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

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Bronze Level Adventurous Journey

Twenty Award participants of Harvest International School accompanied by four mentors went to Prashar Lake on November 2, 2017 for two nights and three days to fulfil the requirement of IAYP Bronze Adventurous Journey. Before departure, the participants were given an in-depth training on tent-pitching, cooking, first-aid, team building, etc.

The participants began their journey at 8 pm on November 2. They reached the base camp (Baggi village) at 6 am the next morning. After having breakfast at 8 am, the students and mentors started the 8 -10 km. trek to Prashar Lake, situated at 2700 meters. During the course of their 8 hours of trekking, they crossed a stream, rocky terrain, dense forest, and meadows. While trekking, they also explored the flora and fauna of the region. They stopped on the way to prepare lunch for themselves at about 1 pm in the afternoon. They reached the destination (Prashar Lake) at 4 pm. They remained busy pitching their tents for an hour at the campsite. Then they collected wood for the bonfire. After dinner, they slept for the night in their tents.

The next morning, after waking up at 6 am, some of them played cricket while others played football to warm up for the day. After breakfast the students went for a hike 3 km deep in the forest. They discovered a cave in the forest. They had a bonfire in the cave and relished tea which they had brought with them. After the cave adventure, the participants visited the temple, which is located close to the lake. They researched about the temple and the lake by interacting with the priest and the locals. At noon, the students scaled a steep hill close by. The summit of the hill gave them a panoramic view of the entire region. Later, the participants took to cooking their food. They were assigned various tasks, for example, collecting and chopping the wood for the fire, cleaning the utensils, cutting the vegetables, etc., and finally they collaborated to cook dinner consisting of rice, dal and vegetables. The entire process took 4 hours. After dinner, the students pitched the tents and had a bonfire.

Next morning the team returned to base camp and from there after travelling for 12 hours returned to school. Click for pictures of this journey