Wednesday 26 August 2015

A lesson to remember....forever...(Karaumbiah Academy of Learning, Gonikappal, Karnataka)

The KALians of Grade X were buzzing with excitement on a bright Friday morning, eager to get away from the monotonous ritual of classroom study. They were all set to learn a bit of the ways of Nature through the IAYP camp as part of their Silver Award.

The sky was blue, the air fresh and the surroundings a lush green, as the young KALians reached their destination to start their two-day trek up the Brahmagiri Hill, one of the highest hills of Kodagu. Guided by Mr. Ramesh Belegare and Mr. Krishna Murthy, two experienced nature conservationists, the team set out into the untouched wilderness, among leeches and wild elephants.

The eight-kilometer trek winded up stony paths crisscrossed with small streams which were refreshingly cold. Misty clouds blanketed the hills, keeping it fresh. The forest guides also kept us informed about the various life forms and trees of this magnificent belt of wildlife. The journey provided valuable information to the observant crowd about the various species of butterflies that are the jewels of the ecosystem. After almost six hours of climbing, we reached the "Narimale Resthouse" which would serve as our base camp. The place, constructed in the remote area shows the confidence of the workers and their hard work, yet the partial destruction caused by the pachyderms is a grim reminder of how they still dominate the area. The participants gathered firewoods themselves and drew water from a nearby stream and divided the work- girls do the cooking, the boys collect firewood and draw water. After a tiring day, the young participants sat by a campfire and were given a presentation on the importance of nature. After a sumptuous meal, the leech bites and thorn pricks did not hamper the enthusiasm of the participants.

The next day, the participants were divided into teams and were assigned various duties mainly to observe and report what they saw. Armed with pens, notebooks and cameras, the trekkers soon set forward to conquer the hill. On the way, various elephant signs were reported and deciphered with some help from Mr. Belegare. It just showed the importance of elephant conservation. The participants understood it and were aware that Elephants=forest=water=life=Us.

The participants also spotted deers, dholes and some birds which are also a vital part of the ecosystem. The behaviour of a female elephant when with her calf and the minute signs and actions done by her to protect her calf was truly admired by all.

Finally the team were climbing on all fours, in their final phase of conquering the hill and the view was indeed worth the trouble. Up on the peak, the participants were delighted to be "on top of the world" which provided a panoramic view of Kodagu-Kerala border, dotted with numerous peaks and lush green forests dotted with tiny villages in the far distance. We were beginning to realize that though people can climb a hill, they can't conquer it; we can only be infused with humility in the face of Nature.

The participants returned and after what seemed like tons of food, they gathered in the opening of the resthouse and discussed what the had learnt. Humility, respect, love and concern were some of the lessons learnt. How true!

The day ended and the participants slept for the last time under the stars, amidst nature, not affected by human expansion on a warm night.

The third day, the participants cleared the place up, tidied it and bid adieu to the resthouse and set off on their journey back to civilisation. Wisdom and a firm resolution to protect Mother Earth sparkled in the morning light in the eyes of the participants...  Click for pictures

Award Leaders training workshop at The Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai

The NAA organised a two-day Award Leader training workshop at The Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai on 20th & 21st August 2015.  The workshop was attended by 15 participants from Lady Khatun Marium School, Panvel; P G Garodia School, Mumbai; Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai; B K Birla Centre for Education School, Pune; Symbiosis International School, Pune; Rustomjee Cambridge International School, Mumbai; The Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai and Jamnabai Narsee School, Mumbai. The training was led by Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager) and Pratibha Kumari Singh (Member National Training Panel). Click for pictures

Wednesday 19 August 2015

IAYP Activities report from Saffron City School, Distt. Fatehgarh Sahib

Social service and skill based activities facilitate in the development of various domains of mind and personality such as intellectual, social, moral and aesthetic development. These activities are the components of non-academic curriculum that help to develop various facets of the personality. For all round development, there is a need of emotional, physical, spiritual and moral development that is complemented & supplemented by social science and skill based activities. So being a part of IAYP we have done lot of activities under Service & Skill that help young people unlock their potential and build a brighter future. Here comes the list of activities:-

Service:-Leprosy centre: Award participants took the initiative to visit a leprosy centre in Sirhind as a part of their social responsibilities. Students went around the centre and met all the patients. They interacted with the leprosy patients, listened to their grievances and shared their pain. The students made an effort to make them smile and forget that they had been ostracized. They distributed food items and clothes to the patients and discovered feelings of compassion in themselves.

Visit to a slum area: The participants visited slum areas a number of times. They went around the whole area and took the initiative to start 'Safai Abhyan' by cleaning roads and streets and motivated people all around to keep their area clean and green. They also visited the slum school and distributed stationary items and books to the children. They taught them the values of good hygiene and good practices such as keeping their habitat clean and green. They planted saplings there and taught students that it is through our own actions that we make these saplings grow: taking care of them would make them healthy, while neglecting them would stunt their growth, just like a small child.

Learning Skills: Participants took part in various group activities. One of the activities was learning pottery. The students made pots of different shapes and decorated and painted them. Another activity was learning the art of making envelopes of different shapes and decorating them. They shared various ideas among themselves. In another activity they learnt how to wrap gifts and make them look attractive. The items made by the students were displayed at the school exhibition, and the money collected was used for charity. Click here for pictures

A Journey to Saputara

Yashasvini, Silver Award participant from The Cathedral & John Connon School, Mumbai is sharing her Adventurous Journey experience here
On Wednesday 22nd, after a seven and a half hour bus ride, 44 Award participants and four teachers reached Saputara -- and so began our adventures. The next morning we did some exercises and then went on a three hour trek through the dense jungle of Saputara to reach the watchtower on a hill at the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, from where the view was beautiful. We returned to the camp tired but happy and had a hearty lunch. The weather was perfect, a balance of cold, the right amount of sun and a slight drizzle. In the evening we performed the following activities in our respective groups -- ladder climbing, jummaring, crossing the Commando Bridge, and net climbing where we all definitely developed our biceps. Late evening was spent in learning about Warli art, and we were each given a chance to display our skills, which we carried home with us as a memento.
The following day we went on a longer trek down a stony river path and across fields where once again the weather seemed to be on our side. We trekked downhill from 08.00 hrs in the morning to 13.00 hrs in the afternoon and reached Jakhana via Malegaon. The trek through the forest, streams and meadows was amazingly beautiful. We rested on the bank of a river and had our lunch. As everyone was muddy and dead tired we returned to the camp by bus. The evening was spent in team building activity, followed by a session on mountaineering equipment and backpacking techniques given by the students getting their Gold Award.
On the second-last day we travelled to Sabri village in Daang where each one of us planted a Khair tree sapling. We had an interactive session with a tribal household. We were included in one of the tribes for 24 hours after getting a vermilion tikka and a white cap. We ate lunch in the house of one of the tribes, post which we did planting of rice on a big plot. Shin deep in the mud we were all busy planting rice and two hours just flew by. This was a unique experience one may not encounter again. Even the tribals appreciated the effort of our students. Post dinner, we went on a trek where we saw many fireflies, beautifully lighting up the night.
The next day, fatigued but unwilling to leave, we returned to Mumbai by bus, bringing an end to one of the most memorable IAYP camps. Click for pictures

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Award Leaders training workshop

The NAA organised a two-day Award Leader training workshop at the Award Training Centre, New Delhi, attended by 23 participants from Allenhouse Public School, Kanpur; Bawa Lalwani Public School, Kapurthala; City Montessori Inter College, Lucknow; Delhi Public School, Kanpur; Delhi Public School, Lucknow; Indirapuram Public School, Ghaziabad; Mallya Aditi International School, Bangalore; Neerja Modi School, Jaipur; Pine Hills Eco Camp, Barog; Shri Ram Centennial School, Dehra Dun; Snow Leopard Adventures, Delhi; Syna International School, Katni; The Sagar School, Alwar and Tula's International School, Dehra Dun. Kapil Bhalla (National Director) inaugurated the workshop with a brief history and introduction to the Award.  Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager), Priyank Kumar Gupta (Head IT & ORB), Vivek Gaur (Member National Training Panel) and Tejwant Sing Grewal (Member, National Training Panel) lead the workshop, which was conducted on 3rd and 4th August, 2015.  Click here for pictures 

The Journey of a Lifetime

Trivarg Arandhara, Bronze participant from Maria's Public School, Guwahati shares his experience of the Bronze level Adventurous Journey
As a teenager with an adventurous bent of mind, I am always in search of adventure of any kind, anywhere possible. Then came the amazing year of 2014, when I started my Award journey. It was both adventurous and exciting. But one thing which made me enjoy this year the most was the Adventurous Journey to Mandarmoni, West Bengal, with my fellow IAYP Bronze and Silver aspirants from Maria's Public School, Guwahati and our teacher mentors of IAYP.
Well, today I can say that I am fond of beach trekking, rock climbing, ziplining, commando bridge crossing, rope knotting, etc. And to be honest, I discovered this crazy love for wild adventures after coming back from my journey. Yes, as you may have already guessed, we had the opportunity to do these amazing activities in our Adventurous Journey to Mandarmoni itself!
This journey made us self-aware, responsible, and we also learned how to tackle difficult situations during a natural calamity or any kind of accident. This entire journey is imprinted in my being and has given me the impetus to face any challenge in life. We all know that human life is uncertain in many aspects. Like for example, living in an earthquake and flood prone area and having a lot of people around living below poverty line, any calamity might strike any time. Now after taking part in the Mondermoni journey, I can say that I have gathered the courage to face all these disasters with a brave heart. Given a chance, together with saving my own life I would be able to offer my helping hand towards saving others' lives too.
Hats off to the International Award for Young People (IAYP) who have initiated the Award programme and promoted self-development in school and college students to prepare them for any situation.
This was all possible because of our accompanying teachers who took care of us and guided us throughout our journey. I specially thank our Managing Trustee Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer because of whom we were blessed with this opportunity to learn so much.  Click for pictures

Wednesday 5 August 2015

The Award made me a better person

Yuvraj Geet Singh Chopra, Gold Award holder from Delhi Public School, Gurgaon received his Gold Award on 16th July 2015 at the Annual Gold Award Presentation Ceremony.  Yuvraj shares his experience during the Award Journey.
The Gold Award ceremony organized by IAYP, India was held on 16th July 2015 and I was one of the Gold Award recipients.  The entire journey for the completion of the Award was an amazing experience for me. I learnt a lot from it and hope to incorporate the values learnt from it in daily life as well.
There were five parts to the Award, each of which was to be performed and recorded in order to achieve the Award. Those categories included Skill, Physical Recreation, Adventure, Community Service and a Residential Project.
My Skill was vocal music. I practiced every day, performed in a lot of events and competitions for my school and otherwise, and my vocal skill has developed a lot since Day 1. I am now a very good singer and will be pursuing music after school as a hobby too. Under Recreation, I used to go to the gym periodically, due to which I have become a healthier and fitter person. My 'Adventure' included taking a wonderful trip to some islands, where I practiced Para-Sailing, Snorkelling, and other activities. The sheer thought of doing the rides was exhilarating! I also taught the students of the DPS Shiksha Kendra as part of Community Service and I cannot describe how happy I felt teaching the challenged young minds of our society. In fact, I liked it so much that even after the completion of the Award, I still continue to teach at the Shiksha Kendra.
I, along with my friends also visited a village called Ghamroj in Sohna as part of the Residential Project. We visited the homes and farms of the villagers living there, analyzed the current facilities of the village and then had a conversation with the village Sarpanch regarding improving the facilities of the village so that the people could achieve better lives and livelihood.
In conclusion, I have had a wonderful experience and I will cherish the moments I had throughout my life.

Global Alumni Network

The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation will be launching a Global Alumni Network shortly. We are interested in hearing from Award alumni who have completed the Award (at any level: Bronze, Silver or Gold) at any time since 1956. By expressing your interest in participating in the Global Alumni Network, you provide us valuable insight during our planning stages and, also, give us an initial point of contact as we embark on this worthy initiative.
Please email us at and let us know the following information:
  1. Your name
  2. Your highest Award level completed, and the year this Award was earned
  3. Some words on how you would like to be involved (i.e. attending local events or industry-specific events, mentoring, spreading the word to other alumni, etc.)
You are welcome to get in touch with us for any further information.

Award Leaders training workshop at Bangalore and Lovedale

The NAA organised two Award Leader training workshops at Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore and The Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty. The first workshop was conducted at Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore on 21st & 22nd July 2015.  Eighteen participants attended from five YES Centres - Sarala Birla Academy, Bangalore; Jain Heritage School, Bangalore; Karumbiah's Academy for Learning, Gonikoppal; Sanjay Ghodawat International School, Kolhapur and Edu Asia New Delhi Public School, Bangalore.  Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager) and K S Biradar (Member, National Training Panel) lead the workshop.

The Second workshop was conducted at The Lawrence School, Lovedale, Ooty on 24th & 25th July 2015. Twelve participants from The Lawrence School, Lovedale; Good Shepherd International School, Ooty and Riverside Public School, Kotagiri participated in the workshop. Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager) and Jacob P A Matthews (Member, National Training Panel) headed the workshop.  The training modules included the details about the four pillars of the Award i.e. Skills, Service, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey.  Apart from these there were sessions about the Residential Project, Risk Management, Volunteering and Brand guidelines.  Click here for pictures from Bangalore and Lovedale