A Call for Change: UNICEF Club to host phone-a-thon to advocate for current issues

Anushka Dasgupta, Reporter

ON Tuesday, the CHS united Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Club will host a phone-a-thon. According to Muskaan Ramchandani, head of UNICEF Club’s committee for advocacy and junior,  club members will call their local senators to voice their opinions on current issues during the phone-a-thon.

Ramchandani said, “The phone-a-thon is something UNICEF has created in order to promote some of the policies UNICEF wants to get passed. This month, the goal is ending human trafficking, so we’ll be calling different Indiana representatives and senate members in order to ask them to promote three things: the first one would be to stop online human trafficking, the second would be to protect the victims and the third is to thank them (for) bills they have passed in regards to human trafficking.”

Club sponsor Jill Noel said, “We’re really excited to reach out to the representatives in Indiana to hopefully get legislation in place to help kids everywhere. The students are just looking forward to talking to a politician and hopefully (getting) a response.”

Selena Liu
MAKING PLANS: At a UNICEF Club meeting, Viha Bynagari, club officer and sophomore, explains the phone-a-thon. Members discussed methods of bringing awareness for current issues.

Ramchandani said this is the first year the club will host a phone-a-thon.

Viha Bynagari, UNICEF officer and sophomore, said in previous years the club would write letters to representatives, but this did not garner much of a response. She said that is why the members tested out the phone-a-thon idea on Children’s Day in November.

“We wanted to bring it up to a larger scale, have a wider range of people,” she said. “I’m excited to have our club members come together even with people not in our club and just make a wider impact and start getting responses to see a direct change. ”

Ramchandani said this initiative came in an effort to expand the club’s work beyond fundraising.

She said, “We’ve always been focused on the fundraising, and the advocacy aspect has been really neglected in the last couple of years. This year we really want to focus on that important sector of UNICEF and bring it to our high school. Since people don’t really have exposure of speaking to their representatives, I think it’s really exciting to be able to allow so many people to speak to their elected officials.”

Furthermore, Carmel’s UNICEF Club is actually piloting this event, as no other UNICEF clubs have had a phone-a-thon.

Bynagari said, “We hope to inspire other clubs at both the high school and college level to do wide-range phone-a-thons.”

Ramchandani said the club officers thought of this idea after meeting with a human trafficking representative from UNICEF.

Ramchandani said she expects approximately 35 to 40 club members to come to the event, which will take place in a school cafeteria. Once there, members will call and read off a prompting script advocating for issues centered around human trafficking.

Bynagari said Manisha Desai, member of UNICEF’s Midwest Regional Board, will also attend the phone-a-thon and help make calls alongside the students.

Bynagari said, “It’s important to advocate and to make sure that the government helps support everything UNICEF is fighting for. The government is one of UNICEF’s biggest sponsors and helps UNICEF do everything UNICEF does to help children internationally. By supporting these bills and helping get these laws passed, we, as students, can help kids around the world.”