Rahmatullah Hamdard is the new President and CEO of Afghanistan’s first NGO devoted primarily to Model United Nations. Formed under the umbrella organization HELA (Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan), this new organization will carry on the initiative started at the 2014 Qatar Leadership Conference. (For more information refer to Full Circle: The TQ Afghanistan Initiative).
After starting Afghanistan Model United Nation’s project (AFMUN) with the Skateistan organization, I decided to do a big thing for Afghan youth: providing MUN international leadership programs with more students and also to spread this throughout Kabul and then maybe in the whole country. The only way of spreading it in high level was to register as a local Afghan NGO. The focus of the NGo would be to focus on Model UN, OMUN and the THIMUN Qatar Northwestern film festival. I wanted to start it with schools and organizations and also to get an office where other students would be able to come. So I shared my idea with Miss Lisa (Head of THIMUN Qatar,) and she kindly and happily supported the idea and promised me to help me and my team in the registration process. The biggest challenge was to raise funds for registration and an office space. Our team started working hard on raising funds; they started of asking their friends whom they visited at the MUN Qatar conference. Fortunately and finally, we raised the much needed money to start the process.
The first and biggest problem in the registration process was that the government did not accept the name AFMUN, since no NGO can contain the words United Nations, so we were thinking to choose a name which must have the similarity to our projects. We decided on the name of HELA (Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan). In Dari, this word also means hope, so we thought that was appropriate. One month later we finally got the license and now we are able to spread our project throughout the country.
HELA has several major goals: to spread AFMUN (Afghanistan Model United Nation), OMUN (Online Model United Nation in Afghanistan) and also have our students make some films or short documentaries so then many youth will be able to choose their way or their future.
We are some of the first MUNers in Afghanistan and want to improve this such a amazing leadership project in our country. We follow the THIMUN model, meaning that we are run to empower young Afghans to have a say in the world! We look forward to attending more international conference and supporting new leadership opportunities for students.