The IAYP adventure journey has always been challenging and exciting - which is the reason award aspirants have looked forward to it every year with eager anticipation. This year the journey was planned with lots of thrilling and nerve wrecking adventure activities for three nights and four days at Mawlyngbna, Meghalaya. The total number of participating students this year was 50 and it was decided to divide the children in two batches according to their award levels. The first camp was held from the 1st to 4th of November and the 2nd camp from 15th Nov to 18th November, 2017.
The vehicle selected was a traveler and after a journey of 5-6 hrs we reached our camping site. Our tents were already pitched and the colorful tents amidst the green forest presented a captivating picture.
It was expected that along with the joy and the exuberance of participation, the trip would be filled with hardship but we did not expect the weather to play spoilsport in the winter month. Though the first trip enjoyed the winter sun throughout their stay, it kept drizzling for two days during our second trip. The rain certainly made their stay in tents as well as the activities more challenging. To make the students familiar with the environment around them, a basic community survey was assigned to them. To make it more interesting and competitive, the children were divided into several teams and each team presented their findings in the form of beautiful skits which was followed by dinner. Everyone enjoyed the basic hot food around the camp fire after a tiring day.
The next day was filled with different activities like Rock Climbing, Caving, Community interaction and a Night trek through the dense forest. The children in both the camps showed remarkable enthusiasm performing those activities. Safety Measures were obviously taken but it did not make it any easier to climb up and down a slope tilted at almost ninety degrees. The thrill still haunts our minds.
The children also got the opportunity to trek down steep hill slopes and through green meadows and river pools to the fossil park where they hunted around for fossils of star fish and other marine animals. They also got the opportunity to exhibit their fishing skills without a fishing rod, and have also displayed team spirit and group co-ordination during swimming, snorkeling and kayaking which was an awesome experience altogether. The local guides and the resource persons were with the children during the whole trip, sheltering them from harm and directing them to perform each activity with safety.
In the evenings as part of community learning, the children had to interact with the village people – learning the local lore and cuisines. They also collected local fruit and vegetables and self-cooked a local dish learned from the villagers and also presented a local song. This obviously enhanced the children’s inter-personnel skills and at the same time made them aware of their own ability to overcome any challenging situation.
The IAYP trip has also helped the children understand themselves better and further hone their talents. Observing life lived in an absolutely basic manner taught the children the importance of patience, co-dependence, and importance of team spirit and helped them to overcome their inhibitions.
The overall experience has obviously emboldened the children and made them more resilient for the future. This would not have been possible without the constant support and encouragement from our respected Founder and Managing Trustee Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer. I sincerely thank you ma’am for your constant motivation and support. I would also like to thank our Principal Mrs Alpana K Phukan for her support and guidance. My sincere and heartfelt thanks to Mr. Nilutpal Das founder-president of Eco Concepts for organizing this trip so well and to my co award leader IAYP Mr Binod Baruah for his constant support. My sincere thanks to IAYP for introducing adventure journey to us through their award programme.

Students receive IAYP Gold Award

Six students from Maria’s Public School, Prastuti Rajkhowa, Nikita Thakuria, Priyadarshini Karan, Ashi-Ul- Hussain, Manab Deka and Aakashi Kotoki successfully completed the gold level of the International award for young people, (IAYP) which is the most adaptable and successful empowerment programme for today’s youth. The students who accomplished the award journey received the DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S GOLD LEVEL AWARD CERTIFICATE and the GOLD PIN in a function held at New Delhi.
This proud and prestigious moment was anticipated ever since the school started the IAYP award journey in the year 2013. This year, the IAYP Gold Award ceremony was held in the India International Centre Delhi, on the 14th of July in a dignified and disciplined environment. The occasion was graced by none other than the former Indian cricketer Abbas Ali Baig as the chief guest. It was a glorious moment to receive the award certificates from Mr Abbas Ali Baig, former Indian Cricketer and the IAYP National Director Mr. Kapil Bhalla. The award journey is constantly guided and supported by the Founder and Managing Trustee Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer, Principal Mrs Alpana Khound Phukan and Vice-principal Mr Anjan Gogoi with award leaders, Aparna Khanikar and Binod Barua.

Rendezvous with nature

Man’s bid to keep up with the rat race of acquiring material wealth has robbed off his innate desire to be with nature, to feel its therapeutic quality, to bask in the heavenly splendour it offers and to learn from his first ever teacher. The Founder and Managing Trustee of Maria’s Public School, Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer through her great vision, ‘Nature as our classroom’ has initiated several programmes through International Award for Young People (IAYP) that provide the students an opportunity to learn life skills from nature and appreciate its abundance. Last December a group of students was taken to an exciting IAYP trip to Dawki, in Meghalaya. It was a thrilling experience for the bunch of children to spend two nights in tents in a deserted river island sans basic necessities like toilets and electricity.

On reaching the island in boats and staggering on slippery ground, the children received 10 riddles to solve by the end of their stay. The group pitched their tents in the sandy bank. Once lunch was over, the group rested for a while to recuperate their energy to get on with their tasks for the day. It was undoubtedly an experience of a lifetime to hunt for firewood in the desolate darkness of the night with the sound of the jungle creatures echoing in air. The freshly cooked dinner and merriment around the bonfire was enough to fill them with adequate energy for the next day’s task. Early in the morning they started trekking on rugged terrains to reach a village for a community service programme and to interact with the villagers and compile a survey on their lifestyle and means of livelihood. They climbed about one thousand steps to reach this village called Darrang nestled in the lap of unadulterated nature. After spending about two hours with the villagers the group started a much more challenging downward journey back to the campsite.

Soon after reaching their home for two nights the children got on with their tasks to complete. The first was to prepare a skit on the information they gathered from the interaction with the community. The second task was to prepare a song dedicated to Dawki and their experience and the third was to prepare an original game with the resources available around them. Within a stipulated time of three hours for the tasks they also had to collect firewood. As evening set in, they started to display the completed tasks around a bonfire. All the groups did some marvellous jobs. Having finished with the presentation they group gorged on the dinner and then the fun time began which was replete with songs, antakshari etc. Spending another night in the cradle of rugged and pure nature the team started off another day of adventure at 7 in the next morning. The task was to present their projects with the things they collected on their way to the campsite and the stationary provided by the group leaders. Students’ efforts were reflected in the beautiful presentations of insects and plants decorated with leaves, sand and flowers. Awards were given to the best works and teams and now it was time to return to their abodes in the urban setting. It was indeed the hardest task they had to accomplish, to leave the tranquillity behind and retreat to the hustle and bustle of city life, but undeniably learning some valuable lessons which would be etched in their memory for all times to come.