'Getting to the Award'- personal experiences by Manan Mipun, Gold Award participant from YES Centre Assam Valley School

The last question that may run through any Award participant can be “Why am I doing the Award?”

Well, the same question popped into my head as well when I decided to participate in The Award Programme. The way it happened is an interesting and really unorthodox story that I WANT to share.

As a student in 9th standard, I was going about my own business that studying and wasting time in wandering about ( yes, I am very imaginative) in my school. No, I do not consider activities such as reading, sports, art as a way of spending time cause they are there for my good, spending time implies when you have nothing to do, in fact it means you spend quality time with yourself! Anyway, one bright afternoon as I was trudging through my daily routine, an obscure notice caught my attention.
“Interested pupils to apply for IAYP, contact the teacher in charge”

At that point I don’t know why or how I joined the Award Programme in school, bearing in mind that one can easily get led into the formation of gangs, alcohol and/or substance abuse. I will agree and confess to succumbing to peer pressure at some point in my life.  

The first thing the Award did to me was that it gave me an opportunity- an opportunity to escape, to build my life (yes I was a deviant)! As I progressed through the various activities and requirements of the Award, I also picked up some valuable life skills. That is the value of working together as a team and the value of friendship among many other positive things. Yeah, sounds corny and straight out of a recruitment poster, but understanding the value of it when you begin with nothing, literally nothing is a realisation of a lifetime.

I too was sceptical with the Award at first, because I was thinking like “dude how it’s going to affect me? “ Maybe I was worried about my future at that time as I was a boarding school student then its okay to get nervous, cause my grades were not that good and maybe I was worried about my college, but slowly things started improving.

The major breakthrough that came my way was the Indo-Mauritius exchange programme in 2010. I got to learn about all about how people from different parts of the world can be so similar. The programme helped me understand how much diversity exists and also let me make lasting friendships that cannot be expressed in words.

Doing The Award Programme has taught me to be tolerant and to be patient to work hard for a goal, the challenges there taught me to that diligence and honesty can help you achieve any goal. It gave me the life I never had.

So when the question comes that whether to join the program or not? Don’t think twice about taking the leap. Just do it! It’s worth it.

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