Wednesday 29 April 2015

Award Leader Training (YES) Workshop at Award Training Centre, New Delhi

The National Award Authority organized an Award Leader Training Workshop at the Award Training Centre, New Delhi on April 23-24, 2015. The participants included delegates from The Shiv Nadar School, Gurgaon; The Lawrance School, Lovedale; Smart Modern School, Tirupur; Litera Valley School, Patna; Delhi Public School, Gurgaon; Sunrise University, Alwar; and Billabong High International School, Kanpur. Kapil Bhalla (National Director) started the workshop with an ice-breaking session and then introduced the Award to the participants. Over a span of two days the participants were given in-depth knowledge regarding the four domains of the programme i.e. Skills, Service, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey and also the Residential Project for the Gold Award Programme. The participants were also introduced to the technical aspect of the programme, which included Risk Management and Branding. The workshop was delivered by the NAA team supported by Madhubala Sharma, Tejwant Singh Grewal and Pallavi Gill (Members, National Training Panel). The trainers shared their own experience as trainers and Award Leaders and had an engaging discussion with the participants.  Click for pictures

Our Bronze Level Award Journey

Rakhi Jain and Jyoti Sagwekar (Award Leaders) from Bombay Cambridge School, Andheri West, Mumbai narrated the experience of teachers and participants at the Bronze Level of their Award Journey.

Deeksha Pal, who lead the students for the Service section, said that this was a heartwarming experience. Says Deeksha, "Every time the students accomplished something, I felt proud. While I was teaching them, I learned a lot about myself. My students were really happy and kept praising us, saying that I was a wonderful teacher. Students who used to hate Maths soon started enjoying it; those who didn't enjoy English learned to admire it. This was such a positive experience that I believe that everyone should try teaching at least once in their lifetime."

Mubasshira Shaik says, "The Cleaning drive experience didn't only leave our school and surroundings clean but also left us proud of ourselves. We cleaned the streets armed with brooms and gloves, dug compost pits and spread awareness among local people by rallying across the streets of J.B Nagar and Chakala with posters prepared by us. Apart from this we also molded ourselves for a better and cleaner future. We also hope that our initiative will motivate and leave an impact on society."

Disha Shetty said that the music sessions conducted for the Skills section served as music therapy. It made participants realize the essence of music in their life.

Parth Dand explained how the sessions that they were exposed to during Physical Recreation not only helped them to improve their skills in field events like shot putt and long jump, but also served as a stress buster.

Talking about the Adventurous Journey Shruti Mokashi said, "We, the students of BCSE, thoroughly enjoyed the three-day journey undertaken on foot. We were trained about various aspects of camping: tent pitching, route planning, navigating and map reading a week prior to our expedition. We were split into groups as soon as we reached there. We walked amidst grass, dams, mud and fields in the sun's scorching heat and sometimes rains. We did jungle cooking on the second day which turned out to be as much fun as learning. We mingled with our new group members and helped each other in various ways throughout those three days. We experienced the true sense of team spirit, responsibility and decision making during the journey."  Click  for more pictures

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Challenge India -- International Special Project

Empowering Young People through sports and Experiential Learning using the Award Programme

Challenge India, The International Special Project kick-started during May 2014 by the Audacious Dreams Foundation, a YES Centre led by Dinesh Gajendran (Gold Award holder, Member-National Training Panel and former Asia Pacific Regional intern). Challenge India programme aims to "Empower Young People with Sports and Experiential Learning" using the Aaward Programme with support and mentorship from the National Award Authority, IAYP India and The International Award Association. The International special project was a remarkable success and there was great response from the young people towards the programme from the rural community.

The programme began with Empowering Young Leaders Potential - 2014 through which 20 volunteers were trained about the structure the philosophy of the Award. The team then visited several parts of the district, met a number of institutions, stake holders and brought extensive reach via personal visits to colleges, schools, and NGOs, with invites to eligible candidates for orientation and follow up calls to potential candidates.

The programme team used various promotional strategies including meeting sports clubs, youth organizations like Rotaract and NSS, and established a good communication with our existing networks. Organising workshops using different mediums set up the way towards expansion and reach. The programme team conducted many outreach events including The Princess Summit, partnered with Life Style International Seminar.

Social media again played a vital role in promoting the programme. The volunteers engaged with several pages and groups and posted about the Award and the response we received through social media was impressive: the team received 60 inquiries about the Award and 35 people registered thanks to extensive follow up by our team.

The interesting fact about Challenge India is that 70% of registrations are girl participants which means girls are getting empowered a way better.

The Challenge India project is also coming across several interesting stories as the participants are driving themselves and working with real inspiration to become better citizens of tomorrow.
One interesting Award story from the project was from Samson Prabhu, an engineering graduate who became a DJ. This Bronze  Award participant took music as his skill. Having starterd learning electronic music production he started producing his own mixtracks and podcasts. He has now established his own home studio for music production named Aspires Brotherhood.

The inspiring efforts from Business Students of Auxilium college, Vellore was remarkable as they joined as volunteers with the Challenge India Programme and spent their valuable time to spread their skills through the Service section of the Award Programme. Every weekend they spend time to organise Life Skills classes using sports and experiential learning methodology.

Bronze Award participants named Surender and Kannan from Jamal Mohammed College, Trichy participated in Indian Student Parliament, Pune and showed their efforts with the learning of Civic Citizenship.

The team Challenge India has travelled across 45 different venues, rural based institutions and conducted 60 Award Orientation programmes and an Award Leader workshop, while registering 300 young people with the Programme by December 2014.

The people are receptive and there was a positive response as the Gold Award holders Dinesh Gajendran and Priyason Pauldurai shared their Award experience and described how the Award changed their lives. Deveen Baskar, an engineering student working as intern with Challenge India office spending time with the participants to explain about the Award programme and maintaining the database. We believe the Challenge India, International Special project creates the next generation of leaders who take the Award flag high with glowing colours.

On the whole, Challenge India, The International Special Project which was new in Tamilnadu is now being seen and celebrated as a premier youth development programme in the districts of Vellore & Trichy. Looking forward to see more successful stories in 2015.

A journey towards self- transformation

Gold Award aspirants from St. Mary's School, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi took part into Residential Project in March 2015.  They called it A Journey towards self-transformation.  Read their experience about this project.

A path towards change may have obstacles and difficult situations but the path leads to the creation of life changing experiences. Eight Award aspirants and four mentors went for a Residential Project on 24th March, 2015. The aim was to familiarize our selves with the lives of the children, women and men of Azadpura, near Orcha, Bundelkhand and to raise awareness about education and health.  The area is largely neglected by the government in the areas of education and health.
Some words spoken by our mentors helped the bonding and communication with the twenty students of the Azadpura School and the community. Children with eager glittering eyes were hopeful that a beautiful future was round the corner.  Classrooms filled with small children with big dreams colored our thoughts of them. The first thing that came to our minds was connectivity and so we started with circle time and some music, which made the environment comfortable for all of us. The only obstacle we felt at that moment was the reticence on their part to participate freely. Through this particular obstacle or block in our first step we understood that there was something lacking on our side. We realized that we hadn't devoted enough time to get to know each other. That particular time to think and grasp other's problem and issues was missing. The space which defined the time to think was missing.  

The lack of understanding and bonding with the community propelled us to conduct a transit walk to discuss various issues with the community. The discussion raised issues of their present condition and the problems that they were facing as well as their limitations. 

On the second day we conducted a drawing session with the children to allow for some creativity. The children made some awesome drawings reflecting their individual feelings, likes and dislikes. Creativity was further enhanced when we played some music. Eventually every inch of the class was filled with happiness and creativity and the children were active stakeholders in creating this little change. Our aim to create bonds with the community was not limited to the students/children. We indulged in a cooking session with the women of the community. The group was divided into two and along with the community women we cooked a healthy and a love-filled meal.  To make every one more comfortable, we played some folk and Bolloywood tunes. Such is the power of music that the women soon started singing and dancing alongwith us. Over lunch the conversations covered a wide array of topics such as lifestyle and family structure to gossip and Bollywood. 

To impress the importance of formal education and to invite the community for the sports day that we had planned, the medium of street play (nukkad natak) was used. The theme of our play "shiksha humara huk hai" made it easier to redefine the word education. They received the message that we wanted them to join in the fun and expressed their willingness to participate. This was our third step in creating awareness for a more involved and participative future through school and education not only for children but also for older men and women. In the evening we introspected on the day's activities and how to work better in the coming days.

The sports day was a huge success. The day started with a Volleyball match that brought us closer and strengthened our bonds with the community. This was followed by a 50m race, 100m race, banana race and the obstacle race. There was a surge of excitement and enthusiasm from the participants and the audience. We also organized the special berry (ber) race for women. We replaced the lemon with the berries as we wanted to use the available resources which would bring them closer to us.  The main thing which could be spotted was that all resources used on the sports day and other activities were the resources of the community which was another way of empowering them. Handling the sports day was a huge activity, but we felt extremely rejuvenated and happy on seeing the brimming smiles on the faces of those who won and those who participated. While the winners were acknowledged with medals and certificates others were given a participation certificate for their exemplary efforts. 

The sports day was followed by the construction of a sand pit. From tilling the ground in hard sunlight, to finally leveling the land and painting the boundary, we were able to relate closely to the working conditions of men and women who work in the field. 

The task required hard work and vigor to strive and complete it. On completion of the sand pit we were filled with joy & the cherished sense of finally being able to give back profitably to the society. It also gave us a sense of satisfaction as we had succeeded in not only creating bonds with the community but initiating this faith in them, that they could be active catalysts in society. 

Developing bonds, conducting dialogues, understanding problems and providing incentives were our reflections from the residential trip. Even though the journey to achieve the trust of the community was a difficult process, we learnt how perseverance eventually brings victory.

When we are sensitive and considerate about the needs and emotions of people, we are able to accept them as our own and create a difference. The IAYP Residential Program taught us that success consists of creating bonds in the most adverse situations & moving from failure to success without loss of enthusiasm.  Click for pictures

Wednesday 8 April 2015

My Teach India Journey

Teach-India, an initiative of The Times Group aims at improving English spoken skills of the underprivileged to improve their employability.  Shreya Manoj Naik, Delhi Public School, Gurgaon sharing his experience on this fruitful journey. 

My Teach India experience as a part of my Award Journey has been one that was deeply fulfilling and highly satisfying. I have always been confident about my command over spoken English, but I never realized how hard it would be to teach the language! It started off with a 6 day training workshop where I got to interact with other participating students.  Together, we learnt how to teach English to someone who was not familiar with the language. Once school commenced, we started with teaching English to the support staff of our school. Initially, it was hard to relate and teach them as they were elder to us, but slowly they started to open up, and soon they became motherly figures who would look after us and at the same time learn from us! It gave me immense satisfaction to hear them speak English.  Gradually, they were able to speak short sentences.  They even tried their hand at learning computers and were able to use paint and MS Word. 

It has been an amazing experience for me and at the end of this fruitful journey I could see them yearning for more knowledge.

I wholeheartedly appreciate this initiative by The Times Group and would like to thank my school and the Award Programme for providing me with the opportunity to be a part of this noble cause! Click for few more pics 

My IAYP Experience

Sarthak Mehta, Bronze Award Holder from DLF Public School, Sahibabad is sharing his Award experience. 

It was just another day in my school when I heard about the 'International Award for Young People' from my health education teacher. IAYP came as an opportunity for me to excel in co-curricular fields besides academics. I gladly accepted the  challenge! I realize now that it helped me discover the latent talents that I had. I have always been a good student, rigorous studies excite me. But after participating in IAYP, not only was I studying, I was playing lawn tennis, I was helping in organizing our school library, exploring Robotics and going on adventures! I was almost a different person, exploring a number of different activities and enjoying them too! My teachers supported me fully and the result was that I completed all my tasks on time. The impacts of IAYP are many and varied in my life. First, I realized that life is multi faceted, so all  its aspects have to be experienced to be a well rounded person. Second, I regained my fitness and stamina that I had lost somewhere in the array of books. I especially felt overwhelmed when our school librarian thanked us for the help we offered to her throughout the school year. I also pursued Robotics which I believe will always be my interest and passion. I would like to recommend IAYP to each and every child because while doing all of this for fun we also get to interact with different people and earn an award for the same! It has been a fun filled journey with IAYP and it will help me with my journey forward in life too! I must say I enjoyed myself tremendously while on my Award journey!