Emily Zhao and Josh Kazdan bring us this story about fellow students at John Burroughs High School in the United States, and how they have extended a hand to help fellow TQ delegates coming from Afghanistan, a story that captures the international spirit of MUN!
The smell of freshly baked brownies and doughnuts pervaded our schools athletics and commons facility. Delegates had spent the previous evening concocting their most delicious delicacies for sale the next morning. Those unfamiliar with the practice of running a bake sale cannot comprehend the terror of having a mob of hungry young teenagers screaming credit numbers and brandishing money. On average, such an ordeal yields a mere 150 USD, but our THIMUN delegation managed to generated close to 750 USD.
Initially, we hoped to contribute the money to the Afghan delegation’s trip to THIMUN Qatar, especially since we heard we might have the privilege of touring with them during a sightseeing component of our visit. “We want to help afford them an experience like we’re going to have,” says Tyler Waterman, the ambassador of the John Burroughs delegation and director of the bake sale. Through indirect contact with the Afghan delegation we heard about the amazing Skateistan program in Kabul and wanted part of the money raised in our bake sale to support their cause. Skateistan is an international initiative designed to liberate and empower youths in Cambodia, Afghanistan, and South Africa. Though Skateistan primarily focuses on distributing skateboards and teaching participants to ride, the program also provides enrichment education and a sense of community to its members. Many Skateistan mentors are young adults who provide role models for their younger counterparts.
The John Burroughs School community embraced the bake sale knowing the proceeds would help a group of students a world away who we did not know. Our school usually doesn’t encourage raising money for organizations that we have never visited in person or don’t have a direct connect with– the experience can be something of a trust fall. But we were all so impressed by the work of the Qatar Leadership Conference (QLC) and their initiative to help bring the students from Kabul to THIMUN Qatar (TQ). We were also impressed to hear how hard the delegation from Kabul was working to prepare for TQ. And we were moved to hear how Skateistan works to afford young people, especially girls, more opportunities through education and sport.
We hope our bake sale efforts express our sincere desire to come to Doha in February to learn more about middle eastern culture and form personal ties with the Afghan delegates as we share in a common experience as one THIMUN family.