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Nestled among gentle undulating hills and lush valleys, Manipur’s air of quiet serenity can almost have an intoxicating effect. But this apparent calm can be extremely deceptive. Its multi-ethnic groups jostling for identity, land and resources, keep the public discourse on the boil, frequently plunging the state into turmoil.
In Oct 2013, Sunbird held a Peace and Adventure camp for 50 children from diverse communities of the state. The camp was conducted at the sprawling Manipur Mountaineering Training Association (MMTA) camp at Lamdan, Bishenpur District.
Through the kind facilitation of Col Anand Swaroop, Sunbird Team Member and one of India’s most accomplished adventure personalities (mountaineer and leader of successful skiing expedition to the South Pole), MMTA offered the free use of their excellent campus providing the services of their experienced instructors.
The Assam Rifles, Friends of the North East, contributed with rations and transport and Dr Vivek and Saviya Bhaktaram, team members, donated the balance expenditure towards running the camp.
The five-day camp was an exhilarating experience for the children. They got a chance to pitch their own tents and learn rappelling, rock climbing and basic map reading. Their instructors, including N Bidyapati, Manipur’s only woman Everester, put them through their paces on long treks and on the outdoor training at the excellently endowed campus with its state of the art training facilities. During the camp, the children were imbibed with a spirit of adventure, leadership and most of all, camaraderie.
The end of the camp saw tearful farewells, the baggage of past distrust largely cleansed from the new generation.