20 years ago, my community preferred to educate boys over girls, because they believed that girls wouldn’t return the investments back to their parents. They believed girls would, at the end of the day, get married and end up being housewives, while boys would work and return back the investment - even if they were married. It took a lot of courage and hard work to prove the opposite in those years. Few educated parents treated their kids equally and took both genders to school.
After a few years, people realized that whether educated or not, married or not, girls were contributing to their families and to society in general. Soon people started comparing families with working girls vs working boys and found that even if boys were working, they weren’t contributing as much as the girls. They also discovered that as soon boys got married, that was the end of them contributing to the family. Girls started competing with boys in the education and employment sectors, and even went beyond and started creating business for the community - and people realized that girls’ education is a must.
Credit: United Nations World Food Program
As a young lady living in Somaliland, I was fortunate enough to study in one of the best schools in the county for a better future. I developed a passion for an interactive classroom through my years of study, but the education system there is more of a traditional system than a modern one - which means, technology is not incorporated. There are no social or extra curriculum activities for the youth, which leads to the increase of the dropouts in schools. In my childhood time I had one dream, and that was to become a doctor. I believed that being a doctor was the only way I could help people in my society... But things changed as I got older and I realized that it’s not only doctors that help people, but each and every individual.
I have been part of Model UN for more than five years now and it gave me the opportunity to view and analyse the global issues from different perspectives. I didn’t become a doctor, but I managed to reach and help those needy people in my community. I always felt that my views and ideas weren’t important to be heard by my global peers. I felt that the fact that I was a Somali was enough reason to not being able to connect to my global peers or participate in an international programs and youth related activities. Model UN showed me that not only I am able to connect to my global peers, but my contributions are as important as anybody’s. It showed me that regardless of colour, age, religion, sex or ethnic background we are all the same and have the same rights.
I never dreamed of working for the UN before MUN. Model UN made me aware of the valuable work of the UN and made me discover my love for solving global issues. Today I work with the World Food Program as a field monitor and I am truly thankful to them because I know that I give support to the most impoverished people in my community. Seeing a smile on one Child's’ face makes me feel that I have succeeded in my mission.
Model UN introduced me into an amazing world and helped me become a better leader. It helped me redefine myself. Because of MUN a lot of people look up to me today as a role model and that is why my story with Model UN is yet to be written in the coming chapters of my life.
Ugbad Kassim, Nabila Elassar, Salam Kaedan and Kevin Felix Chan