Wednesday 19 December 2012

A trek to Nagtibba - A Report

 On October 19th, 13 girls of Hopetown Girls' School along with 2 teachers went for a trek to Nagtibba.   The group left on 19th morning at 6 O'clock with each girl carrying a rucksack and a bag pack. As we commenced our journey our first stop was ‘the Maggie point’. We had our breakfast which consisted of parathas and paneer. We ordered tea for everybody and that was the best breakfast ever had. As we continued we reached Thatyur village. We stopped there to buy some necessary ration. The people of the village were very warm and welcoming.  

Our final stop was Devalsari at 1 O'clock.  Devalsari was our camp site so we all packed ourselves with our bag packs and rucksacks. We rented a mule to carry our utensils and food. As our camp site was on the other hill, so we had to trek all the way to our camp site.  As we reached there we started pitching our tents.  As we finished the chore our lunch was ready for us.  The menu was decided by the students so it was dal – chawal for our meal.  Later in the evening as we had our tea we went for a walk in the forest.  We came back before the sunset and sat around the bonfire  chit – chatting. 

Next day we were all up by 4:30 AM to cook our breakfast and lunch for the main trek.  Our destination was  ‘Nagtibba’.  With a cup of tea we started our trek.  On the way we had chocolates, glucose, sang songs. At the first stop which was after trekking for 6-7 kilometers, we had our breakfast. When we reached nagtibba  we had our lunch and our guide told us that we have trekked for 18 kilometers. In total we trekked for 36 kilometers and reached our campsite at 6 P.M.  As we reached back we were very tired so we decided to sleep but our teachers told us to cook the dinner and told us that if we would have slept that time our bodies would have gone very stiff. We had Maggie for supper.   

21st October was the last day and we all realized how much we all will miss this.  This was the best trek ever.  It made every individual strong mentally and physically and lest us with a never ending craving for adventure. 

Thank you IAYP!  

Monday 17 December 2012

National Training Workshop at Good Shepherd School, Ooty

A great day at Good Shepherd School, Ooty! Lots of activities, exchange of ideas and fun. Looking forward to the next few days and the learning.

Sunday 16 December 2012

National Training Workshop at Good Shepherd School, Ooty

A great day at Good Shepherd School, Ooty! Lots of activities, exchange of ideas and fun. Looking forward to the next few days and the learning.

National Training Workshop at Good Shepherd International School, Ooty 16-18 December 2012

The National Training Workshop commenced today at Good Shepherd School, Ooty. Award Leaders and trainers from across the country have come together for a meaningful exchange of ideas and best practices. — at Good Shepherd International School, Ooty.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The International Science Forum 2013 and MUPD Programme - Travel To Learn

Invitation to participants for The International Science Forum 2013

The LONDON INTERNATIONAL YOUTH SCIENCE FORUM-2013, is a two week residential forum held at IMPERIAL COLLEGE-LONDON that attracts over 350 of the world’s leading young scientists, aged 16-21 years, from more than 60 participating countries, including the top prize winners from the European union contest for young scientists 2012. For registrations please mail  or visit  

Opportunities for Gold Award Holders and Participants

The National Award Authority is keen to involve Gold Award Holders and Participants in reaching out to schools and institutions across the country. Award alumni all over the world are involved in strategic planning and development of the Award in their own communities. Important events like the International Gold Event take place once every three years to bring international alumni together and share best practices. The next IGE is in South Korea in 2014. Additionally, all participants and Award Holders should approach the NAA for Volunteering and Internship opportunities. Schools may send across articles and writeups by their students for publishing in The Award Weekly and Award India magazine. For more details please get in touch with Ankit Durga at

National Award for Child Welfare 2011- Salaam Baalak Trust

The Award family would like to congratulate Salaam Baalak Trust that has been awarded the National Award for Child Welfare 2011. The award was presented by the Honorable President of India in recognition of the valuable services in the community rendered in the field of child development on 14th November 2012 at Rashtrapathi Bhawan.

The segment of child population is our most important resource as the future of our nation depends upon the kind of opportunities we create and provide to them. In order to encourage the voluntary sector, the Govt of India, in 1979 began presenting National Award's to deserving institutions and individuals for their outstanding performance in the field of child development and welfare. 

YES training workshop on Nov 29th and 30th at Award Training Centre, New Delhi.

YES training workshop was conducted at the ATC for Award leaders from The Sagar School, Rajasthan and Guru Nanak Public School, New Delhi. The workshop was conducted by the members of the National Training Panel, Vijayashree Pahal & Bivujit Mukhoty. The Award leaders were imparted training on the core sections of the Award and importance of mentoring and supporting the Award participants in their Award journey. The requirements specific to Bronze, Silver & Gold levels of the Award, the significance of the Residential Project at the Gold level; were some of the highlights of the workshop. Challenges faced in institutions and the flexible structure of the Award was also discussed.

Gold Residential Projects- Welham Girls School

Over the last few months, Welham Girls School has organized two Residential Projects for students pursuing the Gold Award. Students completed their residential project by rendering their voluntary services to Vistaar, Mother’s Own at Village Paigambarpur, Dist. Bijnore, Uttar Pradesh. Situated at a distance of 200 km from Dehradun, Paigambarpur is a small village of 30 families. This program focused on giving the students a first-hand experience in understanding The Panchayat System Village Life and Agriculture. They stayed in the village over five days and interacted with the village students and shared their lives with them so that the divide between urban-rural was reduced and both learnt to be more empathetic towards each other and realized that they shared common dreams and aspirations. The Welham Girls helped in the construction of a wall around the temple in the village. The students took English speaking classes for children and adults. They learnt about organic farming, vermi-composting, dairy farming, traditional cooking and chulha-making from the village adults and youths. 

In November twenty girls of Welham Girls School working at the IAYP Gold level completed their residential project by working at village Shuklapur under the guidance of an NGO - HESCO (Himalayan Environment Studies and Conservation Organisation) headed by Padmashri Dr. Anil Joshi.  Dr. Anil Joshi and Dr Kiran Negi of HESCO have been applying knowledge of the environmental sciences and simple technologies to bring consistent development to the rural areas of this sub-Himalayan region. For some years now, Welham Girls School has been regularly helping in projects directed by HESCO. The girls stayed at village Shuklapur and undertook a number of tasks such as building low-cost toilets, repairing compost pits and carrying out backyard farming. They also interacted with the village children, conducted surveys to find out more about the lives of the women and their priorities in the village. It provided them with the perfect platform to discover and understand their personal selves in an unfamiliar environment, giving them a sense of the work which needs to be done in rural areas and what can be done to alleviate living conditions.

Friday 30 November 2012

Forum 2012

L-R :Mr. Himmat Kalsia, HRH Prince Edward, Mr. Kapil Bhalla, Dr. Sanat Kaul, Ms. Sue Walker

Tuesday 27 November 2012

A new visual identity for The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award

ASOP Coordinator Handover

It’s been great to see all the positive exchanges occurring in light of the recent handover of the ASOP Coordinator role. I’d like to add some sentiments from the Australian Sports Commission.

Firstly I’d like to personally (and publically) thank Vivek for all his hard work and dedication to the ASOP India program, but, more importantly for the passion and enthusiasm he has brought to the role. Since 2010 Vivek has provided tireless advice and support for all ASOP partners. In talking to our partners on my recent visit to India, I heard first hand some consistent themes with regard to Vivek’s approach and style - dedicated, passionate, robust, strategic, supportive and challenging.

There is no doubt the ASOP program would not have taken the strong shape it has without Vivek’s drive and innovation. His work has contributed to India being a leader and an innovator in the Sport for Development field for which it is now recognised internationally. Most importantly, all ASOP partner organisations are now in a better position to work effectively and sustainably with children and young people using sport as a tool for development.
I understand Vivek will not be far away. I can’t imagine he could be for too long. If he is not reducing his golf handicap he will be supporting the SfD sector in some way in the coming years and we can all look forward to that. He has offered the ASC unconditional support throughout this handover process which reflects ongoing Vivek’s dedication and values. Vivek – we wish you all the best. Thank you for the legacy you have left. This brings me to Rekha Dey..........

It is with great anticipation (and thanks to Magic Bus for giving her up!) the Australian Sports Commission looks forward to working with Rekha in the capacity of ASOP Coordinator and having her as part of our team. Rekha was identified as the standout candidate through the recent interview process held in India in October.  Her considerable experience in the SfD sector in India and as well as her networks, skills and approach will be instrumental in ensuring the successful implementation of the ASOP in India. We believe that Rekha will provide significant support in positioning ASOP partner organisations to make sustainable contributions to the SfD sector. Fortunately for us, Rekha is already known to us and many of you. In addition to her strong skill set, this provides the opportunity for a smooth transition and continuation of Vivek’s great work.

Once again Rekha, on behalf of the Australian Sports Commission - congratulations on securing the ASOP India Coordinator role and we look forward to continuing a constructive and fulfilling working relationship with you over the coming period.

Thanks again to everyone for your kind and supportive exchanges of this transition. Please forward this to relevant staff as required.

David Peedom
Sport for Development Consultant
International Sport for Development
Australian Sports Commission
Tel: + 61 2 6214 3891
Fax: + 61 2 6214 1451
PO BOX 176 Belconnen ACT 2616 Australia

Dr. Sanat Kaul at Royal Gala Dineer at Forum 2012, Malta

Wednesday 14 November 2012


Hopetown’s first IAYP Week was a huge success. The IAYP participants showcased their skills in Art, Dance, Drama.They created awareness for women rights, Wildlife Conservation, Environment safety measures and a fire drill. 

The IAYP week was one of the most awaited time of the month. The students had put in hours of practice in polishing and refining the activities they were involved in.

The following were the components of the IYAP week: 

FIRE DRILL: Bijita Banik and her team did a splendid job in planning out the Fire Drill and ther various escape routes on the campus in case there was a fire. The students were given instructions regarding the evacuation of whichever building that catches fire at school. Safety measures were discussed in the morning assembly and the drill practice was carried out successfully in the evening.

INTER HOUSE POSTER MAKING COMPETITION: This was another very interesting completion in which the girls were seen battling to make the best ‘ELEPHANT CONSERVATION POSTER’ in order to bag the first position and continue the chase for Cock House Trophy. Ruby House came first .

THEATRE: The Theatrical performance given by the Batch of 2013-Avesta’13 brought tears to the eyes of many. The theme of the play was ‘WOMAN POWER’. The performance depicted the challenges that a women faces at some point or the other in her life. The exemplary performance of the cast received appreciation at their first shot to success. The play was directed by the IAYP In charge Arzoo Ali .

FLASHMOB: The job done by flash mob at school for the ‘GO GREEN’ Cause led by Aseese K. Grewal was commendable.

Bijita Banik, Aseese Grewal and Arzoo Ali were all awarded IAYP T- shirts for their in-creditable perfoemance in their respective fields. 

Gold Residential Project organized by Assam Valley School

‘Conserve Village Khonoma’  is a Residential Project being organised by Assam Valley School and Pabhoi Farm from 23rd to 29th December 2012. The Residential Project is now open for participants across the country. The trip will include activities like organic farming, gardening, conservation, visit to the sanctuary and farming practices. 

Interested individuals may get in touch with Ankit Durga ( or Ranjana Rai ( for more details and the itinerary.

Free eye check-up camp at The Moran Blind School, Moran

Gold award participants Tanushree Deorah and Archit Harlalkar of Assam Valley School helped organized the same.

It was a warm sunny afternoon on the 13th of January, 2012 when we visited The Moran Blind School where we, the students of The Assam Valley School – Archit Harlalka and myself,  helped organize a free eye check-up camp for the students under the guidance and supervision of the Chairman of the Lion K. K. Saharia Eye Hospital. 25 resident students benefited from this camp.

This camp had been conducted by Dr. Arundhati Tamuli, the chief medical officer at the Lion K. K. Saharia Eye Hospital. She was accompanied by two of the hospital staff who had volunteered for the camp as well. Necessary medicines were distributed amongst the children.

We got the privilege of interacting with the pupils there and they were very warm and welcoming. It would not be an over-statement if I said that we felt at home within just a few minutes of stepping into the school. Amidst a casual conversation with the children there, some of them even sang for us and it was amazing to see them all so happy and bubbly. It was an indescribable feeling when we could finally bring a cheerful smile on those innocent little faces. 

Tucked away in the green exuberance of the North –East, the Moran Blind School owned by Mr. Victor Banerjee and run by Principal, Mr. Buragohain, has a spectrum of dedicated staff who look after the all-round development of the children. The teachers, all well-versed in Braille, not only look after the children academically but also provide them with co-curricular activities so that they can be independent when they have to face the world. One such success story of the Moran Blind School has been immortalised in the documentary made by some children of our School in the early wake of November 2011 under the tutelage of Devraj Baruah and Kapish Karnani – “The Unseen Song” (provide link) . It tells the story of a boy who graduated from this school and is now not only doing academically well but is also practising tabla and thus living a content life. Though life was quite difficult for him, yet he remained undeterred and rose from the ashes and has established himself in the realm of life. This documentary truly sparked the fire in our bellies to lend a helping hand in every little way we could to help the children of the Moran Blind School.

This camp was a learning experience for both of us in many ways. It taught us the virtue of service and helped us to see beyond our own needs and requirements. It made us realise how we can always be happy and content with what we have, if only we stopped and thought about what we really have and how lucky we are to have all of it!  But, above all, the children of the Moran Blind School have taught us humility and how even the mundane things in life can be worth living for if only we have the courage and the will to persevere as life eventually unfolds new challenges at every turn. That day, we walked out of the school not only satisfied at having been a part of something that helped somebody else but also grateful that we had the chance to learn from them as they showed us how to see what lies beyond and that which is most important – humility and humanity.

At this juncture, where we stand as the “graduating” students, we often look back on those precious moments spent there and we cannot wait to get back to the students of the Moran Blind School and be in their warm company once again; to once again have that privilege to be a part of the experience that these brave students have as they take on one challenge at a time and make life a joyful experience as it is meant to be.

Click here for more pictures

- Submitted by Tanushree Deorah

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Report on T4T at Dhaka

by Chai Eng Dutta, Award Leader, Calcutta International School, Kolkata

Held from 5-7 October 2012 at Dhaka, the T4T was moderated by Rob Oliphant, Regional Programme Manager, Asia Pacific Office and was held at Heritage Restaurant, Dhaka. I was honoured to be the only foreign participant at the workshop.

The workshop primarily focused on promoting IAYP which is still called the Duke of Edinburgh's award (DEA) in Bangladesh and focused on a two-point agenda. Firstly, presenting The Award to different groups and secondly forming links with other organisations which follow a format very similar to the IAYP like BNNC, Scouts and Guides, Red Cross (called Red Crescent in Bangladesh), Universities Corporate organisations like banks and other multinationals.

In order to do any of the above effectively, we were instructed about our role and responsibilities as future Trainers and were taught the essentials of giving a good presentation through NAOME and TRAM CARS. We also learnt about different learning styles and what makes the current generation tick before we were put into groups and asked to present the different sections of the Award to different segments of society. The feedback which we got from Rob was very useful as was the feedback from other participants. All in all, this workshop was a fantastic training ground for me and it was wonderful to get an insight into how the award runs in another country.


Sign up for any of the following dates:

11-14 Oct 2012                Silver and Bronze Award
26-29 Dec 2012               Gold, Silver and Bronze Award
03-06 Jan 2013                Gold, Silver and Bronze Award
10-13 Jan 2013                Gold, Silver and Bronze Award

Contact Mr Gopal Krishan  (+91-9999423049 )

IAYP Gold Award Participant's Adventure Camp

- The Cathedral & John Cannon School - 

30 Gold Award participants of the Cathedral & John Cannon School started their Adventurous Journey to Karjat for a five day camp. The participants did various activities at camp including the Peth Fort Trek and trekking to Rajmachi Fort.Before the start of this Adventures Journey, there was a preliminary fitness checkup for all the participants and only those were selected who were found fit. 

The journey started on 24th October at 7.00 am through bus and the participants reached the Pine Wood Resort at Karjat at around 9.00 am.  After breakfast, the instructors briefed the students on camp schedule, code of conduct etc.  Refresher Session on rope knots and use of on Mountaineering Equipment was also done.  Students practiced the Net Climbing and Jummaring in the post lunch session.  In the evening students were asked to write their diaries and the session followed by team building games.  All participants stayed overnight at Karjat.

On 25th October, after breakfast the participants started for their trek to Peth Fort. They reached Peth village in the afternoon and visited the fort and had lunch at Peth Village and spent time to understand the village lifestyle.  Participants returned to the base camp in the evening and participated in the team building games before the dinner.

Third days started with sessions on rappelling, rock Climbing, commando rappelling, tent pitching, commando Obstacle Course etc., which were followed by the team building games in the evening. 

Next day the participants proceeded early morning for trek to Rajmachi Fort. They reached village Kondana at 08.30 hrs and left their main bags there.  28 particiapnts started their trek to Rajmachi and reached village Rajmachi by 12.30 hrs.   After lunch and some rest students were taken to explore the Rajmachi Fort and its pair of Citadels i.e. Manoranjan and Shrivardhan. Student enjoyed the village dinner and stayed overnight at Rajmachi village.

Last day the participants started their trek back to Kondana Village by 08:00 a.m.  Enroute the students also visited  Kondana Caves and reached to Kondana village in afternoon. After the lunch the participants departed for Mumbai and reached school by 16.45 hrs, thus completing the IAYP Adventurous Journey Camp.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

The 1st RIGHT STEP : Award leaders shared their experience

St. Anthony’s Hr. Sec. School, Shillong (Meghalaya)

The Assam Valley School, Tezpur hosted the IAYP's Second National Training Workshop in January 2012 and St. Anthony’s Hr. Sec. School, Shillong lead the initiative to participate in this workshop from the North East. The workshop was very enriching, informative and promising for the Youth of Meghalaya. The award program is an instrument that would help the young people to bring out the best in them by involving them in the sections of the award like service, skill, adventure, and physical recreation which will help them to be productive and responsible citizens.

Analyzing all the positive attributes, we were very eager to start up the award program in St. Anthony’s Hr. Sec. School, Shillong. The school Administrator Fr. Rajendran K. encouraged us to take the plunge as new award leaders. Since January, 2012 we have been working on building the team, talking to the students and other at S. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School. Being new award leaders, we were ourselves on an adventurous journey to find ourselves. So to begin with, we organized a presentation and orientation programme for the boys in April. We gathered a group of 30 and using the audio / visual aids we briefed them about the award and its objectives. We could see the interest, eagerness and the enthusiasm on the faces of the students. The video ‘Why not you?’ had quite an impact as it shows true work of the award participants.

In the interactive session the boys were eager to know many things apart from the usual Q/A. It was interesting to hear questions such as - how to go about it, whether they have to study and sit for examination, is there any regular Routine like school routines, about the registration fee, the activities involved, adventure etc.

We decided to begin slowly and with a small number to settle down as award leaders and hope the experience will bring the best for the youth in Meghalaya. At the end we were happy and satisfied award leaders, having conducted fruitful sessions with the students. And we could feel that through this program, we will have a positive impact in the lives of adolescence. With that we can bring out some positive change in the young people and in the society. 

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Why Not You !

Airtel Half Marathon - 30 September 2012

On 30th September 2012, 30 Goal Champions and Goal stars participated in Airtel Delhi Half Marathon. It was organised from Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, at 8:45 A.M. in the morning of last sunday of the month.

The girls all decked up in Blue or red Goal kits were marching ahead in the troupe. The group represented Naz and Goal By demonstrating self defence techniques on stage. On the run up to the starting line, girls shouted slogans like- "Hamme Naz Hai, Hum Goal Hain", "Hala Bol Hala Bol, Goal Goal Goal", "HIV ko bhagana Hai, India ko Bachana Hain."

They all took part in 6 kms Dream run, where they ran, danced and sang all through out. Overall the girls had a great exposure to a large scale event with celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Shiela Dixit, Rahul Bose waved at them.   

YES Training Workshop : 12 - 13 October 2012 at ATC New Delhi

YES training workshop was conducted at the ATC for 10 Award leaders from Sybiosis International School  – Pune, Seth Anandram Jaipuria School – Ghaziabad, Modern Public School – Delhi, Vivek High School – Chandigarh, Indirapuram International School – Ghaziabad, VidyaSanskar International School- Faridabad.
The workshop was conducted by the members of the National Training Panel, Vivek Gaur & Bivujit Mukhoty. The Award leaders were imparted training on the core sections of the Award and importance of mentoring and supporting the Award participants in their Award journey. The requirements specific to Bronze, Silver & Gold levels of the Award, the significance of the Residential Project at the Gold level; were some of the highlights of the workshop.

Testimonials : Vicky Roy

Vicky Roy hails from Purulia in West Bengal. He ran away from home in 1999 at the age of 11 years, and hitched a train ride to Delhi. He joined a pack of children living off the streets, and earned a meal by collecting discarded plastic bottles. After six months of almost daily abuse, he left the railway station, and went to work in a street food stall (Dhabha). Here he washed dishes, and was given food in return.

An open door
A former member from our partner organisation, the Salaam Balak Trust, found him and opened a door to a better life. The Trust encouraged him to take up the Award Programme. He did so, and studied photograpy for his Skills section. His talent for taking photographs was soon noticed and he was sent to the Triveni Kala Sangam for training. He studied under British photographer Dixie Benjamin, and is currently an apprentice with Delhi based photographer Anay Mann. Vicky has had a solo exhibition of his work at the Experimental Art Gallery of the India Habitat Centre, Delhi, and has also exhibited in the UK.

Vicky grabbed the opportunities offered by Award in India. In a recent interview with the BBC ‘s Alice Beer, he spoke of the support and warm encouragement he got in taking photography as a Skill, and how Award expeditions opened his eyes to a world beyond the mean streets. Vicky partnered a blind participant from Blind Boy’s Academy in Narendrapur, Kolkata during Residential Projects. He had to explain nature to his partner as they walked, and was amazed at this new way of looking at things. He watched these visually handicapped young people stride ahead in confidence, and realized they were role models to village families who hid their sightless children in the dark corners of their homes.

Many opportunities
Vicky says, “Without the challenge of the Award, I would still be washing dishes. Today, my eyes are open to the endless possibilities that life offers. The Award has given me the confidence to grab my opportunities.” Vicky Roy, Gold Award holder & international photographer.

Further information:
Search for Vicky Roy Photography

The Summer Ecstasy

Aditya Sharma, Gold Award Participant, Scindia School, Gwalior shared his experiences.

What could possibly have been the best part of anyone’s summer: a family vacation, loads of gifts out of you good score’s, you latest acquisition of something different and so on and so forth. But what could possibly have been my worst nightmare – sweating out in the sun working for 15 days – turned out to be some of the best memories of this video reel of my life.  Welcome to Spiti 2012!

Set in the lower Himalayas, Spiti is unlike normal places in the valleys. It is a different world all together concealed in the Kaza Valley of Himachal Pradesh. Its flora and fauna and the serene atmosphere leaves everyone spell bound. But what a group of 25 youngsters from Delhi were expecting this place to be, is a different story in itself.

We began this trip on the 9th of June, ascending towards higher altitude (Shimla) on a Himachal Pradesh tourism bus. Reaching Shimla was just 20 per cent of the journey we had set ourselves on. From here, we began a super exciting , fun filled road trip to Spiti. A road trip that took us 3 days to reach Spiti! Interestingly, I had never heard or even imagined a place to be taking this much time to reach. I remember googling the distance between Shimla and Spiti and had expected a 3 digit, but how and when this 3 digits of a distance turned into 3 days of back aching yet thrilling and amazing journey was quite a new surprise to we the denizens of ‘the land of skyscrapers’.

What had brought us to Spiti was basically the 2nd Gold Solar Project, a residential and adventure project for the IAYP Gold Award. This year our project was to build a solar bath for the Kee Monastery which would serve the needs of nearly 300 monks. What excited me more was not the fact there were 300 monks but the fact that we were going live in a place that just looks like the palace in Kungfu Panda and plus it is about 1200 years old!  Yes, the Kee Monastery was our home for the next 15 days.

Work began the very next day of our arrival and we were divided into work groups to ease out purpose and the project deadline. The solar bath room was about 10 feet higher from the ground level. So groups were accordingly divided to construct the path to the room, mix sand to build sand blocks for the walls, dig up a tank to collect used water and a tractor group which went on an adventurous bumpy ride to collect sand for construction purpose. The next few days were of extensive work with loads of fun in the evenings. Having a variety in age group and nationalities, it was interesting to know about their culture and value systems over after dinner talks with a cup of coffee in hand. We also had the experience of using the kitchen to cook food for nearly 30 people. 25 Master chefs from all over the world were split into groups of two for this duty. The Scindians did have an edge over the others in matters related to the kitchen, and of course the labour work!

Soon after a week’s work we went off for a trek. Over the next three days we were on foot, walking across mountains from village to village. 25 of us were the typical nomads with a pair of clothes, a bottle, a lunch box and the nature to make full use of for other purposes. I fondly remember this incident, where a few of us who were left behind on the route, were just about to reach out last destination in the trek. Our tired faces light up with joy when it started snowing. The entire feeling of tiredness was just gone. With snowflakes in hand and the cattle around us looking for shelter, everything around us felt magical. It was a picturesque moment. Every village that we visited again had its own beauty. Some had big houses, small grounds and huge cattle, while some small houses, huge cattle and scenic beauty to die for. Every moment of the trek was to be remembered and cherished.

Being back at the Monastery, we completed the Solar bath with utter dignity and respect for labour. The feeling when monks and priests stood around us thrilled to see the new place in campus operate was of much high pleasure than anything in this world. We were felicitated with shawls and mementos.

But the best part of the trip still remains untold. It was when we were returning from Spiti. Nobody wanted to leave and surprisingly God had heard out prayers. We were on our way to Manali (this time taking a different route) when there occurred a landslide wherein there was a total roadblock to the only way in and way out of Manali. We camped up at a roadside dhaba and had an amazing time. It was a long talks and discussions with friends with Maggie and hot coffee.

Spiti has not just brought us close to nature and taught us the dignity of labour but has also shown us the other side of life and how people live in remote areas, with everything or nothing is limitation. It was the best part of my summer.

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Wednesday 10 October 2012


Does God play dice with the universe? According to Professor Stephen Hawking, a world renowned physicist; not only does He play dice with universe but is an inveterate gambler. Taking this statement to its logical conclusion and applying it to our everyday world it is then possible to explain the anomalies which we see all around us. 

All living beings are an integral part of this universe, formed from the remnants of dying stars. A throw of the die would seem to explain whether you are born a pauper or with a silver spoon in your mouth; whether you are born completely healthy or with a life threatening genetic defect. The latter applies to my good friend Gaurav who was tragically born with a progressive genetic disorder also known as “Friedreich’s ataxia”. This disorder suddenly and without warning surfaced when he was just 30 years old. 

I first met Gaurav through the IAYP program at a noble institution for the physically and mentally challenged. It was heart wrenching to see a young and spirited soul trapped in a progressively degenerating body – a genetic defect that was slowly yet inevitably curving his spine and wasting away his body. I was told that this disorder did not have a cure yet. 
We struck up a close bond and his demeanor towards me was that of an elder brother. On my weekly visits to see Gaurav I would perform physiotherapy on him under a doctor’s supervision. Even though Gaurav knows the full extent of his condition and the inevitable conclusion, yet he remains cheerful and hopeful despite the daunting odds. Such was his indomitable spirit that I instantly became a fan of him. 
Gaurav is a movie buff and is  interested in  anything to do with Bollywood. On my weekly visits we would share our life experiences with each other. He would even give me tips on some of  my science subjects since he holds a Bachelor of Science degree. At times I download movies and songs for him which he plays on his mobile phone. 
I pray to God that by some miracle he would become better. But I also have another perspective on this matter. People like Gaurav have been randomly chosen in the process sparing us. They are the shining beacons of every nation. Let us count our blessings and spare them a thought – perhaps even whisper a little prayer for them. As playback singer Phil Collins succinctly put it, “Oh! think twice, its just another day for you and me in paradise...”
Jai Sahni
Modern School, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi

Ankit Durga representing 11th International Award Forum, Malta as Youth Delegate

Ankit is a Gold Award Holder and has volunteered with the National Award Authority for over a year.  He has been a student of The Doon School Dehradun and Delhi University. As a volunteer, Ankit worked in the communications team and helped design various branding manuals and training packs that were used subsequently. He also represented IAYP, India at the Asia Pacific Youth Water Forum, 2010 in Singapore. Having graduated from college, he now works as a brand consultant with a leading lifestyle media firm in Delhi. He will be participating as the Youth Delegate at the 11th International Award Forum to be held at Malta in November. 

70 School Students bag Global Awards for Service to Humanity

Seventy students from Olcott Memorial School in the city received international award for young people (Duke of Edinburgh's award) for their service to humanity.These students received silver medals from Paul Sellers, director (South India), British Council.

They worked on four different areas, skills, service, physical recreation & adventurous journey each given equal weightage and opportunity for the holistic wellbeing of the participant.

Mr Sellers said the team which received the award seemed to be highly motivated and the award would drive them to achieve push their motivation to ace the next level.

S. Malathi, a class 12 student, who received the silver award said she got involved in beach cleaning and turtle walk, besides creating awareness to pave way for ambulance on roads. “These activities fetched me the award and I aspire to better to get the gold award soon,“ she said.

RSIS Ladakh- Residential Project By Prachi Kotia, Gold Awardee, The Daly College, Indore

The long awaited day had finally come to an end with my departure from school on 7th July 2012 to RSIS Ladakh. I met all the other participants from all the corners of the world in Delhi and also our leader Mr. Matt Hall.

We reached Leh in 9th July and stayed in the hotel Ladakh Residency for 3 days. During our stay we visited Shanti Stupa, a magnificent white stupa with Buddha’s images on it, the next day we took a 2 hrs drive to Alchi Monastery which is 11000 years old and the last was the shopping day. On 12th we left our luxurious hotel and headed towards Thiksay, a small town in Leh. As soon as we reached Thiksay we visited The Lamdon School, Thiksay. Place where we were going to work.  We were welcomed warmly by the school staff. After the school we took the path which took us to our campsite.  We had a beautiful campsite which was next to the river. It included 7 tents, 1 common area and a dining area. The most challenging task was to use toilets and bathroom but later on we became used to it. For bathing we had to go the river which was beautiful experience. Every day we used to have 3 work session of 2 hrs each. After the 3rd work session it used to be our bathing time and then at 7:00 pm it used to be our dinner time. We were divided in 4 groups. Each group used to have a domestic day where instead of going to work site they used to clean the campsite including toilets, then they used to go to the school where they used to teach students and do creative activities.  Every day we used to play some games organized by the domestic group.

At the worksite we used to make piles of bricks, put mud, we also made a huge wall by putting huge granite rocks; we used to go to the brick factory where we used to load the bricks in the tractor. Besides this we also got the opportunity to see the great Dalai Lama. We also visited Pangong Lake, which is a beautiful lake. On our way to Pangong we visited world’s 3rd highest restaurant and also had a bowl of Maggie. We visited Monasteries, Praying Flags and even Indus River. Soon our building started taking up shapes, and we realized it was time to say goodbye to kids and to Thiksay.        
On 26th we took a drive to Shang from where we started our trek to Shanh Po, we crossed rivers and reached our campsite situated at the height of 4350m above sea level. We had our cook team with us which used to cook best food! Next day we continued our trek to shangla. It was the toughest day, we walked for 8hrs and reached mathu phu situated at the height of 4500m.

Day 3 we continued walking westwards towards mathola, we reached our campsite which was next to the river and got the opportunity to bathe in it, it was quite an experience as the water was of melted glacier! We left for mankarmo to rumbach which is at the height of 4000m. On that we had to walk for 8hrs we soon reached our campsite and spent our last night by sleeping under the stars. Next day we walked down the hill and soon we saw our transport waiting for us. It was mixed feelings as we were happy that we successfully completed our trek and also sad that soon we were going  to leave.        
We reached our hotel and spent the rest of the bathing and writing about our secret buddies. The next day our very last day we did shopping and in the night we had an award ceremony where we were given badges and titles. We thanked our guide Chitha and our cook team for their all time support and delicious food.

One of the most important things which I have gained is friends. After spending almost half a month, now we are completely attached to each other, there is a special bond that we share.  We share those memories, which we are going to cherish our whole life.

There has been a change in me as now I am more confident, full of courage and more independent person with lot of dreams and wishes to fulfill.

I would like to thank our Principal Ku. Sumer Singh, Vice Principal Mr. Rajan Potty and Ms. Sarita Badhwar for believing in me and giving me this opportunity, and letting me see the other side of the world.

Prachi Kotia


By Avi Bhargava, Bronze Awardee,
Ansal Institute of Technology, Gurgaon

“There is no satisfaction that can compare with looking back across the years and finding you’ve grown in self-control, judgment, generosity, and unselfishness.”
– Ella Wheeler Wilcox

This is something what I also felt after completing the International Award for Young People, better known as IAYP. It was a moment of pride for me when I received the award from the university’s Honourable vice chancellor, Dr. Raj Singh.

Journey of this award has been exciting and at the same time a great learning experience as well. It started off as a dream, had never thought that I’ll be able to complete it successfully.

 Looking back through the journey, I remember the day when I filled the form for the same. I had never thought of doing this award. I had loads of things going in my mind when I was asked to be a part of the award journey. I was inspired by the presentation of this award delivered to us in our college by National Director, IAYP. It came to me as a surprise when Pratibha ma’am gave me the form with my name already filled in it, implying she put all her belief in me that I would be able to complete the award journey. This sweet gesture of belief acted as a spark and lit the way through this award.

I still cherish the first service I rendered as a volunteer on 28 of December 2011, at the ASOP workshop. It was a briefing and training workshop for the award participants. As a volunteer, my job was to make them acquainted with their award journey, about which we all were puzzled. So through this workshop many of our queries regarding the award were clarified. We played many team building games and took part in various activities. By the end of the day the faith in completion of the award became more concrete. The next day I got to know that I was appointed as the award head for our center and then I could see a leader in me. It took me immense pleasure to share what I learnt in the workshop with my batch mates and also to guide them how they could complete their award.

It took me pride to convince others that they can also be a part of this award. The IAYP team at AIT took loads of efforts to make others realise that they had the potential of achieving something and I was happy being one of the team mates.

As it’s rightly said that the service begins at home. Similarly mine began with my college library. Earlier, in the library we kept on searching for books and sometimes it became a tedious job locating them. Now, after managing the library we are equipped enough to help others in locating the books.

Another experience which I would like to share is the waste paper management wherein I along with fellow award participants helped the teachers to get rid of the waste papers and to manage their written materials. It was so much fun, managing these things. It involved a lot may jobs like taking paper piles from one room to other, handing over the waste pages to the recycler, depositing the one side printed papers in the library and a lot more. The work was also rewarded with the blessings of our teachers and sweet smiles on their faces. Later, our mobile phones beeped with the thank you notes. Similarly it was a great learning experience at the Rapid Walk 2012 and at the National Conference held in the college.

All this that has been mentioned above, I did as a part of the service section. Moving on to the skill section I chose cooking. This took me to the world of flavours and mouth watering smell of various dishes. I learnt how to prepare a variety of cuisines and even perfected a couple of them. It feels great when I make people taste the food that I cooked and then when they praise me, I feel even more elated.

Another section is the physical recreation wherein I chose to dance. It was a great experience too. I learnt many new moves and also choreographed many songs.

The section closest to my heart is the adventure trip to Rishikesh. Before I went for the trip I just knew a few people in college and only a few were there who knew me. But, after the trip every corner of the college had some or the other familiar face to exchange smile with. This is what I will cherish the most as a part of the award. On the trip we faced many challenges from choosing tents to all sorts of activities like rafting, rock climbing rappelling, trekking and many more. But each of these made us bold and strong enough to face the real challenges in life. At the start of the trip, I promised one thing to myself that I won’t say no to anything over a period of those two days and I was successful in a way that I was among the first few to try each of the activity. Another incident worth mentioning is, when I slipped in the water trek. Though, I was very upset that I could not enjoy, but when I saw all the people around, who were strangers a couple of days back, worried about me and taking helping me to recover well, consequently it took me no time to cheer for and smile with them. Whenever I think of this trip, I am refreshed with the beautiful memories along with a crystal clear view of Rishikesh so much so that I feel that I am there again. The scenic beauty of the place was panoramic –the vibrant flora and lush green hills are worthy of praises. It felt as if I was in the world of my dreams. The sound of the Ganges water so clear still rings my ears sometimes. Seriously it was an amazing, learning and fun filled experience.

With this award I have learnt a lot and have emerged as a good leader, a cook and even a dancer and it wouldn’t be wrong even if I would say I have discovered myself.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”
– Aldous Huxley

Testimonial : Kanika Issar

About me
My name is Kanika Issar and I am 19 years old. I received my Gold Award in May 2010 in New Delhi, India, from the Vice-President at the time- Mr. Hamid Ansari. Today, I am in Riga and I am volunteering to work with the Award program in Latvia. How I ended up coming here is an interesting story.

Meeting new friends
In 2009, I went to Russia (Petrozavodsk) for my Gold Residential Project. There I made friends with Austra and Varis Salmins who had come to the Award camp from Latvia. In 2010, they sent me an invitation to come to the Latvian Award camp, Eldorado. I was very excited for having been given this opportunity and I immediately began to fill out all the paper work for a visa. Unfortunately, the embassy gave me my visa two days after the camp had started and it did not make sense to come so far for half the camp. I was very disappointed and I did not plan on coming to Latvia anytime soon.

Friends for life
In 2011, I went to the USA to continue my studies at university, and I have now completed my first year. While trying to decide what I wanted to do for my summer holidays, I emailed Austra and decided to come to Latvia and work with the Award program in the Eldorado 2012 camp. Austra, Varis and their family very kindly offered to host me for my entire stay of two and a half months!  Meeting them at Riga airport, three years after the camp, it was a beautiful feeling to know that I made friends who I will treasure for a lifetime through an Award camp. I have been in Latvia for a month now and I volunteer at an organization called Apeirons. There I learn about people with disabilities and make several different projects and videos to increase awareness about the organization.

Giving back to the Award
When I was given a form to join the Award in class 8, I am happy I didn’t make a paper plane from it but instead filled it out and submitted it, because the Award program has taught me so many things, given me so many experiences and has shaped who I am today. It’s exciting to discover similarities through the Award with people all over the world. Since I have gained so much from the Award, I decided to spend my summers volunteering with the Award and give back. I am looking forward to Eldorado 2012 – I have the opportunity to learn about Latvian traditions and, most importantly, about Latvian youth today. I plan to share my culture and experiences, and help to make it another successful Award camp.