Wednesday 27 December 2017

An Evening Well Spent

Rahul Thomas Kurien, Silver Level Award Participant from Good Shepherd International School, Ooty, is sharing his experience of visiting an Old Age Home

After this visit to the old age home The Little Sisters of the Poor, I truly believe in the quote “growing old is compulsory, growing up is optional”. On November 11, 2017, a group of Award Participants went to an old age home. The sole purpose of this visit was to entertain, interact with hapless people and make a difference in their lives at least for a while. We did our homework well by planning and preparing for the items to be presented to the aged.

As soon as we reached the old age home, all of us were very curious to know how the home is managed. The caretaker explained to all of us in detail about the struggle they go through to meet the expenses on a daily basis. There were more than 100 men and women trying to find solace in the minimum comforts available to them. Most of them are invalids and have already entered the sunset of their lives. Many of them have been abandoned by their own children. Some of them are still keeping their hopes alive that one day their beloved children would come and take them away. It was a sorry state of affairs.

All of us distributed snacks to the aged as it was time for evening tea. We listened to them in silence when they explained their tales of woe to us. The interaction helped us learn valuable lessons for life. Then it was time for the presentation of an entertainment programme. The aged people thoroughly enjoyed the skit, songs and musical presentations. I was delighted with the outcome of the visit as it made a difference to their evening. It was heartening to see the smiles on their faces and they will linger in my memory forever. I returned to the school with the complete conviction that come what may, I will always make every effort to take care of the old aged. My heart was heavy but I consoled myself that I had done my best to make them happy. As the school bus started, I waved to the aged, with a promise on my lips that I would return soon. Click here for more pictures

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Bronze Level Adventurous Journey

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

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

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

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

Gold Award Presentation Ceremony – February 7, 2018

Achieving a Gold Award is one of the biggest milestones of your life. It shows that you have the ability, focus and determination to achieve your set goals and pursue them with passion and perseverance. It shows that you have done your share to achieve all-round development and at the same time are open to learn from what the future has to offer. Therefore, it is imperative that you celebrate this achievement with others and The Gold Award Ceremony is designed to celebrate this achievement of yours.

We are happy to announce that a Gold Award Ceremony will be organised on February 7, 2018 at India International Centre, New Delhi.

Please note that the last date for Record Book submission is January 5, 2018.

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Meeting with The Bharat Scouts & Guides

An Award team consisting of John May (Secretary General, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation), Sarah Robson (Head Fund Raising, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation), Dr. Sanat Kaul (Managing Trustee, Award Programme Foundation); Kapil Bhalla (National Director, IAYP India); Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager, IAYP India); Priyank Kumar Gupta (Head IT and ORB, IAYP India) and Chittaranjan Das (Office Manager, IAYP India) visited The Bharat Scouts & Guides and met with Dr. K. K. Khandelwal (IAS) (Chief National Commissioner, The Bharat Scouts & Guides); Shri Satyanarayan Sharma (Vice-President, The Bharat Scouts & Guides); Suman Lata Arora (Joint Director, The Bharat Scouts & Guides) and other office bearers. Dr Khandelwal welcomed the team and honoured them with the Scout Scarf. John May and Kapil Bhalla explored the possibilities of collaborating with The Bharat Scouts & Guides and Award Programme. Check the meeting pictures here

Award Ceremony at Chennai

December 8, 2017

NAA organised an Award Ceremony at Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Chennai, on December 8, 2017. Secretary General John May was the Chief Guest at this ceremony. The day started with an informal interaction with the Award Leaders and Principals of different institutions present for the ceremony in which John May expressed his views about the Award. He explained the ethos of the Award and the importance of non-formal education and how this is becoming the need of the hour today and for the future. John also explained how best the Award concurs with this non-formal education. After this interaction, the School NCC team and School Band gave a Guard of Honour to the Chief Guest. Formally the Award ceremony started with the lighting of the lamp. This was followed by a solo song presentation and a musical Jugalbandi and presentation of the School Song.

Award participants and Award Leaders from AMM Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai; Athena Global School, Chidambaram; Crescent School, Chennai; Ebenezer International School, Bangalore; Good Shepherd International School, Ootacamund; Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Chennai; Olcott Memorial School, Chennai; TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai; and Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai were present. Eighty Bronze Certificates and sixty-five Silver Certificates were awarded. Twenty-three Award Leaders and Volunteers were recognised for their services with Special, Valuable ad Outstanding Meritorious Service Certificates.

NAA expresses sincere thanks to the volunteers, staff and management of Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Chennai, and to the Principals and Award Leaders who were present during the ceremony and gave their support. To see the pictures of the ceremony click here

Award Ceremony at Kolkata

December 7, 2017

NAA organised an Award Ceremony at The Heritage School, Kolkata on December 7, 2017. John May, Secretary General, was the Chief Guest at this ceremony. The ceremony started with the lighting of lamps by John May (Secretary General, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation), Sarah Robson (Head Fund Raising, The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation), Kapil Bhalla (National Director, IAYP India) and Seema Sapru (Principal, The Heritage School, Kolkata). This was followed by a classical dance presentation by an Award participant and later a small play on "Longwa Village – One village, two nations". Seema Sapru welcomed all the guests and invited John May to felicitate the Awardees.

Award participants and Award Leaders from Akshar School, Kolkata; All Bengal Womens' Union Home, Kolkata; Calcutta International School, Kolkata; Delhi Public School, Newtown, Kolkata; Emmanuel Ministries, Kolkata; La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata; Mahadevi Birla World Academy, Kolkata; Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata; Open Award Centre; Ramkrishna Mission Blind Boys Academy, Kolkata; Sri Sarada Math, Kolkata; Sri Sri Academy, Kolkata; Sushila Birla Girls' School, Kolkata; The Bhawanipur Gujarati Education Society School, Kolkata and The Heritage School, Kolkata were present. One hundred and twenty-three Bronze certificates; forty-eight Silver Certificates and five Gold Certificates were awarded. Besides this, twenty-six Award Leaders and Volunteers were recognised for their services with Special, Valuable and Outstanding Meritorious Service Certificates. John May also interacted with the audience and shared his life experiences with them.

NAA wishes to extend its sincere thanks to the volunteers; staff and management of The Heritage School, Kolkata for all the help in organising a wonderful ceremony. Also, we wish to extend our thanks to the Principals and Award Leaders of different schools and institutions, who were present during the ceremony and boosted the morale of the Awardees. You can see the pictures of ceremony by clicking here

Message from John May, Secretary General

“It’s been a wonderful privilege for me to have spent the last few days in India - and to have shared in celebrating the achievements of young people at Award ceremonies in Kolkata and Chennai. What has struck me most has been the immense contribution that Award units are making throughout the country to the education of the next generation of India’s community leaders, entrepreneurs and employees. Award leaders are ensuring that young people don’t just enjoy an excellent academic education, but are able to develop for themselves the skills, behaviours and attitudes that are needed to be a great global citizen. I have also been incredibly impressed by the dedication and expertise of the small professional staff at IAYP. Thank you to everyone who has made me feel so welcome - and I look forward to returning before too long to meet even more young people and their leaders.”

Wednesday 6 December 2017

The spirit of community service

It's challenging to work towards a holistic vision of reality. Belgians accepted the challenge to change lives, perhaps even their own. A report by Ekta Dhawan, Principal, Bawa-Lalvani Public School, Kapurthala.

The purpose of living a good life is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to be a reason of joy in someone’s sorrows and to make a difference in the society of which we are a part.

Once again the Bronze Award participants of Bawa-Lalvani Public School, Kapurthala, kept themselves busy in community service throughout the weeks with the motive to serve the community while developing humility and compassion. The Award Programme infuses in the participants the spirit of service before self and that of leading a disciplined lifestyle.

These Bronze participants went on an awareness programme in Sultanpur Lodhi Distt Kapurthala. The Group performed street plays to create awareness about the crucial topics: Family planning, Corruption, and Pollution, with a view to achieve economic independence and eradicate other socials evils prevailing in society, such as the menace of corruption and the pleas of the youth against pollution.

The participants held conversation sessions with the audience of the village; the objective was to counsel the villagers about the various health problems prevailing due to air and water-borne diseases, the 3R’s (recycle, reuse and reduce) and the ill effects of pollution.

Outreach to the community has resulted in becoming a potential source of inspiration to the village students. Participants felt the power to make a difference by participating and pulling communities together, helping individuals find solutions and foster human well-being.

The participants have developed the ability to manage their time well, having to balance their work commitment, and have shown that they have this quality in abundance.

The social needs of the residents are addressed through our ongoing engagement and they are encouraged by our participants to contact relatives and friends in order to restore broken relationships! Click here for more pictures

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Contributing to the National Campaign

Thirty-two Award participants of Pt. Uma Dutt Public School, Dholpur took an initiative for the maintenance and safeguarding of Indira Gandhi Stadium, Dholpur, under the surveillance of Award leaders and mentors Dr. Pankaj Vashishtha and Mr Gufran Khan, in which The Express T-10 ward cup is going to be held to encourage and promote the national campaigns Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao and Swachh Bharat Mission. To promote these social causes of Women Empowerment and Women Education, 64 teams from the whole district will participate in this tournament.

The Award participants resolved to go and clean the playground every Thursday. They made the ground clean by handpicking all the filth and garbage like polythene bags, wrappers and other stuff. Besides this, the Award participants did plantation around the surrounding boundary and took a pledge to maintain it. This initiative was appreciated by the local authorities and organizers of the express T-20 cup and by the common people too.  Click here for more pictures

Special Projects Dinner, November 14, 2017

Monalisa Paul represented India in the Special Projects Dinner - an annual event, organised by Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation at London. Monalisa is sharing her experience here.

Every year the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation organizes a special dinner with the trustees and special project members. The members from all over the world come to attend this event to share their work experience regarding the Special Project with the Award family and trustees.

This year I was selected to share my views on the special project which we are doing on "Women Empowerment" in rural villages. For me, this was a great opportunity to represent my country and my own organization, Sri Sarada Math, Rasik Bhita.

My journey started on November 9, 2017 from Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. This was my first ever flight in my life, and that too to travel overseas alone, so I was a bit nervous as well. My flight was at 08:55 in the morning. I reached Dubai International Airport at 12:50 in the afternoon. From Dubai, I reached Heathrow airport at 18:20 in the evening. A member was there at the airport to escort me to the hotel. At 20.30 in the evening, I reached Huttson Hotel. I checked in and settled down.

On the next morning, 10th November, I woke up early in the morning and had my breakfast. In the hotel lobby, I came to meet with three other speakers who came to attend the dinner program like me. There we met with Lizzie Elliot, an Award member. She took us to the Award office house. 
At the office we met with other Award members - Lucy, Emma, Liz and all. We discussed one by one our speeches with Emma Fisher, a Communications Manager and did all necessary amendments. After the lunch break, we rehearsed our speeches. At the end of the day we came back to the hotel. At night we, the speakers - Radu from Romania, Emmanuella from Ghana, Morema from Lesotho and me, Monalisa from India went together for our dinner.

Next two days - 11th and 12th Nov - were holidays. We spent some of our free time to explore the town. We visited some important places in London such as the Parliament House, Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower Bridge. And we also spent time to practice our speeches.

On 13th Nov we went to the office at 10 am in the morning. That day we met with John, the head of the Award house and one of the trustees as well. They listened to all our stories of our special projects. They were really pleased and moved with the work we do. At the end of the day, we came back to the hotel again.

On the very next day, the special day 14th Nov, we prepared our final speeches at Award house and came back to the hotel early as we had to get ready for dinner. I wore my national dress for this dinner event. We four speakers along with two members of the Award organization, Liz and Lizzie left the hotel at 05:00 in the evening towards the venue at Bagshot Park. We reached the venue within one and half hour. This is the royal castle of the Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex who is in charge of the Award program now. We visited the rooms there, full of fine wooden work done by Indian artists. Within an hour guests came with their families.They were very eager to meet with us, to listen to our stories. We were introduced to the trustee members and guests as well. After the welcome session, we moved to the dining table for the main program. Our host was HRM, Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward. The night began with the speech of the first speaker Radu from Romania, then the speaker from Ghana. After the main course the third speaker from Lesotho, then my turn came, the last speaker of that evening. In front of the HRM, the Prince, Princess and 51 other guests I shared my views regarding the Award, our work for special projects, the improvements we achieved, the future plan we are about to do, everything. I was able to make all the guests aware of the work we do, and the benefits we get from the Award.

After dinner, the guests came in front of us to give us best wishes for our works. They all were very happy with the work we do and were able to make lump sum amount of donations for the special projects. We had some photo session with Earl of Wessex and Countess of Wessex. At the end of the programme, we came back to the hotel with a great experience.

The next morning I checked out from the hotel. It was time to come back to my country, to my home. From Heathrow, I took my flight at 13:40 in the afternoon and arrived at Kolkata airport on 15th Nov at 07:40 in the morning.

It was a great time away from home, from my own country to a new country, new town, new people, new culture. I learnt many things from there. It was really an achievement for me. These memories I am going to cherish throughout of my life. Thanks to Award, my mentors and above all, thanks to Sri Sarada Math for believing in me, and for giving me the chance to prove myself. Click here for more pictures

Wednesday 22 November 2017

One of the Most Thrilling Experiences

Ishita Roy, Bronze Award participant from Delhi Public School, Gurugram, completed her Adventurous Journey. Ishita is sharing her thrilling experience...

When one talks about a teenager’s leisure time, the first thought that comes to mind is of a kid listening to music or watching TV. However, leisure time could also come in more packages like exploring nature, helping the community and making a difference to society.

This not only helps in the betterment of society but also in helping us -- teenagers -- become more independent, learn new skills and become socially adaptable.

This has also been the objective of our school, and the IAYP programme helps to steer us towards that aim. Keeping this in mind, our school organized an exciting 4-day Adventurous Journey to Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, from the 1st to the 4th of November, 2017.

After a night’s journey by bus, we reached our resort named ‘Phool Chatti’. The morning temperature had dipped a bit, and it became pleasantly cold. Here we were assigned to groups and were allotted our tents.

After breakfast we trekked by the riverside, where we rappelled off a massive rock surface. We learnt the technicalities of this adventure sport and enjoyed every moment of it. More trekking followed, and this time it was a 6 km trek to reach the waterfalls. The urge to reach the end of the trail to witness the enchanting waterfalls was so huge, that it gave us an adrenalin rush and brought out the spirit of adventure in all of us.

After completing a long, difficult, yet challenging trek, we treated ourselves to bowls of hot ‘Maggi’ and steaming cups of coffee :) The first day came to an end with a sumptuous dinner, bonfire and music.

The next morning, thrilled by the thought of river rafting, we wasted no time in getting ready and quickly boarded our buses to reach the river.

Upon reaching the site, our team guide gave us a thorough knowledge of the conditions and procedures of rafting. Overwhelmed by the power of surging waters beneath us, we jumped into our rafts, wearing our life jackets and helmets. We rafted through the wilderness and experienced the cold water and its flow from Marine Drive to Shivpuri.

This was one of the most thrilling experiences, especially as we jumped out of the raft and dived into the spine-chilling river water, braving the rapids that came our way. After a three-hour raft, we boarded our buses to reach the campsite, where we played outdoor games like badminton and volleyball, relaxed by the bonfire with our friends, listened to soothing music, ate dinner and retired for the night .

Next day, ready to witness the sunrise, we were up and about at 5:30 am for a walk through spectacular natural surroundings. The sight of the lush, green trees, the fragrance of the crisp morning air, away from the hustle and bustle of city life and its pollution, made us feel like staying here forever.

And so ended our adventure with nature as it was time to bid goodbye to the holy town of Rishikesh, and return to our homes, having made new friends and new memories!  Click for more pictures

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Development and Maintenance of School Garden

About 20 Award participants of Harvest International School, initiated the project: “Development and Maintenance of School Garden” under the guidance of mentors Deepak Sharma, Pooja Gupta and Vinita Seth.

They selected a piece of land and started from scratch. Initially, there were only 13 participants, but as the weeks passed by more and more participants joined the project. They started by making the land suitable for gardening by tilling the land and adding fertile soil and manure to it.

The participants designed the garden and did fencing. of the garden by planting flowering shrubs. They selected the areas for developing a lawn and planted grass. They demarcated a medicinal plants section and planted medicinal plants on it. Since the inception of the project, students have been involved in tending the garden, adding soil and manure, and the planting of grass, flowering, ornamental and medicinal plants. They maintain the garden by weeding, watering and planting new plants on a regular basis. Click here for more pictures

A Visit to an Old Age Home

Sidhartha Sen Gupta, Award Leader, Miles Bronson Residential School, Borjhar, Guwahati is sharing a brief report on behalf of Award participants about their visit to an Old Age Home.

On 17th of October, 2017 we went to an Old Age Home for the purpose of charity and service. It was 3:30 p.m. when we reached our destination. Honestly speaking, we were really nervous about meeting the people there. But visiting that place was one of the best things we could have ever done. Seeing the residents of the old age home for the first time set an usual feeling in our hearts. Taking a bundle of Diwali greetings cards in our hands, we first set off to interact with all the grandmas and grandpas. We were not really sure how to actually start a conversation but as we opened up to them, the warmth in their eyes melted our hearts. They shared their stories with us. It was indeed heartbreaking to hear that their children had abandoned them. Most
of them had diseases. We can, in fact, learn a lesson from them. We have everything that we need. Our parents try to provide us with all the happiness in life, yet we complain, asking for more, while they seem to be the happiest with just the little they have. The fact that we could actually make them happy and see them smile was the greatest feeling of satisfaction ever. We also met many disabled children and offered them chocolates. We played with them and enjoyed their friendliness. Spending time with them was a precious experience. We could bring a smile to their faces and that was the greatest feeling of self-satisfaction ever, because, at the end of the day, it is this happiness that counts. If those candles and candies were the gifts for the destitute this Diwali, for us it was their smiles and happiness.

Wednesday 8 November 2017

Award Leader Training (YES) Workshop

Award Training Centre, New Delhi

An Award Leader Training Workshop was organised on 3rd - 4th November 2017 at the Award Training Centre, New Delhi. The workshop was attended by 12 participants from Amity International School, Mayur Vihar, Phase - I, New Delhi; Confluence World School, Rudrapur, Uttarakhand; Ecole Globale International Girls' School, Dehra Dun, Uttarakhand; Gyan Ganga International School, Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh; The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh; Ramagya School, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh; and Taurian world School, Ranchi, Jharkhand. 
The workshop started with a session on introduction and expectations. There were sessions on Framework and Philosophy of the Award, followed by the four pillars of the Award, Residential Project, Risk Management, Benefits of Award and Brand Pack. The workshop was led by Kapil Bhalla (National Director), Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager), Priyank Kumar Gupta (Head IT and ORB) and Pallavi Gill (Member, National Training Panel and India Youth Rep). After completion of the workshop participants were recognised with certificates. Dr Sanat Kaul, Managing Trustee, Award Programme Foundation graced the facilitation ceremony and honoured the Award Leaders. Click here for the pictures

IGE Diary - Pallavi Gill

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award held its 50th International Gold Event in Prague, the Czech Republic from the 25th to the 30th of October. I was fortunate enough to represent the International Award for Young People, India at this meet.

Beginning with the opening ceremony, to the finale closing ceremony, my journey at IGE has been a huge learning experience. My team of six and I worked on the Project named, ‘Let’s overcome barriers!’ We worked on how the Award could be incorporated to improve the lives of individuals with spinal cord injuries. The organization that we visited for our fieldwork was Centrum Paraple. The world-class facilities and peaceful ambience at the organization was overwhelming. Studying their organization and also playing wheelchair rugby and football taught us of the challenges one faces on a wheelchair. And, after our hours of dedication into the project, our project was selected among the three winning project proposals! From gulping down breakfast at 6:30 am, to rushing to hop on and off the local transportation in the city, to late night discussions on project presentation and report, IGE has taught me so many valuable virtues such as teamwork, leadership, time management and most importantly, to have fun and challenge myself.

I would like to thank The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation for providing us, the Gold Award Holders of various countries, the platform to enlighten ourselves with various skills during the IGE; The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Czech Republic, for their undivided care and support that made our stay throughout the IGE comfortable; and IAYP India, for providing me with this opportunity to represent the organization.


Congratulations Monalisa Paul

Many congratulations to Monalisa Paul for being invited by The Fundraising Team of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation to the International Special Projects Dinner, hosted by TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex on 14 November 2017 as a speaker to represent India.

The Special Projects fund was introduced to give marginalised young people access to the Award so they can gain skills that equip them for life, regardless of their background. Monalisa will be sharing her Award journey with the guests, explaining how the Special Projects fund in India made a positive impact on their lives and their communities.

The IAYP India team wishes Monalisa the very best for this mega event, with the hope that The Special Projects dinner will help the team to raise funds, enabling the new Special Projects to impact the lives of more marginalised young people in future.

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Adventurous Journey reveals youth leaders

Award participants from Him Academy Public School, Vikasnagar, Hamirpur, HP completed their Adventurous Journey to Barot Valley, Mandi, HP. A report by Rajeev Kumar (Award Leader)

We, a group of 43, left for the camp on 17th Sept 2017 from Hamirpur, HP with 43 Award participants, including two Silver and 41 Bronze level participants. We arrived at Hamirpur at 5:30 am and undertook a bus journey to Trekker’s Nest, Barot Valley, Mandi (the campsite). The planning for the journey was over during the month of August and the preliminary training and preparations were already done in the month of August.

On the first day of our journey, we set up tents, learnt essential knots and about different kinds of camping gear. The participants were taken for mountain trekking approximately 2200 feet above the sea level at Barot Valley, Mandi, HP. The Adventure Journey camp shifts the focus away from the individual and teaches campers to be more selfless and become better team players. The day was full of experiential learning for all of us, as we learnt about nature and various kinds of vegetation. Everyone noted the important points in their diaries and record keeping journals.

On the second day, we took part in rock-climbing and rappelling. The participants were made to trek to the locations at which these activities were organised. These activities were quite arduous under the scorching sun, but they allowed the participants to step outside their comfort zones and challenged them in ultimate terms. They learnt about mountain manners and first aid. At the close of day the participants discussed the challenges and the fears they overcame.We did get the opportunity to participate in Nati during evening hours with the campfire.

The third day was of thrilling and unforgettable experiences of different adventure activities like Zipline, Rope Valley crossing and campfire. Every activity tried the strength and flexibility of the participants and taught them to sustain themselves in the toughest conditions and improved their endurance levels. After the journey, we all returned to the school with chapped lips and fond memories.

These adventure camp activities have led to decreases in childhood adjustments, anxiety issues, and social inhibitions that manifest themselves silently in the participants. By the culmination of the camp, we had unfurled various leaders among the youth. Many learnt teamwork and overcame phobias. Parents affirmed this camp to be a wholesome experience for their wards and wanted them to be a part of such activities in the future on a more consistent basis. Click for more images 

Wednesday 25 October 2017

Learning with Fun

Award Participants of GEMS NPS International School, Guwahati undertook an Adventurous Journey to Goreswar forest area. Goreswar is a town in Baksa district, situated on the north bank of river Brahmaputra, surrounded by Rangiya and Baihata in Assam. A report by Kannan T. (Award Leader).

We a group of 30 Award participants and 2 Leaders set on an adventurous trip on 24th of September 2017 to Goreshwar, in Assam. The planning for the trip was done one month in advance by making all the necessary arrangements for the trip and do the Preliminary Training and Preparation. On 23rd September one of the organisers of this trip Mriganka Sharma, from Assam Mountaineering Association briefed us about the trip, like what are the safety measures to be followed and what to be done in certain situations. One of his team members exhibited all the equipment which will be handled by the participants and he explained to us how to handle them. The school medical team explained us the procedure of first aid and how to use various items from the first aid box.

On 24th September we started from our school at 1.30 pm and reached the town of Goreshwar by 4.30 pm. From the town, we travelled another half an hour to reach the camping site which was located inside the forest. We were asked to set up the tents which we will be using for stay during this trip. After the tents were set up, we set up the bonfire. Some of us sat around the fire and played the guitar while others were involved in making and helping the cook in cooking.

Next morning after freshening up, we had our breakfast and went for trekking. The trekking was for 12 Km to a Buddha temple situated on the top of a mountain inside the forest. While trekking, the mentors explained about the terrain and the various flora and fauna available there. We returned to our campsite in the afternoon. After lunch, we went to a nearby area where the rappelling rope was fastened and kept ready. All of us did rappelling till evening and returned to our campsite.

Next day morning after breakfast we again went on a trekking for 3 Km. and reached Puthimari River. The mentors were already there ready with the rafts for us to do rafting. After a briefing, we wore our life jackets and helmets and in a group of 6 students each, we started the rafting. The rafting was for 6 Km and we had a thrilling experience. Till evening we were rafting and then we moved to our camp. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us where we experienced fun with learning. Click here for the pictures

Programme Manager's Visit

Programme Manager, Bivujit Mukhoty visited The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Hyderabad on 24th October 2017. Bivuit Mukhoty met Skand Bali, Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, and handed over the National Operator Licence.

Bivujit Mukhoty also delivered an Orientation session to students and teachers of The Hyderabad Public School. The orientation was attended by over 250 students.

Wednesday 18 October 2017

Ripples of change for a Cause

Award participants of Sat Paul Mittal School, Ludhiana took an initiative to support the specially-abled children. A brief report.

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy… 
I awoke and saw that life was service… 
I acted and behold, service was joy."

Rabindranath Tagore

It is rightly said, “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living”. Abiding by this maxim and to support Aashrivad Schools Amba Project, the Satyans affiliated with the IAYP Programme have taken a step ahead to help pave the way from “Dependence to Independence” for specially-abled children. The Satyans have taken an altruistic initiative of promoting Indian handicraft and entrepreneurship. The Satyans put up stalls for the sale of beautiful garden planters and exquisitely designed biodegradable and eco-friendly diyas. The money collected from this initiative will be entirely spent for buying technology to further the endeavour in making the specially-abled children technologically adept for self-sufficiency. This initiative has provided the Satyans with an opportunity to rise by lifting others, and the power to bring about a change for good.

This initiative was undertaken by Satyans on September 27, 2017 and was duly acknowledged and appreciated by the parent fraternity. They encouraged the Satyans by contributing to the beneficent sale for a noble cause. Ms Bhupinder Gogia, Principal, Sat Paul Mittal School, also appreciated the efforts made by the Satyans of the IAYP Club and stated that Satyans should work consistently with the conviction for a humanitarian outreach and create ripples of change for a better society.

Wednesday 11 October 2017

Story of Papiya Koley

“Slow, persistent and silent work does everything.” Swami Vivekananda

Papiya Koley is a living example of these words. Her father is a van puller by profession. Needless to say, it is an arduous task for him to procure sustenance for a family of six. But they have seen better days ever since Papiya was brought by her elder sister Ashalata Koley to Rasik Bhita to get involved with the Award Programme.

The remote village of Heradaha could not provide her opportunities for higher education, yet Papiya was not defeated. The orthodox villagers could not accept the progressive outlook of the two sisters and began to cast aspersions on them. But people who script success stories are seldom held back by such constraints. Battling against numerous odds, Papiya managed to put up a praiseworthy academic performance. By dint of sheer hard work and dedication, the sisters have achieved an notable feat.

Ashalata Koley is a Silver Awardee who works for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. India, and Papiya is now a student of Sanskrit Honours in Srerampore Girls’ College and her results have been consistently good. She has scored 60% marks in Compulsory English. She is a proud winner of the IAYP Gold Award this year.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

A Great Learning Experience

Dikshita Khullar, Gold Award Participant from Open Award Centre, is sharing her swimming achievements.

Accompanying my elder brother to the club swimming pool, for his swimming lessons, instilled in me a deep desire to be a swimmer too. At the age of 4, I found myself able to float. My happiness knew no bounds when I won my first individual Championship in Grade 5. My practice starts early at the school pool and then in the afternoon I take coaching lessons from my coach at the Kendriya Vidyalaya.

Soon after, I joined the IAYP and I started practising and participating at the annual club meets. I enjoy swimming; not only does it make me fit but it is also a good break from my studies. Thereafter I have been competing and winning medals at inter school, district and state levels. I have also represented Delhi for the 200 m Freestyle Relay at the 43rd Junior National Aquatic championship held in Bangalore, in 2016. Though our team stood 6th, it was a great learning experience to witness the competition at such a large scale. I hope to continue and improve my timing with each practice.

Sunday 1 October 2017

Participant Registration Fees from January 1, 2018

Please note from January 1, 2018, the participant registration fee for each level of the Award from YES Centres will be Rs 700/- (Rs. Seven Hundred only) for Offline and Online Record Book Participants. The registration fee for Open Award Centre Participants will be Rs. 1,000 (Rs. One Thousand only).

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Cleanliness Drive - A Report

The Award participants of Sanjay Ghodawat International School, Atigre undertook the second phase of their cleanliness drive in the village of Hatkanangale (Maharashtra) in the Old Market Area on Saturday, September 9, 2017. All the 96 Bronze and 8 Silver participants were involved in this activity under the supervision of 15 mentors.

The purpose of the second phase of this cleanliness drive was to create more awareness among the villages regarding hygiene. The open drains which were cleaned during the last drive were not in a good condition, and the participants had a difficult task ahead of them as the drains were again filled with polythene bags and grass had sprouted around the drains. The Award participants convinced the villagers not to throw litter everywhere. They also discussed the negative impacts of poor hygiene on our health. The participants visited each home and shop of the area to spread awareness. It took nearly three hours to clean the drains. The work was appreciated by the villagers and the Sarpanch of the village. Click here for pictures

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Award Leader Training (YES) Workshops

National Award Authority organised two Award Leader Training (YES) Workshops on September 8 - 9 and September 12 - 13, 2017.

The first workshop was organised at Vishwa Vidyapeeth Bengaluru on September 8 - 9, 2017. The workshop was attended by 18 participants from Mallya Aditi International School, Bengaluru; Oakridge Int. School, Bengaluru; Vishwa Vidyapeeth, Bengaluru; Karaumbiah's Academy for Learning & Sports, Gonikoppal, Coorg; BGS World School, Bengaluru and Sarala Birla Academy, Bengaluru. The workshop was led by Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager), K S Birader (Member, National Training Panel); Teena Machaiah (Member, National Training Panel); and Priya Chengappa (Coorg Public School, Mysore).

The second workshop was organised on September 12 - 13, 2017 at Peevees Public School, Nilambur, Kerala. This workshop was attended by 8 participants from Peevees Public School Nilambur Kerala and Isha Home School, Velliangiri Foothills, Coimbatore. The workshop was led by Kapil Bhalla (National Director) and Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager).

The workshops started with a session on introduction and expectations. There were sessions on Framework and Philosophy of the Award, followed by the four pillars of the Award, Residential Project, Risk Management, Benefits of Award and Brand Pack and Web resources. After completion of the workshop participants were recognised with certificates.

Programme Manager's Review Visit to Chennai

Bivujit Mukhoty (Programme Manager) visited Award Units of Chennai from September 14 - 16, 2017 to meet and review the Award progress at the YES Centres in Chennai. The Programme Manager visited TI Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Chennai; AMM Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Kotturpura; Chennai; Lalaji Memorial Omega International School, Kolapakka, Chennai; Crescent School, Chennai and Vidya Mandir Senior Secondary School, Chennai. The Programme Manager helped to resolve issues and clarify doubts of the Award Leaders, Award participants and other supporting staff of the YES Centres.

During the visit, the Programme Manager delivered an Award Orientation to Govt Higher Secondary School, Pennagar, Vellore and Vedavalli Vidyalaya Senior. Secondary School, Walajapet, Vellore. Bivujit Mukhoty was assisted by Sasikiran (Programme Officer) during his visit.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

Save Paper, Save Plants Campaign

 The Award participants of DPS Megacity, Kolkata along with students of Eco Club took part in a campaign named “Save Paper Save Plants”. These are the initiatives taken by the participants to create a green environment:
  • The papers were reused to make bags and envelopes which were sold during our Annual Carnival, the proceeds of which go towards charity through the Interact club.
  • Economization of paper Both sides of the A4 size paper is used to prevent wastage. School circulars were also printed on the reverse side of used papers in order to economize the use of paper.
  • All unused papers in the exercise books were taken out and bound to form new exercise books. These exercise books were handed over to the Interact Club to be distributed to the less privileged students in the community.
  • Old exercise books of the students were collected by the participants and used to make pulp for handmade paper and then this pulp was mixed with water and spread on a piece of window screen to dry. On completion of drying this paper was painted by the students and used for board work in the classroom.
  • The Award participants recycled used papers, bottles, cans and made beautiful folders, pen stands, show pieces etc., which were also used as gifts for distinguished guests who visited our school.
In conclusion, it can be said that DPS Megacity has truly followed the mantra of REUSE AND RECYCLE for the conservation of plants and contributed immensely to our planet Earth in reducing global warming.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

A Success Story

My name is Priyanka Sarkar. I live in Chandannagar, Hooghly. My father serves tea at the station. With his meagre earning, we found it difficult to meet our daily needs. After my Higher Secondary Examination, I came to take admission at Sri Sarada Math Rasik Bhita with my aunt, for a basic computer course and Communicative English course. During this period of time, I came to know about the “International Award for Young People, India.” or the IAYP programme from Adrija Di in one of her classes. Then I enrolled myself into this programme and completed the Bronze and Silver awards. Now I am working for my Gold award. I could not complete my graduation due to my family's poor economic condition.

This spirit of IAYP took me to the Jadavpur University. There I went to pursue a diploma course in social work. I faced an interview for the admission. During the interview the interviewer asked me different questions about IAYP like, the reason for being a part of the programme, the functions of the programme, what I have gained from this programme and the changes which took place in my life while doing this programme, the reason of the skill section of IAYP etc. They also asked about Sri Sarada Math and Rasik Bhita; how Matajis help us, how do we perform the activities in the Math, what type of social work do they do etc. I also mentioned the regular activities of “Nibedita Bahini”, formed by a group of girls of Rasik Bhita, how it works, what type of work they do and so on. After this interview, I got the opportunity to begin the course there and after six months of I completed. Then I wanted to pursue MSW (Master in Social Work) but without a B.A degree it was not possible to do the course. Then I went to Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for admission. There I gave an entrance examination and faced another interview session. There they also asked about my past, about Sri Sarada math, IAYP, diploma course in Jadavpur, Nibedita Bahini etc. Then I finally got the opportunity to study at TISS. They also granted to pay half of my course fee because of my poor economic background. Now I am studying “Child Protection” for three years. All these steps of success were not possible if I had not been a student of Rasik Bhita and an awardee of IAYP. I am truly grateful towards them.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Reminiscing about a Memorable Journey

Riddhi Jain, Gold Award holder from Delhi Public School, Gurugram is sharing her Award Journey experience, especially the Residential Project.

I was first introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award programme when I was in the 9th grade. When I was introduced to the International Award for Young People (IAYP), I was quite curious about the programme and how it would help me in my life. Deciding to join the Bronze Award was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It has been an amazing experience ever since. I went on to complete the Silver and Gold Awards as well.

My journey with IAYP has been one with many challenges: from managing academics and extracurriculars to meeting deadlines. Nevertheless, I enjoyed myself thoroughly. I think the most important skill I picked up from the IAYP is interpersonal and communication skills.

The Residential Project for the Gold Award was my personal favourite. It taught me how to work in a team. To step out of my comfort zone and go out in the open, meet new people, make new friends and most importantly, it taught me how to enjoy life outside home and away from my parents.

Living with strangers in a village, learning their lifestyle and language was a little scary, but at the same extremely thrilling. We visited the village head -- the Sarpanch, spoke to the Panchayat about the administration of the village, went to the village school and taught the students there, and danced with them. We interacted with them and told them about our school.

I learnt how to make round chapatis and had tea for the first time ever. The tractor ride was quite amusing. We also organised a cleanliness drive and took to the streets, after which we put up a street play on hygiene and sanitation and stressed on the importance of maintaining cleanliness.

On the third and fourth day, I went to the farm and saw a variety of vegetables that were grown. Later, we were taken to the brick kiln and made a few bricks there, which were, to be honest, quite distorted. The task was very tough and tiring, yet fun.

It is priceless memories like these that remind me of the joys of the Award. Completing the Award gives youth opportunities that one would not normally experience and moments that last a lifetime. Achieving the Awards was just as thrilling as completing the journey. Click here to see more pictures

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Opportunity to do Community Service

Shiksha Kendra, a philanthropic venture of Delhi Public School Gurgaon, Sector-45, is a school for remedial teaching for students from the ‘marginalised those at risk’ section of society. It is an afternoon school (1.30 pm - 5 pm) providing quality education to 1300+ students from classes 1-12. As it is a prerequisite that all students/members have to do community service, we at DPS Gurgaon want to extend a helping hand. We wish to invite all those children desirous of doing community service in the form of teaching to come and teach at the Shiksha Kendra run by the school.

The IAYP participants of all three levels can volunteer to take classes from standard 1 to 5 on weekdays from 3 pm to 5 pm. Besides teaching academic subjects they can also conduct classes for co-curricular activities and train students in Dance, Theatre, Art, Vocal Music, Spoken English, etc.

Students interested in teaching at Shiksha Kendra should write an email to Shubra Banerjee or Darshna Dahiya at least a week in advance, informing about the dates on which they would like to take classes so as to enable us to make suitable arrangements. Click to see some pictures at Shiksha Kendra