A Blackburn broadcast journalism student has been selected to attend a Model United Nations (MUN) conference in New York.

Maariyah Kadu, will be a 'rapporteur' for the Dias team at the Change the World MUN Conference in New York, from Friday, April 5, to Sunday 7.

She flew out this week ahead of the conference.

The Dias team chairs the conference, making sure all representatives act respectfully, accordingly, and follow the rules.

The 19-year-old, who was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (Type 3) aged three, travelled to Abu Dhabi last year to attend the previous conference, where she represented Egypt.

Maariyah said her dedication to MUN is fuelled by her desire to make a positive impact on the world as part of the next generation.

She said: “I want to be an inspiration to those who think that they can’t do anything but in fact they can, and I am living proof that nothing can stop you from doing whatever you want.

"I am passionate about doing this for the next generation and having a hand in changing the world for the better.”

Maariyah said she is keen to pursue her interests in politics and journalism. 

She said: “I thought this would be one of the avenues I can go into which will look good on my CV. I can get a bit of experience from it and it's something new as well.”

She originally got into MUN after seeing an advert on Instagram looking for students to be part of the conference in Abu Dhabi.

After doing a handful of Zoom classes online once a week from May until October, she was then given the opportunity to fly out for the event.

When the chance came to be a part of the conference in New York, Maariyah was very keen to put herself forward to become a rapporteur.

“It was really exciting to be picked as a rapporteur because there's only three positions in each team so, for me to get picked individually, it shows that I have got that experience that they are looking for.”

Maariyah has been a wheelchair user since the age of four but refuses to see it as a hindrance to taking on new opportunities for herself

She added: "It’s part of my day-to-day life and it's like, I have been born this way, so I know nothing different but every day is like a little bump in the road which could set you back so all you can do is pick yourself up and carry on”.

Dad Shahid said: "I am extremely proud of Maariyahs achievements. She is an absolute blessing. She does not let anything get in her way or hold her back. To be a wheelchair user comes with many challenges.

"The most simple task would become nearly impossible for Maariyah but she does not give up.

"She wants to make a difference to others in a similar condition to hers in poorer countries where they don't even have the chance of sitting in a manual wheelchair let alone a electric one.

"My parents would be so proud of Maariyahs achievements. They are both in their 80s and have dementia so they are unaware of Maariyahs achievements."