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Peace and Adventure Camp

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Peace and Adventure Camp 2

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.

After a tiring day...

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.

Peace and Adventure Camp 3

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.

Peace and Adventure Camp 1

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.

Scaling the Rock Wall

The end of the camp saw tearful farewells, the baggage of past distrust largely cleansed from the new generation.

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A School Bus for Kalhang Village

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School Bus for Kalhang Village

During a visit to Kalhang Village in Ukhrul District of Manipur in Feb 2013, Luis, Miranda, one of Sunbird’s earliest members, was informed that the only school in the village had closed. As the nearest functional school, the Holy Spirit School at Longpi was an hour long trek away in this mountainous area, the children could no longer attend school. Determined to solve the problem, Luis and his wife Fiona sponsored a good second hand vehicle to be used as a school bus for the Holy Spirit school. Now, 40 children of Kalhang and neighbouring villages benefit from this generous gesture and attend school regularly.

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Assistance for a Bereaved Family

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Brothers and Sisters02

In March 2014, a Border Roads Organisation Vehicle deployed near Govajang Village in Chandel District of Manipur on the international border with Myanmar accidentally fell into a deep gorge after the driver lost control. Seven persons, all casual labourers sitting at the back of the truck, were killed and 19 others severely injured. Four young children of a tribal woman, one of the deceased, were left helpless when their father too was severely injured in the same accident. Through the Sunbird initiative, all four children, then staying in a tin roadside shack, were transferred to the boarding of a Sunbird partner school close to Kalhang, their mother’s village in Ukhrul District of Manipur. The youngsters are now regularly attending school and faring well.

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Advisor’s visit

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Luis with sponsored children in Angangba Village in Nagaland

Perhaps the first supporter of the Sunbird Team ever since the Sunbird initiative commenced in 2004, Mr Luis Miranda, now on the Advisory Board of the Trust spent 10 days traversing Manipur and Nagaland along with Sunbird Trust Managing Director, Chris Rego. Travelling over 1,500 kms, they visited partner schools and sponsored families interacting with village elders, school staff and community leaders.

During this visit, Luis introduced Chris to Sem Haokip, Founder Director of Society for Promotion of Tribal Welfare and Development (SPTWD) at Delhi. Since then Sunbird and SPTWD have gone on to collaborate in many projects across Manipur.

With Naga Ladies in Chungdor Village

Returning to his home town Mumbai, Luis and his wife Fiona rallied friends to join and support the Sunbird Team. While Luis and Fiona donated a Bolero as a school bus for one school and support 40 hostellers, the others now support over 150 children. They have also contributed immensely to infrastructure such as the Friendship Hostel at Ijeirong Village.