairs. Check it out at www.themhidden.com
So the plan was this: The trio collaborated with Yashoda Foundation, an organisation that has been empowering children in need since 2017. What they agreed upon was that via Yashoda's network, the trio would be allotted 40 students from classes VIII to X for one hour every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, who they would make MUN-ready over 45 classes. Needless to say, this was all done virtually. "From the 40 students we had, we picked those who were interested in global affairs and trained them in various modules required for the MUN," adds Diya who is in Class IX.
A glimpse of a session
They drew up a curriculum based on their own experiences of participating in MUNs and listed seven skills that they wanted to focus on — the top two skills being communication and research. "Being well-researched is everything. So we give them simple tips like breaking down a topic and then getting into every aspect of it," explains the teenager. When it came to teaching these students, who were from Telugu-medium schools, what she struggled with the most was the language barrier. But by the end of it, "I picked up Telugu and the students picked up English," she says happily.
She pursued an online course titled Trinity Drama Programme from Trinity Laban and got positive feedback for the comedy play she submitted. She writes poetry too
In February this year, the trio conducted a Mini MUN, the main theme of which was COVID-19 and its effect on public health, for those trained students and though it did not go as she had meticulously planned, there were some heart-warming results to behold — like when the very shy Salman spoke rather eloquently while presenting his points. "Every student was given 60 seconds to present their points, to keep things simple and he really surprised us all," shares Diya. This is the model they intend to follow for their upcoming batches as well.
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