Efforts paid off well!
Contributed by: Utkarsh Lal and Tanisha Kumar
Dated: 11th July, 2017
Merely getting admission into a school like La Martiniere had opened up a truck load of opportunities and avenues for us and as we crawled through every grade, we knew that with every passing day we were not only becoming more academically sound but more developed persons.
We got chances (several multiple) to participate in competitions with schools from all over the nation. We were pitched against each other in almost every sphere and by the time we completed Grade 12, we weren’t afraid to take up a challenge, no matter how arduous.
When we started our internship with Project KHEL, we were mentally prepared for what was going to come our way. We knew we would have to deal with children ranging from ages 4 to 18, we knew we would have to be out in the sun playing, shouting, teaching, having fun. Seemed pretty easy to us. However, what we were not prepared for was this…
A private MUN, Revolution Model United Nations, had reached out to Project KHEL and had offered to sponsor five KHEL-children to be a part of their MUN.
The Project KHEL team decided to put us in charge of it!
Although both of us had attended several MUNs and were adept to all nuances, the thought of training five children, teaching and helping them understand what an MUN was, was slightly disorienting for both of us.
We knew that their general knowledge about Indian politics was more than the average at MUNs. We loved this fact. But we were worried lest they should feel inferior in the typically ‘posh’ MUN environment. We, thus, kept reassuring them of their abilities.
Over the first few days of the seemingly extreme short span of preparation time, we explained to them what an MUN was and focused on making them understand and experience what it was going to be like. We were probably more apprehensive than they were about this entire event.
With each passing day, their curiosity increased and they started to get a hold of the procedural details. Gradually, all of our doubts and anxious questions started to settle down as we saw them strengthening their stand, as the public in the youth parliament (Lok Sabha). We did not keep high expectations from them mostly because of the new environment and experience they were about to have and just wanted them to give their best and enjoy themselves.
Therefore, one speech for each of the 5 was prepared beforehand. They learnt their speeches by heart and had to recite them during the first half of the session.
On the final day, they were visibly nervous, yet excited. The multitude of people attending made them feel small but they looked determined, nevertheless. In the start, they weren’t as participative, understandably. However, in the discussion hour, we encouraged them to raise questions, which they nervously did and that was the final nudge they needed to open up.
Their questions earned loads of appreciation from the crowd and soon after that, they were as much part of the game!!
They rose above our expectations and started talking to other delegates in the lobbying sessions. They adapted very well to the new environment and started to comment and question every speech. We were baffled and proud to see this. We pretty much had goosebumps everytime they spoke in the committee.
But that was not it. Two of them went forward and actually wrote individual speeches, raised their placards, got recognised and spoke their hearts out. The sensibility in their content was truly commendable and was appreciated and encouraged by not just delegates but the Executive Board members as well.
As delegates, they were very disciplined, probably more than anyone in the room. They were not bothered by the fact that they were surrounded by kids of “elite” schools. They were ready to challenge their arguments, questions and points. They were ready to make a point and justify it.
We think being a part of Project KHEL made them this. It has made them strong individuals who aren’t bothered by the constructs of the society but want to delve deeper into the needs and issues of the society. Although this MUN and the people part of it might not be the ones who can actually bring about a change, however, each word spoken out of their mouths reflected honesty and an earnest desire to change the wrong around them.
They were not just “attending” an MUN but were “being a part of it”.
We cannot speak about anyone else, but their words did leave an impact on us!
We were ecstatic by their performance and all of them already felt like winners for they had done something new, conquered their fears and, oh very important, they had LOADS of stories for their friends!
The announcement of Uttam and Shraddha winning Special Mentions and the multitude praises for every one of them made us jump with excitement and was like a cherry on top of a five-tier wedding cake!