Kerala-origin girl wins praise for U.N. speech on special children

17-year-old U.S. student, whose parents are from Pala, has worked with young patients with special needs

While preparing to address the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on ‘Children’s Rights in Alternative Care’, Amylin Rose Thomas did not have to look around and learn something new. She just enunciated everything that her family experienced over the years.

Having cared for Immanuel, her nine-year-old brother with severe special needs, the teenager had witnessed the complexities, agony, and the sense of despair involved in helping children struggling to cope with disorders. And, she has chosen to make it a motivation instead of being weighed down by it.

The right platform

“Besides my brother, I have also worked with a lot of young patients with special needs as an intern at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia last summer. The U.N. has given me the right platform to expand the scope of my activities to areas, including Kerala. In fact, we are in consultations with a Kerala-based group that works in this field,” said the high school student over phone from the U.S.

The 17-year-old girl from Philadelphia, daughter of Jose Thomas and Merline Augustine from Pala, Kottayam, represented the United States in the 2021 edition of the Day of General Discussion organised by the U.N. on September 16. The seven-minute speech, made as an introductory statement, has drawn praise from different quarters including local senator Katle Muth and former UN Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor, MP.

Career choice

In school, Ms. Thomas also runs the club for Operation Smile, a global non-profit medical service organisation that does free surgeries for children with cleft palate. A passionate public speaker, she was nominated to the Children’s Advisory Team of the U.N.’s Child Rights Connect as a representative of the U.S. for a term of two years and has been working with children all around the world.

Keen to continue with her works in this direction, she plans to pursue a career as paediatric surgeon.

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