For Fourteen-year-old, Akbar, who lives in Gurugram lockdown was not less than the worst dream of his life turning into a reality. With neither jobs nor money after the announcement of nationwide lockdown, most of the people in his locality left for their respective villages after the lockdown, leaving entire area deserted.
Online classes have become a new challenge for me now. We are three siblings and we have only one smart phone at our family. All the three of us have to attend classes but only one could access it in a day. I will be appeared in class 10 board exams this year, how am I going to manage my studies this wayPurnima, a 15-year-old student
“My locality suddenly started looking like a site of a haunted movie. There were hardly a few faces visible in the area, all my friends left for their village along with their parents after the lockdown was announced. There was no one to even talk with. It was the worst ever experience of my life. Every vacate shanty was haunting me. Those were the days when I only prayed with the God to make everything normal like before”, said Akbar.
On the other hand 15-year-old, Purnima from Delhi is struggling with online education system during pandemic every passing day. With limited excess to digital devices and internet, Purnima who is going to pursue class 10 board exams this year is extremely concerned about her studies. “Online classes have become a new challenge for me now. We are three siblings and we have only one smart phone at our family. All the three of us have to attend classes but only one could access it in a day. I will be appeared in class 10 board exams this year, how am I going to manage my studies this way”, she said.
Purnima also shared about the challenges of other children in her locality. She said her cousins are very young and cannot handle smartphones themselves, while her uncle and aunt are also not much literate about using the phone and enable access to online classes for their children.
Akbar and Purnima and many other children narrated and discussed their life during COVID times and challenges during 2-day long Children for Children Model United Nations held virtually by Child Rights and You (CRY). This was for the first time a virtual MUN was conducted by the organisation in wake of COVID 19 pandemic. Children from different sects of the society were part of this event, where they shared their experiences and views over different national and international issues related to children.
Addressing the MUN, Regional Director of Child Rights and You (CRY), Soha Moitra said “We at CRY perceive the youth as being instrumental in being the executors of the changes we aim for. Children for Children MUN and Model UNs in general are a manifestation of this philosophy. Model UNs has played a relevant role in building the next generation of leaders and will certainly build a body of aware, empathetic and innovative students”.
She further said “This MUN, however, is a bit different from the others. While many MUNs discuss issues of international peace and security, we at CFCMUN discussed issues which have a direct effect on the people and the society around you. We hope to create young leaders who are adept and empathetic about problems that will affect this generation and the next at both micro and macro levels. The issues that were discussed; education, heath, children in conflict zones vulnerability of children and the risks they face are even more amplified during ongoing COVID 19 pandemic”.
“The issues of vulnerabilities especially for children have become larger and larger in COVID times and these are not just issues affecting marginalised communities; it will affect all of us. The two day long exercise of MUN gave us this opportunity to discuss this in detail and has broken the barriers of the notion that the possibilities are limited when it comes to young people”, Moitra added.
Delegates on COVID -19 and its impact during session
During the session, the delegates spoke about how health care systems in almost all countries have seen a shortage in medicines, vaccines and mostly importantly ventilators. Most developing or underdeveloped countries were not only facing the coronavirus disease but were struggling with issues like malnutrition as well.
The delegates also spoke about how low-income nations cannot implement lockdowns and curfews as most of their citizens depend on daily wages. The COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 resulted in a pandemic on a scale the world hasn’t seen since a long time. All the health and social workers are risking their lives as this virus has left no nation untouched.
The delegates also spoke about how low-income nations cannot implement lockdowns and curfews as most of their citizens depend on daily wages. The COVID-19 outbreak in December 2019 resulted in a pandemic on a scale the world hasn’t seen since a long time.
They also highlighted how hygiene kits, soaps, masks, sanitisers should be provided to all students and workers free of cost. They also discussed the role of civil society in dealing with cases of domestic violence during pandemic. For children who are facing mental issues due to the lockdown, the committee discussed introducing tele-psychiatry and tele-medicine for providing pharmacotherapy for the vulnerable groups of children such as those in low income families with pre-existing chronic diseases and disabilities.
A Model United Nations conference is a competitive simulation of United Nations and its various organs and agencies. For years, it has enlightened students on how diplomacy takes place at an international level. It has also enabled them to have an open and critical approach on the current global crises and come up with possible solutions keeping in mind the various stakeholders. In today’s testing times, student volunteers at CRY have come together to independently organise Children for Children MUN.
It is unique because it is prime moved by children who are discussing issue of safety, education and rights of children across the world – therefore the name – Children for Children. Team CFC comprises entirely of child rights ambassadors from CRY, belonging to different schools across North India. The team is dedicated to the cause and through this to bring conscious young delegates in on the mission.