Message from Mr. Boyd Roberts
(Founder, International Global Citizen’s Award Program)
I have worked closely with Dr. Pathma Naidu since August 2012, when she oversaw the introduction of the International Global Citizen’s Award (IGCA) at Pathways World School, Aravali, India (PWS). The introduction of the IGCA at the school has been a great success, with PWS established as the leading school in the world for the programme. Pathma worked very effectively with colleagues to ensure the widespread introduction and consolidation of the programme in the context of her school. The well-established PULSE programme, which Pathma had devised for the school, was integrated with IGCA to produce a wide-ranging comprehensive programme involving the whole senior school. Pathma also worked with colleagues in the primary school to develop the school’s own Global Citizen’s Award for the younger students, and leading into the IGCA subsequently.
Pathma’s work on various programmes and activities stems from her deep and impressive commitment to the importance of caring, compassion, respect for one another and for the environment, and practical action to make a difference; and to the development of such characteristics in young people.
During a visit to PWS, I was very impressed with the way in which the IGCA had been implemented at the school, integrated with existing activities and other programmes to form a holistic approach to the personal development of students. This fostered their awareness of the natural environment and of other people, and a commitment to working towards a better world. IGCA participants at PWS have undertaken remarkable projects and activities, benefiting the local environment and community, and a substantial number have received IGCA awards at all three levels – bronze, silver and gold. I was delighted to meet many award recipients, who were very impressive young people and global citizens.
Pathma has been a stalwart, committed and energetic supporter and champion of the IGCA, recognising its impact on individual students, the colleagues who work with students as mentors, and on the school as a whole. She has contributed fully and very helpfully to the ongoing evolution and development of the programme and I have found her perspectives and input invaluable. She has also been especially keen to promote uptake of the IGCA in India, and it was a particular pleasure to present together about the programme at a TAISI (The Association of International Schools of India) conference during my visit to India and PWS in 2015. Pathma also organised a subsequent full day workshop at PWS for schools interested in the programme, which we co-led.I was also privileged to take part in a whole school assembly on global citizenship, during which IGCA student representatives presented substantial donations to local charitable organisations.
Pathma is the designated Ambassador for the IGCA in India, recognising her support for the programme and its development.
Pathma has a deep and strong commitment to the development of young people as good global citizens and considerate, thoughtful, socially committed and contented human beings, expressed through her work on her own PULSE programme, the IGCA and in the many other activities and initiatives she promoted and introduced in her school. Pathma has been keen to become associated with a number of organisations whose work she values and feels she can contribute to. This led her to become aligned with The Charter for Compassion and she has worked closely with the Education Sector, Charter for Compassion, India resulting in her being instrumental in helping PWS become a Compassionate School.
For some time, Pathma has also wished to share her experience and knowledge with other schools, by working with them on the development of young people. Now, without the inevitable time constraints of full-time work in school, she plans to give more time to this work, including promotion of the IGCA, and offer her experience, insights and associations to other schools and organisations. She is also keen to introduce the Pulse Program as well as the Charter for Compassion to many schools and help them develop the programs in their own settings. I wish her all success in this.
My Journey Through The International Global Citizen’s Award
Written by Pancham Yadav (Student, Pathways World School)
The International Global Citizen’s Award program encourages young people to become better human beings and global citizens, through a multidimensional approach.
What started as activities for merely logging hours in, turned into qualities and habits that incorporated into my character and lifestyle. This is what the award is all about. It imbibes and integrates these basic morals and values into us. Now, at this point, I can say that I have matured with each passing level. Whether it was being good with money, environmental responsibility, working with others, personal community service, advocacy and persuasion or active participation in decision making; there has been no area which has been left untouched. Reiterating, what I stated earlier, IGCA polishes the personality of an individual equipping him/her with the skills to be called a Global Citizen.
During my Bronze level, I was looking for activities which I could work on. I became aware that by making small changes in my lifestyle can make a great impact on the personality. I started to learn the importance of being good with money. I realised that money saved is money earned. With simple efforts like cycling to my tuition classes, I was achieving two targets; reducing my carbon footprint and being good with money. I started to make a conscious effort to save electricity and water and now it has become an integral part of my life. Buying things after comparing prices and choosing the best price; using online shopping portals for buying books at lucrative discounts; opening a bank account to deposit the savings; all these were the milestones in this journey.
I started my major project, which is called TechLiter@cy, as an endeavour to enrich the students of a less privileged school with the technical skills. At that time, I had not imagined that I will be doing it for three consecutive years, from Bronze to Gold. I loved the whole experience of having touched the lives of so many children. It not only boosted my confidence but also filled my heart with compassion, humility and gratitude. With every session I conduct over there, I feel that I am getting one more step closer to my dream of making all children aware about the marvels of technology in the modern world and its importance in our future. I wish to take it up even further from here, hoping to achieve greater successes with it in the future.
I have become aware about my responsibility about the environment and I try to do my bit towards saving the environment by saying no to plastic bags, using organic products, using refills to reduce plastic waste, observing cracker free Diwali and many other things. I also participated in the cleaning drives as I believed that every little step will make a big difference. The IGCA has given me a vision and path to move towards this direction.
IGCA is not just another award; it’s a way of life. It has metamorphosed me from a shy and introvert person to a confident, responsible and passionate individual who strives for the betterment of society. It has infused leadership qualities in me and encouraged me to take charge. It gives me a sense of achievement and accomplishment to have made a difference to the society.
Excerpts from the IGCA Gold Level Reflections
from some of the Pathways World School students
“It all started with the Pathways PULSE program in grade 11. From talking about issues of global importance to actually stepping out into the arena, has been possible because of the International Global Citizens Award program and the Green Brigade community activities… I have certainly evolved over the years and actualized the underlying principles of the PULSE program.” – Subhashree Rath, Gr.12 (2013-2014)
“It is actually my journey through the IGCA program that has required me to reflect and record the significant events in my life over the last two years. This reflection has enabled me to realise how and to what degree I have developed and grown over these two years… I feel truly proud and fulfilled.” – Sonali Bansal, Gr.12 (2013-2014)
“My journey with the IGCA started through the P.U.L.S.E (Pathways of Universal Life Support Education) Programme, which mentored and encouraged us to take the journey forward as we developed our Personal Understanding, Learning, Style & Expression (P.U.L.S.E.). It has been an amazing journey for me and now P.U.L.S.E. for me stands for: P- PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, U- UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE, L- LEARNING THE ART OF WORKING WITH OTHERS, S- SELF ACTUALISATION, E- EARTH TO UNIVERSE
The four components of IGCA are firmly embedded in my heart & mind and I will always remain a Global Citizen.” – Megha Agarwal Gr,12 (2013-14)
“It felt extremely good to be a part of something bigger and care about a “world beyond me”. I feel the true sense of being international is now a part of my consciousness and my way forward is to ensure development and progress globally.” – Deus Bajaj Gr.12 (2013-14)
“It’s not the destination that is the gold IGCA award it is the journey that is the most important. The journey of IGCA through bronze to silver to gold has shaped me and made me a person that I never thought I could become. Being a global citizen is not just a title it is a way of life now. I have become a global citizen for life. It has become my Consciousness. My way forward now is to do more for my community by starting some projects or working with places like the Harmony House. I come from a small town called Madhubani and that is the place where I would like to begin.” – Richa Manjari Gr.12 (2013-14)
“I am very grateful for the PULSE & the IGCA journey in PWS, for providing me with this impactful opportunity to grow as a person, who understands not only her own people but also people from other places and other mental dispositions.” -Jasmine Kaur Gr. 12 (2013-14)
“When I sat down to write my Gold level reflections, I noticed that without realizing it, I was doing all the activities necessary to fulfil the criteria. These were activities that were to eventually result in me becoming far more global, open-minded, understanding, helpful and forward-thinking, and I remember that two and a half years ago I simply saw them as a pain in my side; as things that I had to get done. But over time, they have become things that I enjoyed doing. I don’t need to be prompted by an award program to undertake activities that are ultimately going to lead to my self-development; my interest in them now comes naturally and I truly believe that I now have the capacity to take on the world with compassion, drive and open-mindedness. What I’m trying to convey is that the IGCA program pushed me to accomplish things that I was initially reluctant to do, but in the process I gained a monumental amount of invaluable knowledge and a plethora of skills that will continue to help me even forty years from now. Even at the Gold Level, after all this time, reflecting upon the activities it did, make me realize that I had gained so much knowledge since my Silver level. I realized that we never stop learning and that there’s always scope to do more for the world and for oneself, but to be open to doing that, one must be global in one’s thinking and in one’s actions and I think through the course of this award program, I’ve been able to achieve that.” – Sasha Gopalakrishnan Gr. 11 (2014-15)
“I believe through this experience I have transformed from a teenager oblivious to social problems and concerned solely with her own life, to a teenager aware of the latest issues around her and ready to contribute to the society in her own small ways. I believe my experience has been extra special, as after doing this award I feel that I, as an individual can make differences in the world I live in and can turn things around by setting an example. By not focusing on the negativities and actually taking action and ownership, I can make an impact in the community I live in.
I see a lot of promise in this award as it enables young naïve children/teenagers to gain confidence and make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. IGCA has given me a firm ground in understanding who I really am and what I am actually passionate about. Most importantly, IGCA has taught me to “Be the change I want to see in this world”. I believe this award gives students an opportunity to reflect on the little things they have been doing and understand the global implications of their actions. This award will go a long way with many students becoming active and enthusiastic global citizens. Also, regardless of which university I attend in the future, I will continue inspiring and leading people and most importantly I will continue being a true Global Citizen.” – Sharvani Shakambari Gr.12 (2014-15)
“What started as activities to merely log hours in, turned into qualities & habits that got incorporated into my character & lifestyle. The IGCA is not just another award; it’s a way of life. It has metamorphosed me from a shy & introvert person to a confident, responsible & passionate individual, who strives for the betterment of society (TechLiter@cy & Environmental projects).” – Pancham Yadav Gr. 11 (2014-15)
“I signed up for the IGCA program not for the credit that I receive for completing it, but for the experience and the will to want to actually change my complacent self, in an effort to become a better person. During the IGCA journey, I have realised how blessed I am and have become grateful for getting the opportunity to do something meaningful, thereby making me feel fulfilled & happy.” – Pratyush Swarup Gr.12 (2014-15)
“As I read my reflections from Bronze through Gold today, I see a stark difference between my oblivious past and enlightened present. The award has truly shaped me into a better contributing citizen of my society and has paved a path to a better future as a human being. At the Gold Level, it is no longer about getting the award, but about making sure I do the very best I can to make the world a better and more sustainable place for present as well as future generations.” – Angad Sodhi Gr.12 (2014-15)
“IGCA is not a journey that I had to complete in order to reach my goals. It is the path that I need to walk on, all my life to achieve my goals and move beyond them. On this path, I have evolved. I have understood more about my community, my society, my country and my world. But, most importantly, I have understood more about myself. I have understood that there is so much that I have and can offer to this world.” – Akhil Bansal Gr.12 (2014-15)
The Journey of a Lifetime
By Pancham Yadav, Pathways World School
In the first semester of his Grade 12, Pancham Yadav, presented to the mentors of the IGCA in PWS, the elaborate and comprehensive recording with reflections of the projects he had undertaken, post his Gold Level (which he completed in his Grade 11). He titled this as ‘The Journey of a Lifetime’.
In September 2015 when Mr. Boyd Roberts, the Founder of IGCA, visited PWS, this outstanding recording with reflections was presented to him. There was a school wide assembly organised during Mr. Roberts’ visit, and on behalf of the school, Mr. Roberts presented Pancham with ‘An Exceptional Global Citizen” award.
The Journey of a Lifetime International Global Citizen’s Award – Pancham Yadav
Major Project: Green Millennium
For my bronze level, a couple of friends and I had gone for a small clean-up to the Aravali hills, close to our school. Although we received a lot of appreciation for our work, we never really took this field of work too seriously. We thought that this would be a one-off thing, and just another diverse thing to add to our community service portfolios. But this was going to get much bigger in the future. We just didn’t know it yet.
After the end of the second semester of the eleventh grade, I decided to sit down and plan out my summer. I made a list of all the academics I need to do, all the college prep I need to be ready with and the other miscellaneous tasks. Then I came to the ‘community service’ part. I smiled to myself. I had an idea, for a long time now. It was time to implement it. I needed the help of my friends – but we would do it. I had a vision. Now all I needed was execution.
And that’s how Green Millennium was born.
Green Millennium Project #1: Clean-On Campaign
We kick started the #Clean-On campaign at DLF Galleria, with a small clean-up. One of the busiest markets in Gurgaon and yet, with one of the dirtiest surrounding areas. We chose a parking, which also happens to be one of the primary entries into the market, which was very dirty. When we started cleaning, we attracted a lot of attention from people nearby. The waste we collected was disposed safely in one of the dustbins, within the market.
We headed to the main parking lot at the back of DLF Galleria, which has a lot of trash piled up right at the entrance/exit. This part of the market is often neglected, as it’s on the outskirts and belongs to private contractors.
Just to add some context to this, for the readers, DLF is one of the biggest real estate developers in India. And the city that I live in, Gurgaon, happens to be the home-ground to DLF’s most behemoth architectural and real estate projects across the country. Over the years, they’ve made state-of-the-art infrastructure, including condominiums, golf courses, clubs, malls and markets.
Galleria is one of the oldest, yet prestigious markets of Gurgaon, built and maintained by DLF. It’s said to be in a “posh” area – that of DLF Phase IV.
We regularly visit Galleria for various things, and every time we go there, we notice a lot of littered waste on the outskirts of the market.
Since there are various plots that are empty as their owners haven’t constructed anything on them, they have been converted to parking lots. Now these ‘parking lots’ are very rustic and unrefined – with uneven land, dirt tracks, and no proper demarcation of parking zones.
People take this very casually and litter a lot. Even the owners don’t care about the cleanliness of the parking lots, because they get their parking fees in any case.
Due to this attitude and lack of attention, one of the finest places of our city – DLF Galleria, gives a very bad impression for visitors.
Even though the locals are used to this, why should we accept all this neglection?
This is the mindset with which we proceeded to clean up this parking lot at DLF Galleria.
It was an immense success. At Galleria, we not only cleaned up a whole parking lot and disposed the waste, we also attracted a lot of attention of the people who were roaming around the market. Some even stopped by to click pictures of us. It was shocking and surprising for them, to see a group of teenagers doing the work that is normally expected of poor, government-paid garbage-pickers. Some of them stopped by and asked me why we’re doing this. I told them that this is something that is our collective responsibility, as residents of Gurgaon and citizens of India. Our honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi himself launched a whole dedicated campaign called Clean India, in order to inspire Indians to practice cleanliness and be more aware of their surroundings.
After this day, and specifically this clean-up, I was a more determined person. I had my goal set. This project was going to go a long way, and I would do whatever it takes to ensure that.
Now, we come to Part 2.
The Aravali Biodiversity Park is located on the Haryana-Delhi border.
Yet again, just to add a little context for our readers, the Aravali’s are this interstate mountain range that are spread across Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan. The Aravali’s have played a prominent role in the history of India – since the Mughal Empire. These hills gave tactical advantage to many kingdoms and emperors and valleys have been the site of many battles.
In the modern world, the Aravali’s have turned into an exotic feature of Gurgaon. They offer an escape from the urban life and are the only traces of nature that still remain in the city. Pathways World School is built on the Aravalis. That’s why the environment and ambience of our school is so unique and unconventional.
The Aravali Biodiversity Park is a huge sanctuary, which is an embodiment of the various species of flora and fauna of the Aravalis. Maintained by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), this park attracts lot of morning walkers, cyclists, and even photographers. I go there very often with my father, as we both love to go on ‘nature walks’, early in the morning.
Quite recently, I started noticing litter lying around more often than ever. It only meant one thing – the people who come here to walk, often to have picnics with their families and are the ones who leave their waste here in the park. This is something appalling. The only reserve of nature in our city, and this is how we treat it?
I told my friends, that it was time we do Part 2 of the Clean On campaign, and clean the Aravali Biodiversity Park up, as much as we can!
So, there we were, in the hot and humid weather, in one of the most ironical settings ever. We were in the middle of nature, yet in the middle of a heap of waste. Waste that didn’t belong here. Waste that should have been disposed properly, elsewhere. We took large waste collection bags with us and put as much as we could collect into it. We trekked a lot in the hills and tried to map almost 75% of the area. The waste we finally collected was immense.
Despite the weather and the murky conditions that we were working in, we had a lot of fun. It felt like we were on an adventure, making our way through the woods and the rocky terrain – looking for waste to collect. There were places where we could hear insects and snakes, and that added to the element of excitement. We jumped across large stones and skimmed through sand. We found bizarre objects and clicked a lot of pictures!
The Green Millennium team busy at work!
At the Aravali Biodiversity Park.
After the success of Part 2, at the Aravali Biodiversity Park, ……. Part 3 of the Clean On campaign came in no time at all!
Next up, our team headed to the HUDA City Centre area, where we planned to do our next clean-up. We weren’t surprised when the first green belt we saw also turned out to be the dirtiest. So, there we were, with our garbage bags and cleaning material – ready to begin our work.
Once we began, it took hours to get the place clean. The area was quite big – bigger than what we had expected. There was so much waste. So much of it. All forms of it. It was really tedious work. There were 7inch layers of waste, so even when we removed some from the top, there would only be more waiting underneath. Nevertheless, we didn’t give up. Some people sitting nearby were watching us from a distance.
Finally, it was clean. We clicked before/after pictures too. The next challenge we faced, was finding a proper place for the disposal of these seven huge bags of trash that we had collected from our clean-up. We tried looking around but there was no place in our vicinity. That’s when we realized the root of this problem. There are tons of waste in these areas simply due to the absence of dustbins or some sort of disposal facility.
This is when, we vowed that we will dedicate our work towards providing dustbins to the city, which will play a huge role in keeping it clean.
Even after being done, there were still so many similar green belts all over this area, which really didn’t do justice to their ‘green’ name. We started with one today. There is a lot of work to be done in the future and a lot of things to improve. This is only the beginning.
I am glad that we could inspire some of the kids who were watching us all this while. This is why I believe so strongly in the power of our #Clean On campaign. It’s all about the power of inspiration and self-motivation.
A before/after picture of the area we cleaned up. Amazing, isn’t it?
Eight BIG bags full of waste! And this was only one small ‘green belt’ in Gurgaon! There are hundreds more of these, across the city. We are glad to have made a difference!
The Green Millennium Team, after a hard day’s work!
A picture that I took, with the two kids who were inspired by the work we did. It was a proud moment, when they walked up to us and handed us a bag of garbage that they had collected themselves. We gave each of them a chocolate and promised that we’ll visit them regularly!
Green Millennium Project #2
The Waste Bucket Challenge
Congratulations! You have made it to the part of these reflections that I am personally most excited to write about. As the title suggests, this is about the Waste Bucket Challenge. Perhaps one of the craziest ideas that I’ve ever had, but also one of the most impactful.
First, have a look at the screenshot below.
In case you couldn’t make out, this is the Green Millennium Facebook page. Yes! We went social.
On the 1st of July, I created and published our Facebook page. It was time to showcase our work. But we premiered something else along with that…something that was in the pipeline for a very long time now…something that we had been incessantly planning…
The Waste Bucket Challenge
Here is an abstract (taken from our Facebook page) –
The Waste Bucket Challenge, a Green Millennium initiative, is an embodiment of our vision for a cleaner and greener India.
The rules are simple:
1. Grab a bucket.
2. Find any place which you think you can make cleaner (be it your locality) – even in the smallest of ways.
3. Fill the bucket (or more) with waste.
4. Click a picture of yourself, with the waste bucket.
5. Make sure you dispose the waste in an appropriate manner.
6. Upload the picture on Facebook, with the hashtag #WasteBucketChallenge, and tag our Facebook page (@Green Millennium) in it. Make a pledge, along with the picture, about your efforts relating to the environment.
7. Nominate a minimum of 5 people to take the challenge.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Help us spread awareness and reach out to every one of the 1.25 billion people in our country.
Bucket by bucket, let’s make our country a cleaner place to live in.
Soon after posting pictures on our page, we started receiving an overwhelming response from our friends, teachers and family. Everyone was supporting us through this.
It was absolutely wonderful to see the boom in stats. More than two thousand people saw our posts, which was astounding. I could never have imagined this. The appreciation and feedback we got was overwhelming.
The ‘audience’ on our Facebook page was not just Indian – but from many countries across the world! That is what inspired us. That’s the power of social media, and the beauty of social work. I believe that social work and social media walk hand in hand. Social media (Facebook, for example) become a better place when you get to see social work being done, or awareness being spread, instead of the quotidian political news. Social work becomes much more successful with the aid of social media. That way, one can reach out to a much larger, or rather, much more global audience. A fan following can be built, and it becomes easier to get more volunteers, by connecting with like-minded people over the Internet.
Now, speaking in the IGCA’s context, I would like you to look closely at the picture above. These were the page visit statistics only 3 days (72 hours) after we first published our page. As you can see, we had visitors from countries like Singapore, USA, Germany, UK, Brazil, Pakistan, Mexico and Sudan. That makes it 5 out of 7 continents. This, I believe, is what defines global. A united, global community…a global perspective. A common, global goal of making the world a greener place to live in.
The IGCA has multiple facets such as being good with money, personal community service, understanding cultural outlooks and more. It’s an ‘award’ that has been tailor-made to develop one into a true, open-minded Global Citizen. But I believe that there is a little catch to this. Something that is overlooked by most people in the initial stages of this program.
Even though it can be said that this program develops all aspects of a human, I think that there is always this one area that resonates with you the most. That’s what happened to me, with Personal Community Service. As you can see, throughout my journey, most of my projects have been centered around community service – whether it was TechLiter@cy (computer education for underprivileged students in Government Schools), or Green Millennium projects related to the environment.
But there is more….
Being a computer science student and a technology aficionado, I’ve always been a fan of apps. Apps, which are essentially abridged versions of the word “applications” (credits to modern world nomenclature). As a hobbyist, I love developing apps myself, and I love learning about latest programming techniques and software development kits that are available!
This March, I got a wonderful opportunity. I was reading The Times of India, as always, when I came across a very unique advertisement, which read “Times App Search”. On further exploration, I realized that this was a perfect platform to showcase my app ideas. A platform that would get my ideas proper recognition and perhaps give me the opportunity to interact with top-level officers of leading tech companies that would provide me insight on my ideas.
The competition didn’t want us to develop apps, but to develop app ideas. The best ideas, voted by judges, would be professionally developed by app development teams and released on public stores such as the App Store on iOS and the Play Store on Android.
Inspired by the IGCA’s Personal Community Service, which, by now, had become an integral part of my conscience, I decided to develop a waste-management platform. This would be called SwachhApp. Swachh, in Hindi, means Clean.
So, on the 15th of March, after much planning, I headed to the Times Group Headquarters, in Udyog Vihar, Gurgaon, to present my idea. Their office building was unbelievably beautiful. When I met the other participants, I came to realize that I was the youngest over there. Everyone else was either in their 20s or in their 30s. My presentation lasted 15 minutes
Two days later, I got a call from them, telling me that I had made it to the finals. I was ebullient. On the inside, I was glad to have developed this idea. Not only did it have social benefits, but it also had scope for entrepreneurship. So, I went to Le Meridien, New Delhi, where the grand finale was hosted. It was a wonderful setup and I learned a lot from the people I met.
I won a 6-month online scholarship, sponsored by MasterClass, in order to further my concepts of app development with Android and iOS. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.
This was my Concept Note:
The app will be used when citizens amass a threshold amount of material that they must recycle. All they need to do is tap a button to request collection and specify the general categories of waste (paper, plastic, compost, electronic, etc.). The app will include tutorials on how to segregate waste and offer cash incentives to do so.
The Collection Equation
By analysing all requests, the app will optimize a route for each member of the collection department (using the latest operations research algorithms) and give users an ECT (Estimated Collection Time). Collectors will be given uniforms and trained to conduct themselves with utmost professionalism. Their medium of transportation will be the small tempo-trucks and will transport waste to a processing facility of one of our partners (mentioned below).
The current Kabaadi Walas can be leveraged in this process, recruited by our company. This will ensure a more reliable income and better working conditions.
SwachhApp can also bring game dynamics to the process. SwachhApp would be able to sync with the user’s Contacts and even connect to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. The app could set monthly Goals to increase enjoyment and interest. On the completion of certain Goals, there could be certificates or cash prizes.
We can also include a Leader board that will show each user their rank amongst their friends and nationally. There can even be competitions between apartment complexes or streets.
SwachhApp can also collaborate with recycling plants and NGOs that specialize in waste treatment, and they can become permanent clients.
SwachhApp can feature two types of accounts: Residential and Corporate. Corporations have a lot of waste accumulated in their offices. By using this app, corporations can get favourable publicity and CSR credit. The corporations can even get official Certificates from all SwachhApp’s NGO partners.
The best part about this app is that it will receive support from the government, amalgamating the ideologies of both of Narendra Modi’s campaigns – Swachh Bharat and Digital India. Times of India can publicize it during the Raahgiri days, to ensure immediate traction.
Integration with current mygov.in website
The website currently has a devoted section to Swachh Bharat and features various challenges/achievements in a timeline format.
Once SwachhApp is developed, it can be integrated into the #MyCleanIndia section and be featured on the home page of mygov.in also.
The first two screens, from which users can select the category of waste that they want collected! The User Interface (UI) has been designed to be absolutely simple, so that the user experience is seamless.
After Step 1, choosing the categories of waste, the next step is as simple as confirming your order and your account (collection) details! Once confirmed, the collection will happen within 24 hours!
Users also have an option to upload their progress pictures as Before / After, through SwachhApp. Due to its integration with social media such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, users can easily share their efforts and help spread the word of cleanliness to all their contacts and friends!
A few weeks later, this event was featured in the newspaper! (In picture below, I am the third person from the right)
My Project with Green-O-Tech
A paper recycling bonanza
It’s finally time to talk about one of my projects that went on for more than 6 months. It involved an external NGO, that I mentioned in my Gold Level reflections. Green-O-Tech is an NGO based in Delhi, that is very unique in its nature. It’s not your typical waste recycling company. In fact, it’s an NGO that collects wastepaper from people and companies, and it recycles them for free.
It gets even better. In return for all the paper and as a token of thanks for the benevolence of the people who donate, Green-O-Tech gives back a commensurate amount of stationery (in the form of notebooks, pencils and more). To top it all up, this NGO plants trees, in an allocated location in Delhi, in the name of its benefactors.
I had contacted Green-O-Tech around six months back and had been accumulating newspapers since then. Now, the catch here is that Green-O-Tech only collects paper waste if the total weight is 300kg or more. Collecting 300 kilos of newspaper is not an easy task. It takes months and months of effort and resilience. The newspapers we get every day, on an average, weigh only a few grams. And we’re dealing with hundreds of kilos here.
So yes. This was the task. I had a plan set in my mind – I would collect all this newspaper only so that I could get stationery in return and donate it to a government school or any other organization that teaches underprivileged children who, quite often, don’t even have books and pens, to study. Without books and other stationery, it’s impossible to grasp any concepts well. Especially with rudimentary and essential subjects like Mathematics and English.
Finally, when the Green-O-Tech people came to my place to collect all the newspaper, they were astonished themselves. Seeing such a large pile of newspapers – that too in the storeroom of an apartment! That’s not something common, and they were delighted to see the effort and commitment towards their own cause. They weighed the collected newspaper on a scale and provided me with 80 notebooks in return.
When I finally received the notebooks, I felt very happy for a variety of reasons.
For starters, I was very happy that such small actions everyday added up to this. A good analogy would be – the satisfaction when you see a whole bucket of water, after leaving it under a tap that leaked one drop per day. It was fulfilling to think that I had gone against the conventional way of simply disposing waste and done something productive out of it – something that caused a greater good for a greater number of people.
I really encourage everyone, especially my friends to do the same and support NGO’s like Green-O-Tech – ones with a true innovative approach on dealing with recycling and waste management.
Soon, I will be collecting more of these books and stationery and donating them all to the BG Foundation (an NGO that provides education to the kids of laborers and maids).
The IGCA is not just another award. It is a way of life.
My Understanding of the International Global Citizen’s Award (IGCA) Components
Written by Unnathi Kumar (Student, Pathways World School)
I am Unnathi Kumar, an 11th-grade student from Pathways World School, Aravali. In April 2020, I completed my IGCA journey, having obtained the final Gold Level in the IGCA Program.
Given that I was associated with the programme right from the home-grown GCA early on in my primary years, I’d like to say that my long journey has been extremely gratifying and has taught me a lot, especially with regards to my understanding of the IGCA components. I attempt to demonstrate the same in this article.
- Understanding other cultures and outlooks
‘Understanding other cultures and outlooks’ is the one component that I consider to be the most central to the IGCA ideology.
Having noticed it as a strand in Pathways’ home-grown GCA programme in primary school as well, I have grown to believe that, as the world turns into a global village with globalization as its aide, it is crucial for any ‘global citizen’ to understand other cultures. As a ‘global citizen’ understands other cultures, you also ascertain that cultures have a substantial impact on outlooks, as cultures yield systems of outlook- and decision-altering beliefs and values. Therefore, the interpretation of cultures and outlooks are only two sides of the same coin – a ‘global citizen’ cannot have one without the other – and for the same, I would like to believe that they are clubbed together under a strand.
However, the importance of understanding other cultures and outlooks goes well-beyond only acquiring the tag of a ‘global citizen.’ Not only does it help you gain a better perspective of the world by understanding the correlation between cultures and outlooks, as stated previously, but it also helps you appreciate your own culture and, ultimately, craft your own comprehensive outlook.
To explain, when you undertake the endeavour of understanding other cultures and outlooks, you get a better understanding of your own culture by realizing how distinct it is. This then catalyses an implicit mental comparison, wherein you weigh up your own outlook (stemming from your culture’s beliefs and values) against another outlook from a different culture (stemming from that particular culture’s beliefs and values). From the same, you form an outlook that is can almost be considered best of breed, having incorporated the most favourable and appealing beliefs and values from several cultures.
Similarly, through the IGCA programme and the events in school, I have grasped this strand and its importance to a level that I would deem to be thorough. For example, annually, during the in-school celebrations of India’s Independence Day, it has been an age-old norm to also acknowledge the Independence Day celebrations of Korea (15th of August) and Pakistan (14th of August), even despite political turmoil with the latter. Having seen similar events since the time I joined the school fraternity (2012), the reflections on their occurrences through the IGCA Programme have assisted me in engraining the acknowledgement of other cultures into my subconscious.
- Personal Global Footprint
Personal Global Footprint can be defined as the effect that an individual has on the world, including the environment and the people of the world.
As global citizens, it is impossible for us to not have a personal global footprint at all. Hence, the IGCA Programme further motivates its participants to strive for a positive personal global footprint, whether with reference to the environment or people.
To obtain a personal global footprint environmentally, global citizens need to primarily be cognizant of their environmental responsibilities. The environment is one of the few things today, in this era of rampant exclusion, that everyone shares, regardless of race, caste, creed, gender, etc. Resultantly, everybody has an impact on the environment, especially through our production of waste and use of resources. So, to curb the negative impact that we may leave on the environment, we must strive to make environment-friendly changes to our lifestyles.
Bearing this in mind with the realizations that undertaking the IGCA programme as brought to me, over the past few years, I have not only been recycling the newspapers that I receive at my home, but have also been conducting newspaper drives across my apartment complex to collect newspapers for recycling with a local organization, known as ‘Green-o-Bin.’ To propel the cause forward, I have also donated the products of the recycled newspaper (such as notebooks, pens, etc.) to charitable educational organizations across the city, an endeavour which can also be corroborated from my IGCA Community Service Projects for the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Levels.
However, the reach of one’s Personal Global Footprint is not limited to only one’s environmental impact with carbon footprint. The IGCA also considers one’s money-managing skills as part of this strand. As the privileged, we have the monetary resources to provide the first push for a positive change. Therefore, we need to be mindful of how we are spending that money and what kind of impact it has. To do so, one must imbibe ethical consumerism to ensure that your purchased commodities are not harmful and are within ethical boundaries – if you were to money on a commodity that is beyond your ethical boundaries, you must keep in mind that the same money could instead be used to transform another underprivileged individual’s life.
- Working with others
“No man is an island.” –John Donne
Generally, collaboration is critical for success, as everybody has varied skill sets and has something to contribute towards the achievement of certain goals and objectives. As a global citizen, too, working with others is important to ensure inclusivity of perception and individuals in all collaborative processes, including decision-making.
However, working with others does not necessarily have to include working with someone on a team project. Working with others can also mean working for others. Keeping that in mind, community service is one of the ways that the IGCA propounds working with/for others, regardless of whether you initiate an individual or team community service project as your actions benefit the community with those ‘others.’
Furthermore, along with community service, working for others can also include advocating a cause that stirs you or persuading others to take interest in that cause – simply the will to ensure that something is done about the cause, regardless of its coverage by others, is an endeavour to work with and influence others. Advocacy and persuasion could even begin by informing your parents of an issue that you feel strongly about and explaining your stance. For example, annually, during Diwali, I advocate against the burning of firecrackers within my family, so much so that, at this point, my nuclear family does not purchase firecrackers anymore – the effort does not have to be big or small, it simply has to create an impact.
Effective global citizenship also includes decision-making and leadership. Similarly, when advocating for causes that you feel strongly for, you lead and partake in active decision-making, by ensuring that the decisions have a positive impact on everyone around.
- Reflecting on change and development in oneself
As the IGCA programme strives to catalyze a galvanic change in one’s thinking and system of life throughout its three phases, it is important for us to take note of our development as well.
Within your daily life itself, there are several minute uprisings that you may fail to pay adequate heed to, but those end up influencing you in an unnoticed way. Every book that we read, every conversation that we have, every new concept that we learn – all of them tend to influence our convictions in some way, but the realization of that slips away by our inability to record the same routinely.
Hence, as the IGCA programme encourages the recording and reflection of one’s developing knowledge and awareness, participants can look back and see how certain events have majestically shaped us as global citizens. These changes in opinion may also inform us of certain notions that we may want to reflect on further as our mindsets progress.
In these growing years, it is especially critical for an individual to record how they developed mentally, to ensure that if their thoughts every go astray, they can nab the point where it occurred and bring the same back on track efficiently. Moreover, recording these changes and developments in yourself can help you compare your perceptions with those of others, honing your thought process in accordance with the first strand of the IGCA.
With reference to that, I believe that I am incontrovertibly not the same person, physically and mentally, that I was in 2015, when I began the IGCA Programme. I can say so with confidence because I have recorded and reflected upon the change and development in myself and have thus understood, for example, why I have begun to accept certain viewpoints.
For example, I may not have felt as strongly about a cause like women’s rights back in 2015, but as I stand today as an IGCA Gold aspirant in 2020, the experiences that I have garnered over the course of the past five years have definitely led me to feel more strongly about the cause, and the IGCA reflections have helped me narrow down that change in myself.
My Journey from Bronze to Gold (a part of the Gold level Reflections)
I completed the Silver Level of my IGCA back in the second semester of the 8th grade and commenced with my reflections and project for Gold towards the latter half of the same year. However, there was a gap of almost seven to eight months in-between. As a result, as is the rule with time, change is inevitable, therefore within that gap of a few months, I would say that there was a change, although it may not have been drastic, within my mindset, personality, thought process, among others. The events that took place around the globe and around me would have certainly catalyzed a change within me, changing my perceptions, too. I matured over that time, gaining more knowledge, which would clearly reflect in my understanding of a few concepts and notions that have been broached in both my gold reflections and silver reflections.
Moreover, for the reason that I completed my PULSE E-Journal Entries between Silver and Gold, I got a more comprehensive understanding of notions that would have otherwise seemed abstract to me, such as ‘Tolerance,’ ‘Acceptance,’ and ‘Respect,’ therefore between Silver and Gold, there was a development in my understanding, as well. In addition, as I grew older between Silver and Gold, certain ideas entered my purview, which I was alien to at a younger age, and now, I knew of more uprisings that were taking place in the world, gaining a more comprehensive idea of the world we live in altogether. Further, I grew more curious, and learnt how to voice my opinions more clearly with the difference in age. As a result, I feel that my Gold Reflections are more holistic than my Silver Reflections, as they incorporate more ideas and critical outlooks that I would have otherwise been able to perceive at a younger age.
Moreover, in accordance with the fourth strand of the IGCA, which is ‘reflecting on change and development in oneself,’ I can confidently say that doing the Gold Level of the IGCA programme has sprouted a change in my way of thinking. As the IGCA encourages its participants, to record and reflect on their ideas, especially in adolescence wherein the knowledge and ideas are currently in a developing stage, I have had the opportunity to develop as a global citizen and accurately pinpoint the change in my personality.
These IGCA reflections, bronze, silver, and gold, have broadened my understanding of the world, so much so that the IGCA is not merely an award programme, for its impact on one’s life is even larger; I can confidently say that the IGCA has motivated me to think twice about my actions, to ensure that they do not hurt an individual, thus you are not a global citizen through the programme once, but you are a global citizen throughout your life – this is crucial for me to understand, at this stage, as I complete the last stage of the IGCA programme. The IGCA has made me more open-minded, which has been an asset as part of the Middle School Student Council, and has refined my problem-solving approach, making it more action-based, as I now look at a problem as not a mere bone of contention, but as something that requires a solution. Conclusively, I would say that the IGCA, from silver to gold, has made me an individual with an even more open mind and heart.
Raise the Curtains
By Mauraya Sharma
In the serenity of my room, creepers climb in through the window. Plants fill up my personal space. In reality, as well as in the latest painting I am making. Nature is a part of my being. I am no Greta Thunberg but just a drop in the ocean of love for nature and environment. To quote Mother Teresa, “the ocean would be but one drop less”, if not for me. Imbibing the principles of IGCA, I am a proud Global Citizen, aware of the environment around me, contributing to it in my small way, I connect with people having developed the ability to see people and not colour, to empathise and to embrace different cultures, living my life Mindfully.
My journey with being a Global Citizen, started during my primary years when I was introduced to the PWS-GCA (PWS-Global Citizen’s Award) program. In my young and curious mind, it ignited a yearning for saving the environment. At school we were taken out to the fields to spend time and to connect with nature. We were sensitized to the plastic litter and its impact on nature. We went around picking plastic from the fields, though there wasn’t much litter. All this led to my participating enthusiastically in the garbage segregation project in my condominium. I, along with my fellow participants went door to door to educate the residents on how to segregate the garbage as well as its necessity. Not only did this strengthen my resolve to contribute to saving the environment, but this also gave me the opportunity to develop the confidence to be able to communicate with adults. The resolve is my motivation to date, as I go every monsoon season to plant trees on the Aravalis.
Gender issues have been deep rooted in our society, so entrenched that often we are not even aware of it. In my journey, IGCA brought these issues to the fore and forced us to confront them and to be ever sensitive to them and to be forever liberated of gender bias. So liberated, I conducted a four-episode radio show on gender sensitive stories from Indian mythology and did a play on the same issue.
“There is nothing ‘heavier’ (or more impactful) than Compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes”. Empathy. The genesis of my being. Will I be me without it? I would eternally be grateful to my numerous PULSE lessons that drilled this feeling into me and gave this dimension to my personality. Making numerous paper cranes in the memory of Sadako Sasaki might have been just a fun task in my primary school but the underlying lesson has been well imbibed.
A chance meeting with some tribal people from Gujarat, led me to their native village in the jungles of Dangs, to their homes to sit and interact with them, to learn from them their wonderful craft of bamboo jewellery making. Sitting under a thatched roof, joyfully engaging with them,was one of the most significant moments of my life. I created a short documentary of my meeting with them to highlight their craft and to popularise it.
When I look back at all my reflections, I understand the best part of it, is change – “Change is the only constant thing” as stated by a very famous man, Heraclitus. We grow up and learn things we might have never thought we would know through our journey. We’ll travel a pathway with curves and intersections, and that’s where we’ll meet new people, new thoughts, new understanding or experience a different environment.
With all of this and with the help of introspection, we evolve and develop as humans and as life-long learners. The values and believes I have today, stem from the deep-rooted cultural connections the GCA brought in me, from my Primary School years. They have grown deeper and expanded to many other realms in my consciousness, as I participated in the IGCA Program in Middle School and am proud to be a Gold Level awardee of the IGCA. Having completed my journey through both the PWS -GCA & the IGCA programs, I can confidently state that all that I have learned so far has set the stage for my continued growth and development as a Global Citizen.
Today, I am a young film maker having made my second film on the topic of unrequited desire. I undertake international short courses on film making and come in contact with other young adults from various countries and cultures. I am confident to mingle with these people and make friends and exchange ideas without being the least conscious of their nationality, colour or culture. I can truly say that I have become a Global Citizen in its truest form.
I must add that one of the biggest contributions of IGCA program in PWS to my life, is to teach me the principle of Mindfulness. To be aware of who I am and what I do in every moment of my life. Being an artist, it helps me to connect with my inner self, my true feelings and I love to be immersed in myself as I paint. Mindfulness is an ongoing process and I cannot claim to have mastered it but all I can say is that I try to be mindful through every moment of my life.
Now I’m prepared for the world. No matter the situation I will succeed. Raise the curtains!
A Journey towards spreading my Tentacles
By Exploring the PULSE Program
By Shreeya Suri
‘Mind is like water: slightest of turbulence, and it is difficult to reflect with full clarity. But when it is calm, everything becomes more lucid.’ Well, it seems like the expression is befitting for a student’s understanding of his/her own mental wellbeing. Over the glorious and inspiring years at Pathways World School Aravali , there has been a constant endeavour in rendering the ‘International Global Citizens Award’, an enriched platform for students, wherein the diversity of thought-flow uplifts the ability of a student to reflect with a paradigm shift and advocate learning beyond the classroom scenario. The emphasis on mental well-being and compassion with a realistic outlook of the world, fills the mind of the student with practicality and clearer solutions. In such a forum, the mind is enabled to peer into turbulent waters with a clearer vision.
As students, the minds seem an apparition ‘devoid of any ‘compassion’ in our lives, rather only pronouncing exertion and ungratefulness. As young adolescents we tend to drift towards a pseudo path of suffocation, with banal principles of uncomplimentary practices. However, the PULSE and IGCA Programs pave opportunities to embed universal values, energising our inner selves. The platforms resemble the true characteristics of a global leaner and constantly make us understand the urgency to step out of our embedded zone of self-induced (dis)comfort. We start to build a sense of interaction with the world outside our windows, pronouncing more predominantly the art and rendition of mindfulness to the core of our souls. Personally, the conceptualizing of these programs evoke a new freshness in the scope of cultivating a meaningful future and life – more soulful, an inner voice often enriched to think beyond pragmatic lifestyles, through virtuous reflection and meaningful action to envisage the world beyond what our mind otherwise perceives.
My life-Journey was one filled with predictable outcomes, like my mind. However, over the years, Dr Pathma Naidu subtly made us realize our tendency as individuals and students to make ourselves confined to the expectations that have been affected by the community, and to pay deeper attention to our mental well – being. Perhaps, in the urge of ‘battling’ life on pre-conceived norms, we leave behind the importance of mindfulness. Our hunt now should be to search for an even brighter future.
It is quite apparent that my journey of the GCA and IGCA were a combination of ideas and schemes that built a deeper sense of awareness of global issues. Within my primary years of education, the ‘Global Citizen Awards’ (GCA) was introduced to me. Without any idea of its relevance to world, I simply started to write reflections and slowly after weeks of consciously picking up this habit, I found my sub-conscious mind, subtly but constantly, reflecting upon my actions. A notion and virtue of life that was introduced to me at an early age became an integral part of my personality. Today the significance of ‘Reflecting’ in my life has been enriched through my exposure to these Programs.
On the same note my compassionately exhibiting my inner self to the world has been built through the confidence of constantly thinking about global issues and social divides. The PULSE Program has left a notion of life that seemingly became an engraved part of my personality. My Journey of writing reflections and contemplating life through situations and events that held meaning to me, paved an inspiring start to my jovial personality.
As a student of the IB Program, the IGCA Program has become a crucial component of my integration with Life through my education. Moreover, after rapidly coming to points of contention in the hustle of trying to become a greater and better person, my solace and sight of peace is identified in these programs.
As a student that today understands the world with a different perspective, all due credit lies in the PULSE Program which enabled my voice to reach out to the world in my sphere – and beyond. A timid girl trying to speak her voice on global politics and social issues – found a platform that defined life in the momentary actions of building a future. Inspiration was a big word in the battle for freedom, but I remembered to also take some from my mentors too, to build a greater future for myself and my weapon in this battle was my involvement in the PULSE Program.
After 4 years of experiencing this battle, with another few years of schooling to build further towards enhanced moments of success, I reckon that my life will now never remain the same. Today I walk the path of life with a bag filling with more virtuous thoughts, deeper embedded values in myself and “compassion Is a word I whisper in tougher times to shout out inspirationally”.
I would like to end by pronouncing that this opportunity is given to only a few in ‘normal’ schools’ programs. However, I urge that the reach of its virtues should become a part of more educational curriculums and global literacy.
My Journey Towards Contentment
By Geetanjali Dhull, Wellbeing Coordinator ,PWS
“What we Learn with pleasure, we never forget” – Alfred Mercier
Carrying this beautiful thought forward, I would like to share that I have learnt the actual meaning of ‘Life Skills’ from Dr. Pathma Naidu when I joined Pathways in 2012. I understood that life skills help us to deal with every aspect of life, enabling us to create a fulfilling way of living and is most certainly not just a subject.
Pathways has its own unique identity with respect to a Life Skills Program and it is named the P.U.L.S.E Program.The person behind this novel creation and execution, as well as giving it a personal touch, is Dr Pathma Naidu. P.U.L.S.E. expands into ‘Pathways of Universal Life Support Education’ and as the name by itself conveys – it’s about ‘Being Awake and Aware of Every Moment’.
The day I got introduced to this lesson in Middle School, I remember that the class started by showing a three minute video clip to the entire Class. I was wondering what next, because the lesson was still on. But that very first day what I learnt, I still cherish and implement till date as to how, a Three Minute Video can be discussed for about forty five minutes by getting the students and faculty present to dive deeper into all the messages that the video could convey. There are certain things which I embraced that day and I can confidently say that they have really helped me evolve as a person.
I still remember that once we were about to start the lesson which we had planned for that particular class, and a student randomly asked about the ‘Lotus’ flower, because he noticed that image on the laptop screen, just before we were to start the lesson. It was an absolute delight to see how Dr. Pathma carried forward the entire conversation around the Lotus in such a meaningful way, connecting it to various aspects of life and getting the students and faculty to be effective IB ‘Thinkers’ & ‘Enquirers’. We were all so engrossed, that we didn’t even notice that the whole lesson had come to an end. This is in true sense called as ‘Real Learning’.
Today, I am in a position to say that these lessons are the ‘Backbone’ of this School. It was rightly said by one of our students that “P.U.L.S.E. is the ninth subject without which one feels incomplete”. I concur with the same line of thought as I believe we are dropping small pennies into their minds through the thoughts shared in these lessons, which remain in their minds and will certainly emerge in their consciousness a few years down the line. I have seen this happen repeatedly in several students. I personally feel that this program is actually preparing our young ignited minds to become Real Competent Citizens of the World.
My experience with this program is truly remarkable and has helped me connect with the students at different levels. It gives me an opportunity to know them better, beyond counselling sessions, as I get to interact with them through different forums and get to understand their perspectives. Also, this is the platform where we analyse which student needs help in terms of different aspects that they seem to be struggling with – be it how to frame a positive thought, how to portray their thoughts in front of others, how to wait for their turn, how to connect better with their real lives etc. Beyond the students learning from these lessons, I feel I am the biggest learner from these lessons as I have learnt the art of connecting with these young souls when they are left free to explore their thoughts.
Thus, the P.U.L.S.E. lessons have largely helped me in framing my counselling sessions with strategies that would actually work with a particular student, as I have already seen & connected with the same student at a different level during the class time. Having the advantage of knowing how that student thinks, helps me tremendously in formalising the appropriate Counselling strategies for that student. This results in my fulfilling my primary role as a Counsellor in the school rather effectively, and I am ever so grateful for being able to achieve this. One of the features that has always brought the Counselling Team great satisfaction, is noticing how some thoughts that might have been shared during a P.U.L.S.E. lesson a couple of years ago, is recaptured by a student during a counselling session to act as a guiding light to show the path forward from a tricky situation that he/she might have got into.
One very important thing which I must share that I have noticed in the sessions, is the impact of P.U.L.S.E. lessons on our students. One can easily make out while talking to a child whether he/she is a Pathwaysian or a new student because the kind of connect with the inner self is completely at a different level as compared to the student who recently joined and doesn’t have the flavour of P.U.L.S.E. in his/her conscious and seems to operate from a little vacuum.
To encapsulate, I could only say that it’s not always important to have instant results of your actions. There are times we must invest in good deeds, waiting for the individual to understand its real meaning at a later time, when it becomes relevant to that mind. With this same belief, I feel the P.U.L.S.E. lessons are the forum for us to sow the seeds carrying various values and ethics into these young minds and I firmly believe that they will take root and will blossom some day for sure. To support this statement of mine, we have many ex- Pathwaysians who proved that these lessons have left a huge positive dent in their consciousness and personality, and it has actually taught them how to have their inner moral compass rightly placed.
Besides the P.U.L.S.E. lessons, I really want to share my perspective about the P.U.L.S.E. Award Program . I will term it as an ‘Awakening’ as opposed to calling it an Award. A powerful way of expressing your heart out on paper is what I think the Award Program is. This is something a child will relish throughout his life, unlike me who didn’t have this kind of platform to put my thoughts down and when I now look back, I have nothing to show in black & white as its all just sitting in my mind. I wish if I too had this opportunity in my school days, as I would definitely have something to show to my own children, from which they would have surely got inspired . Rather than me talking and guiding my own children through my words and actions, it would have been my footprints speaking for me.
Lastly, I would definitely want my own children to be schooled in such a program because Reflecting is one of the most important qualities a human being needs to possess. I feel that in our journey through life, we keep on moving from one event to another without pausing for a moment to reflect, and without reflecting there is no Learning. I intend to make my children and all other children Life-Long Learners rather than just Robots without feelings and emotions. Hence, I strongly believe that the P.U.L.S.E Award Program is an important step in the ladder which enables us to become Life-Long Learners.
At this juncture, let me also talk about IGCA Program which is also very dear to my heart. Dr. Pathma introduced the IGCA and adopted it as a Practical Arm of P.U.L.S.E. Program. As P.U.L.S.E helps students to blossom, similarly IGCA helps students to understand their true potential as well as to acknowledge the privileges they are born with. The one thing which I really admire in the IGCA Program is the in-built service component in it. I believe that this is the only award program that ensures that its participants give a donation to a worthy cause and in PWS, this is done during an important School Assembly, so that the whole community is aware of this Joy of Giving.
The recordings and reflections that the students come up with for every level of the IGCA, (Bronze, Silver or Gold) are often a delight to go through. It brings the mentors great Joy to note the extent to which our children are growing through this program. Growth and Development through the IGCA is what we assess and not compare one student’s work with another’s. There is a lot of work for the mentors, but the level of contentment we reach is soul satisfying.
I really wish to take these programs further for the betterment of the society as well for our young minds.
Wanted to share my Journey through this poem:
“Always do things in life for which you have a passion.
Believe you me, it will never lead to any confusion”.
“Life is a journey where you have to find your way with your own light.
Seeing myself evolve every day into a better being, is a delight”.
“I would say connecting to our inner self is an art,
I have been practicing it by just following my heart”.
“P.U.L.S.E. lessons made me understand the difference between a Human being and Being Human
I now know that it’s not at all difficult to cover this distance, as it is completely self-driven”.
“You just need a ray of hope and a guiding mentor,
Who helps you to discover your real self even more”.
In the end, I would like to conclude with this beautiful quote, which I strongly advocate & believe in:
Kindness & Gratitude Develop Compassion
Anahat Kukreja, Student Counsellor, Pathways World School
I was born in an upper middle-class family, and just like any other child, I was provided with all the facilities and comforts that my parents could offer me. They gave me love and cared for me, and taught me the value of love, care, and togetherness. As I grew up, I held on to my value system. Those were my roots, and I soon began to experience life on a larger scale. That is exactly when a variety of challenges that society throws at you need to be dealt with and I realised that one is often tested on how ‘Kind or Grounded’ one actually is. I had my share of ups and downs, right and wrong decisions taken, and all these kept adding to my basket. My basket of deeds was getting filled with my share of negativity that I was certainly aware of, but also distressed by. Though I was helped by the people in my circle of trust to forget, but somewhere I forgot to forgive.
As it is often said, that when we wish for something with a pure heart, the entire Universe starts working towards it to create that opportunity for you. That is when Dr Pathma Naidu, walked into my life, or I should say I walked into hers, and she embraced me. For me, the word ‘Compassion’ begins with her. She is a lady, who is strong as a mountain, and believes that no wind can topple one if we remain strong and anchored in our values and that all flowers can bloom. I also learned from her that time and experience changes, and so do people and we just have to give them the opportunity. She not only focused on the positive side in me but helped me build on it. She taught me how to stand up for myself, believing in my core values based on kindness and gratitude. Simultaneously I was guided by her to not just develop my inner strength and guidance as I learned to stand on my convictions, but also to help those who cannot, just as she did for many that I know of.
I joined Pathways World School (PWS), Aravali, as a Co-Tutor and Dance Instructure, but when the position for a Primary School Counsellor became vacant, I was interviewed and selected for that role, as being a Counsellor is my passion and what I have been trained for. Dr Pathma had created and developed the P.U.L.S.E. Program in PWS and this program is still being delivered by the Counsellors in the School. She introduced the IGCA Program as a practical arm of the P.U.L.S.E Program and in 2013 created the Global Citizen’s Award (PWS-GCA) Program for Grades 3 to 5, in the Primary School. When I became the Primary School Counsellor, I got the opportunity to work very closely with Dr Pathma, not just with respect to counselling the students, but also to develop and run the P.U.L.S.E. Program in the Primary School, as well as to further develop and enhance the Pathways World School-Global Citizen’s Award (PWS-GCA) Program. Developing a program that would introduce a variety of Life Skills, including all the Attitudes and Attributes of the IB Learner Profile, to young minds, was indeed very demanding initially, but I took it as a challenge. I must add that I thoroughly enjoyed working with Dr Pathma as we persevered to reflect and enhance the PWS-GCA Programme as well as integrating it with the P.U.L.S.E – Pathways of Universal Life Support Education, which today has become the guiding force of ‘Compassion’, to which I believe that every Pathwaysian in our community relates to.
We started with introducing more community service activities and understanding the value that those activities bring to all our lives. Today our students take great pride in doing a variety of service projects. The whole journey was not about teaching and dictating to the students, but it was process, which involved interaction with others from all walks of life, researching & discovering and most importantly, reflecting. For instance, today, they all feel equally responsible for Global Warming and have started taking measures to improve that. We are guided by the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which emphasize on the holistic approach of “leaving no one behind”. As an individual, when I look at these goals and the P.U.L.S.E Programme, I can say that as Pathwaysians, we are able to incorporate with ease, the SDGs laid down by the UN. Our Students, Faculty and even our Support Staff are committed to being caring and concerned Global Citizens.
Over the years, as the Primary School Students moved into the Middle School, I saw students grow into beautiful young adults who have continued to bring change in their environment and social structure. I have had the privilege of attending their P.U.L.S.E. lessons in Grades 6 and 7 when possible, and it has been a reward to notice their deeply embedded values that now seem to define them. Students now in Grade 11(2020-2021), were in Grade 5 and thus were my first batch of students when I joined PWS. Looking at them now and hearing them voice their concerns in a constructive way, without forgetting the values of compassion, respect, and dignity, is what amply demonstrates the true value of the P.U.L.S.E. Program coupled with the PWS-GCA & IGCA Programs. They are not just more aware of their surroundings but seem to have become anchors; not just for their friends but for their families too. I firmly believe that values like compassion and respect are not taught but nurtured and for that to be achieved, it is important that as adults, we take the responsibility of living by those values and being role models as well.
When that responsibility of co-developing the P.U.L.S.E. Program and the PWS-GCA was handed over to me, I realised I had to be open-minded as well as a risk taker. The whole experience changed me on a personal level. I needed guidance and support but, most importantly, I needed to believe in myself. The caring and compassionate guidance I received from Dr Pathma is what kept me sailing along rather comfortably on this personal journey and for that I will always remain deeply grateful. Through this journey, I have learnt the power of reflection, introspection gratitude and patience. It has most certainly changed me from within.
Today, I am a calmer person. Though I have my share of bad days, but my ability to recover and to bounce back, is much better. I am not only able to reflect on the situation and my feelings, but also to understand the other person’s point of view. Compassion is now my guiding Light. Practicing being compassionate and patient, has helped me change things within me and around me. This change seems to have had a ripple effect, as, people around me seem to have changed too and have become more accepting and are starting to look at the brighter side of most situations. Every time I draw the attention of the students to the practice of Mindfulness or to expressing Gratitude for all our Blessings, I know that these values get more deeply embedded in my psyche, helping me to evolve into a more caring, concerned and compassionate Global Citizen.
I now fully subscribe to the notion that, ‘as we practice Compassion for the self, we start rebuilding our life from within’. I am reminded of what Ralph Waldo Emerson said – “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be Useful, to be Honourable and to be Compassionate….to have it make some difference that you have Lived and Lived Well.”
As we all strive to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’, if we remember to anchor all our activities in Compassion and touch other’s lives with Goodwill and Joy, we will sooner than later have arrived at the place where we can claim with conviction that we have ‘Lived well’