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