SAVAE awards 3-yr-old Kashmiri trekker

SRINAGAR: The main attraction of the week-long eco-campaign by South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists (SAVAE) that concluded on Thursday was a three-year-old baby girl – the youngest hiker.
Aizel from Sopore town was accompanied by her father Shafkat Masoodi, a veteran hiker. She was awarded for being the youngest trekker.
The drive by the South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists (SAVAE), a Kashmir based organisation which focuses on environmental policy in South Asia, was aimed at identifying and promoting the young environmental ambassadors.
The underlying goal has been to bring focus and steer on campaigns to combat global warming and securing water conservation and sustainability in the politically volatile and ecologically fragile Kashmir region.
“We identified and tracked down these young and budding hikers to project them onto the centre stage and be the cheerleaders of critical environmental concerns that confront us all,” said Bilal Ahmad, Chairperson SAVAE. He vowed to continue with similar eco-awareness drives in Kashmir and the Himalayan region in South Asia.
The NGO organised a series of treks and community awareness sessions primarily undertaken by young trek enthusiasts in the hilly terrain of Kangan of Ganderbal district. The event logistics were sponsored by a Bahrain-based eco-friendly IT company ‘Marvel Technology Services and Information Systems’.
“I read about this organisation from an overseas web portal, and upon noticing the uniqueness of the event that roped in very young and pre-teen trek enthusiasts, we decided to offer our collaboration and logistical support aiming at the safety of all the young participants,” said Adil Ashai, the Director of Marvel Technology Services and Information Systems.
Senior environmental journalist, Athar Parvaiz, who was the guest of honour on the occasion, said, “We tend to ignore that it is our water resources like the wetlands, lakes and glaciers in our region that attract tourists to the state. It is quite shocking to note that our glaciers have been receding at an alarming rate as suggest by some latest scientific studies. It is bound to put our state’s collective economic and ecological interests under strain.”
All the campaign participants were duly felicitated at the SAVAE headquarters in Srinagar by the overseas event sponsors.
Among other distinguished dignitaries present on the occasion were prominent psychologist Dr Roshan Ara, renowned dietician Dr Mudasir Hamid Baghal and young budding green-chef Arif Ashraf Bhat.