Thursday, 25 January 2018

A Journey with Difference

Bronze and Silver Award participants from Sanjay Ghodawat International School, Kolhapur, completed their Adventurous Journey at “92 Acres barren land” opposite Ghodawat Rice Mill near Kolhapur Reserve Forest from 25 - 27 November 2017. Sasikrishnan (Award Leader) is sharing a report on this Journey.

Adventure sports are being enjoyed by people from all walks of life in a big way. The reason for this is that there are new sports being conceived every now and then, which are a thrilling and exciting experience. While people these days are so caught up in their social world, tirelessly busy to maintain their digital profiles, there seems to be no time for them to enjoy the marvels of nature and to have fun outdoors. It is these adventure sports that provide an addictive adrenaline rush, which is refreshing and rejuvenates people from the monotony of daily life -- to give young people a feeling of excitement and thrill and with the aim of experiencing learning outside the classroom.

There were eighty-two Bronze and five Silver Award participants from Sanjay Ghodawat International School who undertook an Adventurous Journey to 92 Acres barren land in front of Ghodawat Rice Mill near Kolhapur Reserve Forest from 25th to 27th November 2017. They were escorted by 8 teachers and 5 sports teachers and 6 attendees.

Though they had been briefed about the Adventurous Journey during a preliminary training session, had understood the importance of safety and use of different equipment, the process of pitching tents, use of different types of rope knots, first aid and navigation techniques, the actual Journey proved to be a personality changing experience for each one of them.

When they reached base camp, they were divided into SEVEN groups named Gora, Sambhaji, Shahaji Raje Warriors, Halloweens Shivaji Maharaj, Badal, and The Shield, and the instructors appealed to their competitive and leadership instinct right from the very beginning.

On the first day of our journey, we learnt about tent-pitching, essential knots and different kinds of camping gear. On the same day, we also went for a three-hour trek to Sunset Point and returned at 6:30 PM. The day was full of experiential learning for all of us. Everyone noted the important points in their diaries and record keeping journals.

"Each time, on time" was a clearly communicated motto. Each member of each team had to report right on time. There was always an ongoing competition between all teams regarding punctuality, keeping the tents clean, serving and eating meals in a disciplined and cordial manner, putting shoes and utensils in place... in short, in an effort to score over other teams, participants tried to imbibe the right values till it became a habit with them.

The day’s activities were exercises, treks, adventurous games, and leadership games. Treasure Hunting, etc., was organized in such a way that besides being challenging and entertaining, each team was back in time for hot, sumptuous meals and full of enthusiastic anticipation for the next fun-filled activity. Participants and teachers both marvelled at the level of excellence in planning and execution of camp activities.

The participants had no access to smartphones, television and other gadgets that have become an inseparable part of their lives, and they did not miss them. It was back to basics. With a clear star-lit sky, a bonfire in the centre and fellow participants around it, each narrating her experiences of the day, scaring others with ghost stories and imaginary incidents of the night trek, playing antakshari, celebrating birthdays and friendships, they enjoyed the human interaction which has been lost in the digital world.

It was amazing to see that even asthmatic participants undertook long treks, rappelling and zip-lining sessions, without difficulty. The air was truly invigorating! Leadership games and cooking a meal after an uphill 12-km trek, saw the best of volunteering, taking responsibility and delegating it to fellow team-mates, recognition of individual talent and excellent coordination among participants even in such a short span of time.

The perfect weather and the scenic surroundings of Kolhapur Reserve Forest became secondary to the admirable transformation in these youngsters, who came to realize their own potential after going on the IAYP Adventurous Journey. It is always going to be a memorable experience for all. Click here for the pictures ...

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Walk It Like You Talk It!

Sudhiksha Kaushik, Gold Award Participant from Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya, Jaipur found garbage handling is one of the challenging areas in India. She decided to work for the same and succeeded in setting up the examples. Sudhiksha is sharing a report here.

"I love nature. I love to be in it. It is beautiful, permanent and beyond us." These words from Marshall Vian Summers are the true expression of my feelings. A trip to the beautiful hill station of Shimla in the lap of Himalayas in class 6th with my family was my love at first sight with nature. The beauty of this place left such a great impact on my tender mind that I decided to take up environment conservation at school. Conserving environment became my passion and I started encouraging others too by my 'walk it like you talk it' attitude.

My father’s career in Merchant Navy got me to travel since a very young age, because of which I was exposed to the efficient garbage management and was intrigued about the details kept in mind in respect to the aspects of cleanliness displayed on board my father’s ships and in various countries I travelled to. Gradually I started to draw comparisons between the waste management in my country and the countries I had visited. In Ohiri Park at Hakata in Japan I saw how people cleaned their dog’s faeces when they took their dogs for a walk, in the U.S.A, I saw how people followed the laws made by the government and also actively participated in all programs related to the upkeep of the environment, in Singapore, I saw how people never littered around. This difference led me to work towards sensitizing people in my city about environment conservation and cleanliness. My endeavour is to break the taboo surrounding garbage handling in my country.

I knew that the task I have taken is difficult for a young kid but the determination to see my city as clean as the cities of the developed countries led me to do things that many children of my age are not even bothered about. In the beginning, people were not very accepting of my vision. They were least concerned about littering and polluting the environment as they assumed that it was not harming them directly. They believe that it is the duty of the government to take care of environment conservation. I started to persuade people to be concerned about the environment by organizing various activities like e-waste collection drives, cleanliness drives, and old books, clothes and shoe collection drives, etc. For organizing all these activities I, along with my younger sister started an organization called ‘R4 – Our fore vision’ which is a registered NGO today. Eventually, people started joining my drives. My teachers started talking about my initiatives in school and my peers began helping me spread awareness about environment conservation. I was declared the Environmentalist of The Year in the 9th and 11th standard. Our NGO ‘R4- Our Fore Vision’ has partnered with the biggest marathon in our city called Jaipur Marathon and the biggest theatre festival in the city called Jairangam as their cleanliness partners where people were motivated for garbage segregation and cleanliness by our volunteers. We arranged for the disposal of the collected garbage to the recycling centre.

The Clean India Mission launched under the leadership of our honourable Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi increased my determination to take this cause even to grass root level. This has resulted in people accepting the responsibility for the cleanliness of their surroundings. Today many households in my residential society compost their kitchen waste using the low-cost composter called 'Golden Pot' developed by me and my sister. I am proud to say that through my initiatives I have brought about a change in the mindset of the students of my school and the people I have interacted with. I know that I have succeeded in my endeavour when I see the students in my school not only support my cleanliness mission but also help promote it. Click for more pictures ...

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Special Project Gold Adventurous Journey

Visually Challenged Gold Award Participants from Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys' Academy, Narendrapur, completed their Adventurous Journey. Chandan Majumder, Award Leader and Mentor, is sharing a brief report on this journey.

The Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys’ Academy, Narendrapur, is associated with the International Award for Young People, India since 2002. A sizable number of participants completed their Award Journey and have achieved the Award in the last 15 years.

Very recently 14 Gold Award participants went to Maldevta hills, Dehradun, to take part in an expedition camp from 16th to 19th October, 2017. They started on 14th October 2017 by Doon Express and returned to Kolkata on 21st October 2017.

The expedition itself is very exciting always to all the participants. It was very special as this is the first time, the camp was organized in North India at a marvellous location. As these participants cannot see, naturally the job is very tough for the instructors. But they were so experienced, dedicated and attentive, the participants always felt very comfortable and got a lot of confidence.

The participants took part in Commando Net Climbing, Single Rope, Burma Bridge, Gheel scrambling, etc., in the camp. They trekked 2 days up the high hill and entered a natural cave on the hill, which was very exciting to these visually challenged participants. The participants walked 1.5 km through the river Song, which was very tough as well as tremendously exciting. It was tough because the water flow was swift and the rocky river-bed was very slippery. They jumped from the high bridge on the river. All the activities were thrilling and also new to the participants.

This Adventurous Journey helped to boost the confidence of these participants through different types of activities during the camp. They developed skills of Leadership, Punctuality, Honesty and Togetherness, which are very important for them to be well-rounded and sensitive people in the future. Click here for more pictures

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

An Evening Well Spent

Rahul Thomas Kurien, Silver Level Award Participant from Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, is sharing his experience of visiting an Old Age Home

After this visit to the old age home The Little Sisters of the Poor, I truly believe in the quote “growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional”. On November 11, 2017, a group of Award Participants went to an old age home. The sole purpose of this visit was to entertain, interact with hapless people and make a difference in their lives at least for a while. We did our homework well by planning and preparing for the items to be presented to the aged.

As soon as we reached the old age home, all of us were very curious to know how the home is managed. The caretaker explained to all of us in detail about the struggle they go through to meet the expenses on a daily basis. There were more than 100 men and women trying to find solace in the minimum comforts available to them. Most of them are invalids and have already entered the sunset of their lives. Many of them have been abandoned by their own children. Some of them are still keeping their hopes alive that one day their beloved children would come and take them away. It was a sorry state of affairs.

All of us distributed snacks to the aged as it was time for evening tea. We listened to them in silence when they explained their tales of woe to us. The interaction helped us learn valuable lessons for life. Then it was time for the presentation of an entertainment programme. The aged people thoroughly enjoyed the skit, songs and musical presentations. I was delighted with the outcome of the visit as it made a difference to their evening. It was heartening to see the smiles on their faces and they will linger in my memory forever. I returned to the school with the complete conviction that come what may, I will always make every effort to take care of the old aged. My heart was heavy but I consoled myself that I had done my best to make them happy. As the school bus started, I waved to the aged, with a promise on my lips that I would return soon. Click here for more pictures