A 10-year-old White Rock girl with strong opinions about war is hoping her gift for expressing them is enough to get her to Seoul, South Korea.
“I find it sad that many people in the world lose their loved ones and things that they like, and pretty much anything, and they lose it because of war,” Pratyaksha Awasthi told Peace Arch News Thursday.
“I read a book about World War II and the Holocaust, and that’s what inspired me to write about war.”
Pratyaksha put her research into words for the 2019 Oratacular competition, hosted by Eye Level Learning Centre, after her mom, Pushpa, saw an ad for the competition on Facebook. Pushpa said she knew it was something that would pique her daughter’s interest.
“Pratty is interested in speeches, debate, right from childhood,” Pushpa said.
“This is her favourite thing.”
Pratyaksha, the youngest of two children in her family, attends Surrey Academy of Innovate Learning (SAIL) at Brookside Elementary in Surrey. The non-traditional way of teaching has provided a challenge her daughter enjoys, her mom said.
“She always wants to take a challenge, beat anything,” Pushpa said.
Pratyaksha said she likes to talk about “anything.”
“I just enjoy explaining my perspective with other people.”
In her competition speech – posted to YouTube last week – Pratyaksha both tugs at the heartstrings and draws on cold, hard statistics to explain why ending wars is the one thing she would change in the world.
Opening with a story about hearing guns and bombs and being unable to wake her mother and brother, Pratyaksha soon reveals she was in a dream.
But, for too many children around the world, such a nightmare is real, she says.
“This is a horrible truth for many children, who are innocent and aren’t ready to accept the fact that their family is dead,” she says.
“So, if I could change one thing in the world, I would make it free of wars.”
The four-minute, 53-second presentation includes casualty numbers from the First and Second World Wars, along with estimated financial costs of wars.
“Every day, some part of the world bears the brunt of war,” Pratyaksha says. “The dance of death and destruction does not seem to stop.”
Judging of the 2019 Oratacular, according to information on Eye Level’s website, is both internal and online. Pratyaksha is hoping her YouTube speech will get at least 500 likes by the close of online voting, which wraps up Friday (March 29). As of PAN’s press deadline Monday, it had 215 likes.
If she is chosen as a winner, the prize is a trip to Seoul to participate in the Eye Level Model United Nations (MUN) camp.
The camp simulates the actual UN, with students playing the role of delegates from different countries, and problem-solving real-world issues from the perspectives and policies of their assigned country.