Afghanistan’s paralympian keynotes for OMUN Qatar

By Sreeparna and Ronishka, OMUN Qatar Press

Bilal pic

Online Model UN’s National Program, O-MUN Qatar, has only been running for several months; yet in that short period of time, it has succeeded in making great strides in the development of the MUN platform. Easy to access virtual classrooms, and an integrated network of social media and free online programs, create the online debate’s universe. The mission of OMUN Qatar is to empower young minds all over Qatar to act as leaders and connect with people who are different from them.During the debate which was held on the 24th of October, it made a further step towards its goal of introducing a sense of realism in its debates. This debate began with a heartfelt speech made by one very special individual.

Mohammed Bilal Mir Bat Zai, or Bilal, as we were introduced to him, is an 18 year old parathlete from Afghanistan who currently works at Skateistan – an organization founded by Oliver Percovich to help improve the lives of Afghan street children through sport. He also serves on the board of directors of the NGO Hope for Education and Leadership in Afghanistan (HELA). We had been informed beforehand that there was a possibility that Bilal may not be able to make it to this debate, as he was attending a Paralympic event in Japan.

Bilal’s arrival to the debate room however, was just like that of any other participant. We chatted for a few minutes, all getting to know each other. For someone with so much going on, he sounded inexplicably calm. He speaks slowly, in a measured tone, choosing his words carefully. It’s a manner that contributed to making his speech so mesmerizing.

He spoke mainly about his work in Afghanistan, the people he encountered, and the changes that had taken place in the last few years as a result of the THIMUN Qatar-Afghanistan Initiative. One subject that was made conspicuous only because of the fact that it was hardly mentioned, were the difficulties that he and his colleagues had encountered in trying to  get so many different projects up and running. Indeed, Bilal only ever spoke about the good things: how he had personally gained from his experience, how the children he works with have benefited. He spoke without a trace of bitterness or weariness — in fact, his words were bolstered by warmth and a passion so strong the room held its breath from the moment he started to until well beyond until he finished.

The OMUN Executive Team e-mailed Bilal with a list of questions that would help us understand a bit more about his experiences. His responses are recorded below.

What specific event/series of events prompted you to become a para-athlete?

Well my passion to sports and my love to success made me a part of Paralympic.

Has this experience, working with Skateistan, attending the Paralympics and so on changed the way you view your disability? If so, how?

Working with Skateistan and Paralympic is giving me new experiences daily, because I am doing multiple tasks and in very less time I chose to Afghanistan national wheelchair basketball team because I am doing sports from my heart and I love a lot sports.

Much of what you are doing would not have happened without the consent of your parents. Could you tell us a bit about how they’ve supported you throughout your journey?

Well this is something natural that our parents are motivating us and pushing us to have good ones in our lives in all sections, but my family and parents are doing much more than parents even they are now like my fans in Education and Sports. So the huge support behind of my success is my parent’s love to me.

What will your message be to someone who looks up to you as a role model?

My message as a role model to those who is not doing sports and not studying is that they should be brave and learn from disables and use, less opportunities and change it to huge.

We’ve heard you hold classes for boys with disabilities. Are the children eager to learn or do you have to motivate them? And if so, how do you manage to do it?

Yes I had and have classes of skateboarding for boys and girls with disabilities. They are coming not to learn sports but they are coming to learn that they can do same as a person with normal body and there is no difference between us.

What have been the most rewarding and challenging parts of this experience?

Well I am living in a community that disables are facing a lots of problems daily,

So and they have less chance than a person who is with normal body, as in sports field there is no especial sports pitches for them no equipment’s for sports no expert coaches and many others, but I am very happy and thankful that I am using less opportunities and using it for more and I am changing it to success. And I hope everybody starts with their accessed opportunity, never mind how is it huge or small just use it and bring it as a big part of their life.

Personally, the whole experience was deeply moving for us. It helped open our eyes to a side of Afghanistan that we almost never get to see.

We hope to see Bilal back at future debates, and wish him and his colleagues the best of luck with their efforts. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing a few words from Mursal SaiDal and Madina Khsrawy, who were part of the TQ Afghan Initiative at our next debate, on the 28th of November, when they will be speaking about improving access to education for women.