MUN For All

MUN For All and All for MUN!

Photo of Neha Rana
4 5

Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

April 17th, 2001

Where are you located:

VA: McLean (22101), Falls Church (22043), Annandale (22003)

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://www.munforall.com/

Date Started

March / 11 / 2018

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

“$25? Alright, I’ll have to ask my mom, but it’s probably going to be a no.”
Model United Nations is one of the most engaging activities for improving self-confidence and public speaking skills. Built on a foundation of diplomacy and equality, Model UN should be an activity accessible to all students. But when a bright student was forced to turn down an educational opportunity at a conference, a shocking truth was illuminated- our society’s materialistic nature impedes upon the ability for students to expand their educational endeavors.
As someone who strives for equality between all people, witnessing the opportunity gaps which socioeconomic disparities precipitate left me heartbroken. My best friend, Atharv Gupta, and I, both fervent Model UN delegates, decided that we cannot stand paralyzed with indecision and act as mere bystanders to the perpetual cycle of inequality.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The acquisitive tendencies of organizations and people throughout our nation leaves a large educational gap between varying levels of socioeconomic status. We want to provide all students with the opportunity to expand their knowledge by participating in enriching activities without burdening them with financial restraints. Chances to gain more experience, life skills, and self-confidence should never be defined by wealth.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

In an effort to solve this problem, we want to provide students with unlimited amounts of resources for Model United Nations on our website with weekly posts and reports on various subjects, such as collaboration, public speaking, and writing skills necessary for competitions.
To provide students with real experiences of Model UN, we want to organize free training workshops, as well as host conferences for all students (middle and high schoolers) throughout the D.C., Maryland, Virginia region, free of all costs. With the anticipated expansion of our organization, we hope to aid in the establishment of Model UN clubs in schools which did not have the abilities to train their own student delegates prior to our free workshops, conferences, and Model UN “Toolbox” on our website.
Although Model UN is only one club, the impact it has on students is extraordinary. Alongside premiere public speaking and collaboration skills, it brings upon a sense of newfound pride and confidence. Often times, children from lower socioeconomic communities lack the sense of self-assurance within their abilities. Through our initiatives, we hope to ignite the passion within all of these students.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

The average 24 hours of a MUN delegate:
9:00 P.M.: Finish up research and position paper as Uganda that is necessary for the conference by using MUN For All Toolbox.
10:00 P.M.: Go to bed.
7:00 A.M.: Wake up, put on some Western Business Attire, eat a healthy breakfast.
8:30 A.M.: Arrive at the conference venue, check in, register with no fees.
9:30 A.M.: Exit the opening ceremony and go to your committee: WHO (World Health Organization).
10:00 A.M. - 12:30 P.M.: Participate in the competition by engaging in speeches and group collaboration on the topic of antibiotic resistance.
12:30 P.M. - 1:15 P.M.: Enjoy a free lunch!
1:15 P.M. - 3:30 P.M.: Return back to committee, participate in some more fun debate.
3:30 P.M. - 4:30 P.M.: Attend closing ceremony, (possibly) win an award!
4:30 P.M.: Leave the conference venue with a new experience as a Model United Nations delegate.

5. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Our X Factor is simple: we’re free. MUN education programs primarily exist through university-run conferences or through camps run by companies like Best Delegate and All-American MUN. However, these programs include a hefty price tag, with All-American and Best Delegate summer events costing thousands of dollars, and university conferences averaging a few hundred per student. MUN For All offers these same opportunities for no cost. We organize free workshops and club-building seminars for any students interested in our area. Our dream is to host the first entirely free Model UN conference.

6. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

MUN For All was only started a few months ago, but we’ve already begun planning to make our difference in the community. We are currently in the process of organizing our first Middle-School MUN Workshop, completely free to students who are interested. We’ve registered a venue, set up a schedule, and selected a staff team to run different sections of the workshop. Furthermore, while we had to create our own contact list to get the word out, we were able to use Facebook and an email list of every middle school PTA in our area to start getting signups. We’ve also used GoFundMe to fundraise in preparation. As of now, we have around 35 student sign-ups, with that number steadily climbing. We’ve raised about $215 in donations, and have also reached 400 total views over just two weeks. Lastly, we will use our website to post a series of articles, all of which are currently being written.

7. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Listed below are our objectives for the next year:
-Organize 1 - 2 Middle School Workshops for the DMV Area
-Fundraise and run a free Model UN conference with a 400-500 student capacity
-Post a series of 10 articles on our website on topics ranging from recruiting students to training for conferences to even running your own conference
-Partner with a middle school to help them organize their conference for other middle schoolers
-Partner with a middle school/high school to help them start a new MUN club in our county
-Open branches of MUN For All across the country to host free workshops and conferences for a larger population of students
-Continue fundraising and look for corporate sponsorship opportunities to raise more money

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

My fellow co-founder and I are both presidents of the Model UN teams at our respective schools, allowing us to compete and meet other delegates regularly. We also have a website, social media, and staff team for our events. Our largest need is a greater public image. We are currently unable to contact a significant amount of middle/high schoolers, and our organization needs more visibility within the Model UN community to attract student participants. More importantly, we need to reach non-MUN students who don’t have MUN offered at their schools, as they are our primary audience. So far, we have only been able to email PTA’s. We plan on approaching teachers and administrators at other schools to spread the word and encourage participation.

9. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Donations between $100-$1k

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

My area is filled with students and organizations who are dedicated to improving our community. One of the other organizations I lead is the Speak Up Initiative, which teaches public speaking to elementary schoolers in disadvantaged D.C./VA schools. This nonprofit aligns with MUN For All in its mutual goal of bringing extracurricular education to underprivileged students. The Speak Up Initiative has a trusted rapport with several schools in the area, and would be a fantastic group to advertise and collaborate with MUN For All.
Furthermore, we are an organization focused on bolstering students of all socioeconomic backgrounds, meaning our most crucial partners will be our target schools themselves. MUN For All’s ultimate goal is to inspire a MUN club within every school in our region. This is why we will partner with the administration and students at underprivileged schools to aid them with starting these clubs.
Our last partner is our own respective MUN clubs. I, along with my other co-founder, am the president of my MUN club at school, and we both run some of the most successful teams in the country. We hope to partner with our school teams in order to improve MUN For All.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)
  • Other

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Word of mouth
  • Other

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Fatima Shahbaz, Harvard Class of 2021

4 comments

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Photo of Kim Solem
Team

So great to see your ideas to bring the MUN benefits to those who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford them - clearly you have grown and have great passion to share those benefits with others. Have you reached out to the MUN leadership to see how they might be able to help you make their programs more affordable to others? I'm wondering if they have scholarship funds or other ways to help raise money. You also might think about an income-earning venture that might help with funding. Keep at it... you're on to something great!

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