Avenues, a city-based capacity building and human excellence training institute, is organising its 16th Annual Winter Workshop for the youth. The 15-day workshop started on December 12 and will give youngsters the chance to discover themselves and identify their values which will guide them through the maze of life.
For the past 15 years, Avenues has been organising such workshops to help youths get a hold of life’s basic meaning, grab every opportunity in life and just run with it, to inculcate a sense of belongingness and respect for other fellow human beings and for the environment as well.
This year’s workshop is based on the theme “This is Me” — a tagline which was agreed upon after assessing and identifying that one relevant principle in life that most of us seem to have forgotten or ignored, which is “respect oneself”.
This year, over 50 participants, divided into three groups (seniors, juniors and children below the age of seven), are part of the workshop, spending two hours everyday with the trainers learning and discovering themselves.
The number, however, does not include the sponsored children whose session will begin soon. The sponsorship aspect of this workshop includes those children who are supported by other individuals, companies or public figures to be part of “life-changing” sessions.
Ansh Swarnakar, a 14-year-old student of St Edmund’s Higher Secondary School, expressed his excitement over the manner in which the sessions were conducted. “At first when my father told me about this workshop, I was imagining it would be just like one of those classes in school but when I got here, I was amazed and excited at the same time,” he said.
“This is my first time in Avenues and I must say it is very interesting to be part of this programme. It teaches us values and communication skills. When I come out of here, I hope to make new friends, learn new values, gain my confidence and share my experience with others,” he added.
Similarly, 13-year-old Vedant Swarnakar, also from St Edmund’s, said he never expected the session to be so engaging and interesting. “I thought it would be strict but it wasn’t like that; the trainer is very friendly,” he said.
The trainers who have been involved in imparting life skills and communication skills for the past many years have expressed a sense of satisfaction over the valuable experience derived from such interactions with people from different walks of life.
“I have been imparting training for five years now and through my dealings with young people and children, I have learned so many new things, experiences which will shape and mould me as a better person,” said one of the trainers, Dari-la-i-kupar Kharwar.
“They teach us to be wise and knowledgeable, makes us learn about new and different things and approaches, thereby improving our ability to deal with different types of people and making us better trainers,” he added.
Admitting that there have been some ups and downs all along the journey, trainer Mankhraw Kupar Kharbuli said, “Challenges are the reason that pushes us to work harder, venture into new approaches in tandem with the present generation which is mostly guided by technology.”
“My son isn’t very sound in English, so my intention of sending him to this workshop was to improve his English, the usage of the language and the way he talks to people,” said one of the parents, Darisha Synrem of Jaiaw.
This year, Avenues have come up with a sponsorship programme — an initiative to provide a platform for financially backward youths with the help of sponsors.
“Avenues’ practice of sponsoring certain batches allows access to our workshops for the less fortunate. Fee for each workshop is Rs 2,000 per student for a one week camp,” said team member Jasmine Pearl Laitflang Stone.
In case of community pact, the team would turn to the Rangbah Shnong seeking their help to identify the deserving beneficiaries to be part of the programme. “The funds we receive from our sponsors are usually invested in our rural development programmes and workshops,” Jasmine said.
Another team member, Fedela Marva Tariang, informed that this programme is aimed at social workers, philanthropists, charitable organisations or government departments sponsoring small groups for the purpose of capacity-building.
“The package will be developed from scratch based on the needs of individual groups,” she said.
“We have been in touch with many sponsors (who prefer to remain anonymous) and the responses that we have received were over-whelming. It clearly proves the power of love and how it can help transform lives,” Gladiole Nongrum, a member, said.
With an aim to make this world a happy and more inspired place, Avenues is on a mission to get everyone on board. Moving from schools to schools and colleges to colleges across the North East, this organisation has helped shape and mould students’ perceptions towards “responsible living”.
(Contributed by Team Avenues)