YHAI has always aimed at developing mutual understanding amongst people of different regions, cultures, caste and religion and bringing them together for social upliftment; to educate and inculcate in them belongingness, care, respect and responsibility towards the environment and its inhabitants. Though there is much to achieve and establish in this row, below are some excerpts that describe our efforts:
1. School Reconstruction at Leh-2010: The flash floods in August 2010 caused much damage in major areas of Leh- Laddakh and many parts of Jammu & Kashmir. To help the victims, YHAI recognized and decided to reconstruct a Tashi Government Primary & Middle School, near Choglamsar, which was highly affected, with the co operation of then Deputy Commissioner of Leh and the Zonal Education Officer, both being YHAI’s Life Members. Meanwhile, 60 school children were relocated to tents and to an adjoining school. YHAI, took responsibility and visited Leh from 6th-8th October’ 12. He, along with the volunteer members of the State Branches and Units, from all across India, contributed to the YHAI Relief Fund, for this purpose.
2. National Integration: YHAI organizes several activities and expeditions in which, people from various regions, religions, nationality, groups and territories come together and participate, thus developing in them mutual understanding and respect. The Youth Hostel movement has welded the youthful elements in the country into an unbreakable fraternity. The movement, no doubt, is a training ground in all those qualities of body, mind and spirit, which tend to make good citizens. It teaches not only self-discipline, self-restraint but it also inculcates the love for humanity.
3. Peace and International Understanding:
· Youth Leader’s Exchange Program- 2004: A 28 member delegation visited Pakistan under the Youth Leader’s Exchange Program in 2004, to promote Peace & International Understanding. In response to this, Mr. Anwar H. Siddiqui (Vice President- PYHA), along with 32 members, visited India the same year in the month of November. An interaction like this enhances mutual understanding and respect amongst various groups, religions and countries. The friendship thus established makes a significant contribution to peace and international understanding as, people are able to understand and appreciate different cultures and practices, thus building a healthy environment reduce intolerance.
· Colors of Asia: International Youth Hostel Federation had organized Youth Festival for Peace in cooperation with the UNESCO, Korean Youth Hostels Association and other partners in Seoul, Korea, from 15th to 19th July’ 2004. YHAI sponsored 5 participants to represent India in the program- Ms. Swati Parijat- Haryana, Ms. Poonam Kakodkar and Ms. Remediana Rodrigues -Goa, Mr. Mud Dasir Latifi Tasir from- J&K, and Ms. Zeenat Manta- Himachal Pradesh. Mrs. Nishi Rawat, was the Chef-De-Mission of the group. The performance of all the candidates was greatly appreciated by the participating countries, making the program a great success.
4. Environment Awareness: Environment care and protection has always been a priority for YHAI. The organization has a separate Environment Protection Committee (EPC), formed by its members, that ensures the environment friendly operation and activities of the association. It also organizes several environment protection and awareness activities at regular intervals.
The EPC also regulates an Environment Charter, which is issued to the members and the participants. The charter contains the guidelines that are inclined with Environment protection, and also, makes it mandatory to all to follow them. The charter is circulated to all the State Branches, Units, Members and participants, and the guidelines are strictly adhered to.
5. Support for Education: National Chairman - Mr. S. Venkat Narayanan, YHAI has donated the computer to Primary School of Riyala Gram Panchayat. The computer was handed over to Mr Satish Sood , the Block Development Officer,Naggar Kullu, Ashwani Kumar(Representative of Primary School), and Pradhan of Panchayat Mr. Meher Singh by YHAI Adventure Promotion Committee Chairman – R C Chhipa & Field Director – Siddhilinga Swamy at Saurkundi Pass Base Camp, village 15 Miles to keep up the spirit of Youth Hostelling movement.
6. Releif Work at Govindghat, Uttarakhand: Uttarakhand YHAI State Branch through its Chamoli district unit had set up a relief camp at Govindghat which was approx. 20 kms from Joshimath and 25 kms short of Badrinath. The State Branch had sent a sum of Rs. 20,000/- to our Chamoli district unit whose office bearers are, with the help of 8 to 10 local volunteers, distributing water bottles, food packets, biscuits, namkeen etc to the victims. From Govindghat, the river is crossed by a bridge for starting the trek to Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib. This bridge at Govindghat and a parking lot with about 40 cars parked in it had been washed away. Army/ ITBP had been rescuing the pilgrims by bringing them to this side by helicopters and rope bridges. Our relief camp was located on this side of Govindghat i.e. on the road which is the highway to Badrinath. We had started this camp on the 21st of June 2013 till 26th June 2013.