TODAY -

Keeping Up With the Kakching Trekkers

Ningombam Captain *

 Kakching Trekkers
Kakching Trekkers : A gathering of the official members



The genesis of great ideas often takes place at unexpected moments. In 2015, among a group of friends from Kakching who were on a trekking expedition, a simple idea occurred unexpectedly— the idea of creating a youth organization with an aim to explore nature and involve social activities all the while envisioning an inclusive home for youth culture to inspire the future generations. And like all great ideas, it bloomed into something much larger in magnitude and significance which, in this case, is the formation of Kakching Trekkers.

At a glance, Kakching Trekkers is a voluntary nonprofit organization where the volunteers/members meet at planned intervals to go on trekking expeditions and hiking trips, and to perform occasional charitable works either by direct hands-on efforts or collaborations with other organizations.

Viewing Kakching Trekkers as a service club, it is characterized by a mission of community service under the versatile banner "Walk your path with pride", and membership benefits such as social occasions, educational exposure, and personal growth opportunities that encourage necessary involvement of the youth.

While community service is considered a priority, the organization manages not to miss out on the fun-filled activities too. Here, one can view Kakching Trekkers as a coin which will be tossed eventually, with the head being charitable social activities and tail, adventures and thrills like exploring new landscapes, trekking, hiking and whatnot.

A Dzuko Valley expedition under the guidance of the Manipur Mountaineering & Trekking Association (MMTA) is a memorable one which the early members shall never forget. Regarding trekking and adventures, Kakching Trekkers has two approaches:
first, as an official expedition that expects the participation of all i.e. members and outsiders alike;
second, as the effort of an individual group often a section of members congregating, and targeting a destination outside Manipur.

So far, the members have conquered the Koubru Peak, Mount Tenepu, Southern Hills of Chandel, and a myriad of hills in Thoubal District. The second approach, aforementioned, has led to separate adventures in Kasol, Kedarkantha Trek, Har ki Doon Trek and other hill stations of North India.

In the domain of social activities aimed for the better good, an early prominence achieved by Kakching Trekkers is their role in the Sunday Eco Club organized by Alliance for Development Alternatives Manipur (ADAM) which involved tree plantation along with open air classes under the motto, "Oo Thasi, Oo Hinghanshi".

When opportunity knocks, the Trekkers surely have a way of welcoming it with open arms. In 2018, they managed to organize a "Swachh Bharat Summer Internship" whose official slogan is "100 Hours of Swachhata", under the aegis of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, Thoubal District.

Held in Irengband, a village 2 kms away from Kakching Town, the one and half month of "Swachhata" was an amalgam of various social activities ranging from simple awareness campaigns to the gradual beautification of the village. Kakching Trekkers introduced memorable projects such as the "One shop - One dustbin Project", which is pretty much self-explanatory.

This was followed by a series of tree sapling plantation carried out by the volunteers setting an example for the villagers. Through awareness campaigns, movie screenings, village and school level rallies, development of compost pits, they were successful in instilling the villagers a tendency to avoid a perpetual slovenliness in their overall lifestyles— all of which is carefully recorded in their firsthand report prepared after the Internship.

 Kakching Trekkers
Kakching Trekkers : Discussion in progress



The utilitarian aspect of resource allocation seems to be their expertise on their most original project, aptly titled "Reuse the Unused" which was launched as an initiative to collect unused but still usable apparel and footwear from voluntary donations and distributing these items after rigorous assortment for the underprivileged households to recycle.

This made way to the local papers after the volunteers propounded the details of this very project to a gathering of an event called "Tashi Mapao Khangminashi Eikhoi" held at Irabot Park, Kakching Bazar in February.

Further, on the 8th of March '20, which also happened to be the International Women's Day, a collective effort of Kakching Trekkers and the management committee of Aangaan Ching Eco Park made possible an event hosted by Roshan Khumukcham, a prominent personality and the Manager of Hyundai Motor India Ltd. called "Blossoming Kids Talk" featuring among others, Valentina Elangbam, the VI std. student who was appointed Brand Ambassador of the Manipur Chief Minister's Green Manipur Mission.

The dreaded pandemic and the resulting perpetual lockdowns did not hinder the volunteers in any way, for their most recent project was an online "Trek Photography Contest" with the theme: Unforgettable moment of my trek; which was a conspicuous attempt to promote the exploration of scenic spots in Manipur hence highlighting the potential of tourism in the state.

For contests like this one, they were lucky to get sponsorships from certain bodies and firms. It is not always this case in the affairs of their trekking expeditions and charitable activities.

They do not have a designated fund that stays intact. Instead, Kakching Trekkers relies on crowd-funding, donations, and sometimes from their direct earnings, like an effort of selling tea in the Kakching Bazar.

Undertakings of such tasks, overall executive works and group decision-making are made the prime responsibilities of longtime members like Lamyanba Kshetrimayum, Chinglemba Kshetrimayum, Naresh Yengkhom and Shivaji Mayanglambam.

Today, Kakching Trekkers boasts a strength of nearly fifty registered volunteers who are all youths between the age of 13 to 30. And by a "registered volunteer", we mean a member who has been issued an I-card after personally signing his/her Membership Agreement at the premise of the Kakching Trekkers' office. This is not all.

In order to become a registered Trekker, one needs to plant a tree first, which is to be proven with a photograph at the time of registration. Their uniqueness is the unapologetic belief in action rather than stagnant plans. Thoughts, to them, should become things.

They are the quark of human resource that translates the good things taught in Environmental Studies into physical actualization. It will not be a wonder if Kakching Trekkers gradually evolves into a body acting for larger humanitarian causes.

Despite all these, one must not forget the fun and adventures guaranteed on becoming a member of Kakching Trekkers— the thrill of low-impact trekking for example, leaving nothing but footprints, taking nothing but photos, killing nothing but time, and keeping nothing but memories.

References:

https://m.facebook.com/kakchingT/
https://instagram.com/kakching_trekkers?igshid=9nxhwcscoujg


* Ningombam Captain wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at ningombamcaptain(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on August 30 2020 .



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