Pakistani gaming startup for special-needs children bags prestigious UNICEF grant

In this undated photo, a woman helps a child play a game designed by WonderTree, a startup that makes augmented reality games for the therapy and education of children with special needs. (Photo courtesy: WonderTree website)
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Updated 11 August 2020

Pakistani gaming startup for special-needs children bags prestigious UNICEF grant

  • WonderTree says will use the opportunity “as a stepping stone to go global and impact millions of children worldwide”
  • UNICEF Innovation Fund has raised $20 million so far, invests in solutions that impact world’s most vulnerable children 

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani Tech startup WonderTree has been selected for the UNICEF Innovative Fund 2020 along with 11 other start-ups around the globe, the company said in a statement this week, the only start-up from Pakistan selected for the prestigious grant. 
Wonder Tree makes augmented reality games for the therapy and education of children with special needs.
UNICEF’s Innovation (Venture) Fund is a newly established, non-thematic, pooled fund which has been specifically designed to finance early stage, open-source technology that can benefit children. The Fund has raised $20 million so far.
“The core motivation of the Innovation Fund is to identify ‘clusters’ or portfolios of initiatives around emerging technology — so that UNICEF can both share markets and learn about and guide these technologies to benefit children,” WonderTree said in a statement, saying the company had been chosen from among over 350 submissions from more than 60 countries.
The tech-start-up said it would use the UNICEF grant to enhance its technological infrastructure and scale solutions to populations with limited access to quality learning.
“Our ultimate aim is to use this opportunity with UNICEF as a stepping stone to go global and impact millions of children worldwide,” it said.
In April, WonderTree was nominated by Google for its accelerator program on Sustainable Development Goals. 


 


Diplomatic spat breaks out between Pakistan, India in United Nations General Assembly

Updated 32 min 9 sec ago

Diplomatic spat breaks out between Pakistan, India in United Nations General Assembly

  • The incident took place after Saudi Arabia introduced a resolution to protect rights of minority religious communities around the world
  • Pakistan described the adoption of resolution as 'a rebuke to the Hindutva extremists in India' who were trying to 'eliminate the heritage of Islam'

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations General Assembly once again witnessed some diplomatic wrangling between Pakistan and India on Friday as representatives of the two countries questioned each other's track record of dealing with religious minorities.

The debate took place after Saudi Arabia introduced a resolution, "Promoting a culture of peace and tolerance to safeguard religious sites," on Thursday which was co-sponsored by Pakistan and other Muslim countries.

Pakistan's UN Ambassador Munir Akram described the adoption of the resolution as "part of the efforts initiated by Prime Minister Imran Khan to combat Islamophobia and outlaw attacks on Muslim religious shrines, symbols and sacred personalities in certain countries."

"The adoption of the resolution is also a rebuke to the Hindutva extremists in India who have launched a systematic and government backed program to eliminate the heritage and legacy of Islam in India through the destruction of Islamic shrines and monuments and to the transformation of India's Muslims into second class citizens, or non-citizens," he was reported as saying by the Associated Press of Pakistan.

However, India called it "ironic" that Pakistan was one of the countries sponsoring the resolution, claiming that a recent attack on a Hindu shrine in Karak was fully supported by Pakistani law enforcement agencies.

In response, Pakistani delegate Zulqarnain Chheena told India not to "feign concern for minority rights elsewhere," and called it "the most egregious and persistent violator of minority rights itself."

"The clear difference between India and Pakistan with respect to minority rights can be gauged from the fact that the accused in the Karak incident were immediately arrested, orders were issued for repairing the temple, the highest level of judiciary took immediate notice, and the senior political leadership condemned the incident," he said. "Whereas in India, blatant acts of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities take place with state complicity."

Pakistan's ambassador to the United Nations expressed satisfaction after the resolution was adopted by UN member states.