IAYP trek – building character, fostering leadership | Aga Khan Academies

IAYP trek – building character, fostering leadership

03 March 2017

To fulfil the ‘adventurous journey’ component of the International Award for Young People (IAYP), 52 Academy students from grades 8-10 travelled to Bellum Caves and Mahanandi in early February 2017.

The IAYP’s aim is to motivate young people aged between 14-25 years to get involved in voluntary and challenging self-development activities that encourage personal discovery and growth, self-reliance, perseverance, responsibility to themselves and service to their community. At the Academy, the IAYP programme has recently taken off in earnest, and the present cohort of 52 IAYP students are in the process of fulfilling requirements to attain a bronze award by the end of this academic year.  

The trek provided students with an opportunity to learn beyond the classroom; explore nature and the outdoors; test their abilities to work alongside others through various tasks; take risks and overcome their fears. It also formed one of the categories - ‘adventurous journey,’ whose mandatory completion is required to attain the IAYP award.

Below are excerpts from student reflections:

“A once in a lifetime experience in just two days, climbing mountains and walking through an enormous cave. While we laughed, danced and sung, we covered those
mountains which at one point felt higher than Mount Everest. We stayed in a beautiful resort and had one of the best bonfires. We sung while the flames took away our fears, we danced while the flames made up for our tears, we had a skit while those flames got out the talents in us, yet we strived to challenge ourselves and fight against our fears. We indeed completed our trek with great success.”  – Laiqah Khan, grade 9.

“Every part of this trek was rather special and memorable as I had never been trekking before. I was so excited and energetic throughout, and I regret that it only lasted three days. As a team leader, I learnt how to calm people and how to motivate them to defeat their fears and overcome obstacles, for instance before the valley crossing activity. At the same time, I had to motivate myself. Before we crossed, I was so anxious, but when I was actually doing it, I felt this was nothing to be afraid about and after doing it I wanted to go once again.”  – Radha Konda, grade 10.

“I actually believe that if travelling was free, no one would ever see me again. Travelling and adventurous trips have always been on the top of my bucket list. The serenity of nature and wildlife made me realize the irresistible desire I have to travel to understand one’s existence. This IAYP trek was incredible because of the supportive teachers and trek operator we had. I did not know when we were going to reach our destinations but it was never boring because of the never-ending adventures such as bouldering, rappelling, valley crossing and more. I am looking forward to be a part of more such IAYP camps for unfolding new things I have never experienced before and to reflect on life.” – Nanjiba Saraya Heeba, grade 10.