When I was in my teens a line from Mr. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (The writer of Bande Mataram) struck a chord within me. The line was, “What should be done with this life?”. I contemplated on this line for quite some time but could not find a proper answer untill I was introduced to the International Award for Young People.
I was skeptical when I was asked by my school to join an expedition team of students and a teacher, but when I went for that I was delighted by its charms. The natural surroundings and the panoramic landscape left me overwhelming with gratitude towards my maker, God. The earth is the most beautiful and distinct planet in the solar system. God created the earth probably keeping in mind that the earth should be the next best substitute to the heaven and created us humans in his own image. But we humans are ungrateful to him as we extracted the resources from mother earth to satisfy our greed. No efforts were made on our part to sustain the beauty of this planet.
When I came back from the expedition our school’s general secretary Mr. Sarkar said, “Why don’t you represent our school for the IAYP regularly. I think you will enjoy it.” There was a catch. I knew nothing of the Award. As a first step to know what IAYP actually is I called the awardees and asked them what do they know of the organization. All they could tell me was that this institution takes us for expeditions. One day I saw a few magazines lying around in our school staff room namely the Award India, Award world. I decided to go through them. By reading those magazines I was truly introduced to the IAYP. I found the format and philosophy of the IAYP interesting as well as practical. The philosophy of the IAYP is neither very profound nor very complicated. It simply aims to create complete individuals who shall make the world a better place to live in. That was the answer to the question, ”What should be done with this life?” How is the creation of complete individuals possible? Bookish knowledge does not evolve us into complete human beings. School books do not teach us teamwork, or how to chase a goal with passion, or discipline and focus. IAYP teaches the students all this through its four sections, namely: 1) Service 2) Skill 3) Physical recreation 4) Expedition.
Working as an Award Leader has helped me realise my own potentials, work towards encourgaing participation. The Award experience keeps me feeling young and excited about growth all the time!
- Kalyani Chakraborty, Teacher and Award Leader
Manav Vikas School- Jharkhand, India Special Project