Wednesday 26 October 2016

International Award and Me

Ilma Jabeen, a Silver Level participant from Ansal University, Gurgaon, sharing her Award experience.

I am a civil engineering student and proud to be a part of the IAYP programme. It has helped me achieve a wholesome growth; today after completing the programme, I realise the significance and the intent behind each of these sections: Service, Skills, Physical Recreation and Adventurous Journey. As I worked through each of these sections, they inculcated in me a habit of daily physical workout; sharpened my potent skill set; helped me overcome my fears during the course of adventure trip; and I learnt the art of time management as it required a balanced regimen to practice these activities on daily basis.

Being an engineering student, I was way distant from any of the soul strengthening practices as I spend most of my time learning the theories of construction business and design of high rise infrastructure. It goes without saying that IAYP provided me with a life changing experience.

In my Service section, which lasted for a duration of 6 months, I worked for a mandir (temple) on Huda market lane, sector 56, Gurgaon. The temple has a beautiful provision for the under-privileged kids, providing them with a school facility inside the mandir itself; the school had teachers who volunteer to teach them during their spare time. I took it up as my service during my IAYP tenure. The place was at a walking distance from my PG; I visited it as and when I got off from college, but made it a point to have a disciplined visit at least twice a week. Though I was not a regular mentor, however, I tried contributing whatever best I could to it. This engendered in me a feeling of social responsibility and ignited a confidence that my “small part” too can create a difference, provided I take it up with sheer conviction.

It was the Skills section that I took up for a year under the Silver Award of IAYP, simply because I had a serious goal to accomplish under this section. I had always been more of an extrovert person, active speaker, debater and one who loves to give speeches to masses with zilch stage phobia. As ‘the law of diminishing returns’, is applicable to most of the parts of life; my oratory skills had reached a stagnation point and I was unable to morph myself from a good speaker to an influential orator, who had the power to move her audience merely with her words. Under the Skills section, I got the time to put my rigour into review and identify my drawbacks. Lack of intonation was a major bump, my pitch was high (may be by birth) but a good orator must have immense control over the pitch as there is a difference between shouting and proving a point; not all topics are a point of argument, at times it is required to state a fact in a polite, low pitched tone. I worked on it and even today I make it a point to set my tone right before I speak. Words are magical; this was a lesson I learned in one of my soft skills classes. I practiced the art of choosing the correct words to communicate during this one year: I ended up learning that “maybe you should review your work”, is a much better way to put a person on the right track than to tell them, ”You are incompetent to do this or it’s not your cup of tea.” Though I had my roadblocks listed even before IAYP happened to me but it was only because of IAYP that I could dedicate time for improving these setbacks.

My Physical Recreation had nothing to do with joining a gym or hardcore weightlifting. I made it a point to walk regularly, covering a distance of around two km (one way); this way I was able to kick start my morning with a brisk fresh walk. Skipping and cycling were also contributing to my physical activity simultaneously. But I was not satisfied with this and started on counting small steps like using stairs instead of elevators, walking over riding, etc; as it is the small pebbles that give a substantial rise to the great ocean.

IAYP Adventurous Journey was a euphoric experience for me as it was unlike the regular college trips where we ganged up with our friends or the usual family outings where every destination is predefined. It took me to Manali, a 3 days+ 2 night’s journey, embarking from Ansal University’s campus on the night of 26th September 2014. The itinerary was packed with activities I had never thought of doing: camping in a forest, trekking, river crossing, fox climbing, etc. and I found myself thrilled with adrenal rushes. The best thing about the trip was its Practice Journey during which we went trekking to the Aravali Hills near Ansal University to spot all possible challenges one can face on the Qualifying Journey, such as camping; lighting the fire and cooking meals with the meager resources; keeping the body hydrated during long trekking hours; supporting and helping fellow mates if need be; surviving emergencies such as accidents, snake bites, etc. The trip was exceptionally riveting because it had different students from different streams and it was an ultimate platform for the exchange of ideas, bonding and individual performance, which was a real self- evaluation for each and every student on the trip.

When I look back today, I can say that IAYP has given me one of the most memorable experiences of life and I can say it with pride that this Award does shape youth with the right spirit and enthusiasm, shaping their personality and building their character. Click for pictures

Award Leader Training (YES) Workshop

The International Award for Young People, India organized an Award Leader training workshop at Award Training Centre, New Delhi on 20th - 21st October, 2016.

The two-day workshop was attended by 14 participants from different institutions across India, including Homerton Grammar School, Faridabad (Haryana); Saffron City School, Phagwara (Punjab); Lady Bamford Charitable Trust, Ballabhgarh (Haryana); Billabong High International School, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh); Vidyasagar School, Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Amity Global School, Noida (Uttar Pradesh).

The workshop began with an ice-breaking session where the participants introduced themselves and shared their expectations from the workshop. This was followed by an introduction to the Award, and sessions on its philosophy, framework, benefits of the Award and how a volunteer can play a crucial role in the Award programme. 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 Level. The training team also made them familiar with other important aspects related to the Programme, which included Risk Management, Online Record Book and Brand Pack.

The workshop was led by Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager) and Pratibha Kumari Singh (Member, National Training Panel). The workshop included interactive and fun sessions to engage with the Award Leaders. Click here for the pictures

Wednesday 19 October 2016

Award Orientation Programme at Indirapuram Public School

Kapil Bhalla, National Director and Bivujit Mukhoty, Programme Manager, delivered a Student Orientation Programme on 17th October 2016 at Indirapuram Public School, Ghaziabad. This orientation was attended by over 400 students along with the Award Leaders of the school. The orientation started with a brief introduction by Kapil Bhalla, while the Programme Manager gave details about the four sections of the Award, along with the framework and philosophy. There was a Question and Answer session in which the participants got their queries resolved. The programme was concluded with the presentation of an IAYP momento by the National Director to the Vice Principal. Click for the pictures

Monday 17 October 2016

Ankit articulating importance of skills & his experience

When I was in class 10th, I got to know about The Award Programme through my School. I didn’t really know the importance of it back then, which I realized it later on as I completed my programme. I have learned a lot of things including teamwork, learning attitude, leadership, planning and organizing from the Programme.  It’s an amazing opportunity to develop soft skills as well as social skills which are one of the topmost requirements in the job market today.

The skills which I have gained while pursuing the programme shaped me a lot as a person. Not only that, but the Award adds a weightage in your CV by highlighting that you are capable of working in out of your comfort zone. As someone, who is currently running a skill development organization based out of Delhi, I very well understand the importance of skills and how it plays a big role in the selection of right candidates for organizations in today’s time. 

I think simply working in teams and a goal orientation prepares you for the real world in a big way and a lot of what the Award does involves the two. I have travelled a lot because of and for the Award. From villages in Haryana, conferences in Malta to International Gold Event in Seoul, every experience and every person I’ve met helped me form opinions and learn more about different cultures.  A lot of our formal education curriculum is missing some key skills and qualities that young people need to develop. The Award is a fun and comprehensive tool to get all of these opportunities in one place.  - Ankit Durga, Co-Founder, LEAP Skills Academy.

#'DofESkillsforWork #IAYPskillsforwork #skillstopaythebills #IAYPIndia #AwardIndia

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Deepest condolences on the passing of Rajan Ray, Trustee Award Programme Foundation

Mr. Rajan Ray, Trustee Member, Award Programme Foundation, passed away on 10th September, 2016.

Mr. Ray was a retired banker who held senior positions in India and overseas. He started his career with National & Grindlays Bank in 1968 and worked with them for a total of 20 years; ABN Amro Bank NV for 11 years; EODC (Asia) Ltd for 3 years and lastly Standard Chartered Bank for 2 years before retiring in 2003 after serving more then 35 years of his tenure. He was currently a non-executive director of a few companies in India and overseas. Mr. Ray joined the Award family in 2015 as member Trusteed with Award Programme Foundation.

On behalf of the IAYP, we convey our deepest condolences to the bereaved family of the departed soul Mr. Rajan Ray.

We truly discovered ourselves during this Adventurous Journey

Yashvi Agarwal, Bronze level participant from Modern High School for Girls’, Kolkata sharing her Adventurous Journey experiences with us.

With hearts full of enthusiasm and curiosity, forty nine girls from the IAYP Unit boarded the buses to set out for ‘Panchalingeshwar’ in the afternoon of 29th September, 2016. Panchalingeshwar happens to be located on the Eastern Ghats, Nilagiris to be precise. Located at a distance of 30km from Balasore in Orissa, its main claim to fame is the temple atop a hill that enshrines five Shivalingas.

Our training began early. Our very first session with Mr Mukhoty, the IAYP Programme Manager was a briefing on ‘Understanding Adventure’ and ‘Route Planning’. We learnt that self-discovery and acclimatization were the two most important aspects of adventure. This was followed by ‘The 6 km Trek’. It was quite an experience because the previous night, a herd of wild elephants had traversed the same path, leaving behind large footprints which were converted into small puddles due to the rain. The outskirts of the Singhbhum District was the end point of out trek. It was a place which had a small lake with a 20ft submerged temple built by Raja Singhavarma. This was located in the Buffer Zone of the forest of Simplipal- one of the seven tiger reserves in India. Mr Mukhoty also told us about the three most important things required for survival on a camp- food, shelter and fire. We acquired essential information about the varying types of shelters, tents and other requirements. After this each of us took active part in pitching tents which brought a feel of self satisfaction. We were then briefed on the different kinds of ropes and knots, and about the various equipments mainly throwing light on carabiners, zummers, descendeurs and pulleys. We ended our day with a session on First Aid, where we were taught that first aid was providing scientific aid to a medical victim.

The next day, we had to abstain from our daily morning activities due to heavy rain. We started our day with an interesting session on the Camping Code which included mountain manners, hut manners, etc. We learnt how important it was to respect the culture and customs of the local people of a place. This was followed by another session on the demonstration of all the important knots we had learnt about. Then we were engaged in an exciting activity- Zummering. It was an interesting experience as it was something new for most of us. Right after lunch we set out for another activity- Rappelling, some distance away from our guest house. A short session on maps and orientation was conducted before our thrilling experience of rappelling. This was followed by the camp night. We danced, we sang, we laughed, to sum up we had a gala time.

On the final morning of this very short expedition, we trekked some distance to visit the Panchalingeshwar Temple. We were told all about the beauty of the Simlipal Forest which was right next to the temple. Very soon, we headed back to the camp and having had our lunch we were ready to leave for Kolkata. Just as all good things come to an end, our camp was no exception, but I can very confidently say that we left Panchalingeshwar with memories and valuable lessons that would stay with us for a lifetime and a half. We learnt things that would help us in the future for situations we might unexpectedly encounter. We truly discovered ourselves on this journey. Thanks to all the teachers and Award Leaders who accompanied us. This trip was one of the most memorable experiences that we ever had. Click here for more pictures

Wednesday 5 October 2016

Endeavour to Elevate Village Kids

Priyanka Tiwari, an Award Leader from Mody School, Lakshmangarh, Rajasthan shares how the Programme inspired the young Award participants to come forward and serve the community.

"Youth is that wonderful time in life when energy is limitless.” These words of Swami Vivekananda resonate so well with the young girls of Mody School, who have started focussing their enormous energy towards the uplift of their local community. They have taken the responsibility to teach children in village Ghassu, one of the remotest villages in Rajasthan, under the Service Section of the Award Programme.

The village kids of Ghassu attend an antiquated local school, with the hope of creating their future. They have no exposure to the advanced world of today and are far behind the present times in terms of education and technology. When these young Award participants met them and analyzed their situation, they pledged to improve it with their efforts. These girls were taken aback when they observed their school notebooks, which explicitly depicted the pitiable condition of village schools.

These Award participants compared their own privileged education with the detriment of those village kids and developed an immediate connection with them. They began to teach them basic reading, speaking and writing skills in English, to which they all responded well after some time. Seven days a week these girls go to help them build more than language skills: their personality and self-esteem. The children over there have learnt to speak simple sentences in English. Every day they learn something new and take away a bundle of new learning to unfold before their parents.

When these Award participants met the students of Ghassu, they observed the hope in their hearts to learn more the next day. Parents from far off distances bring their children in order to make them learn something, which they can’t do in their own schools.

Thanks to IAYP, which encouraged these girls to step out of their comfort zone and serve the community. Click here for more pictures