May 20, 2017 Youth Impact

MARKHOR – The Youth Refinery

Refining is the process of purification of a substance by removal of impurities and unwanted elements; whereas refinery is a facility where raw substances are transformed into value-added products. This is what we already know, but have you ever thought that why do we need to refine things? Refining is not a choice it is a necessity because the things that are raw become more useful, more applicable, and more valuable, when refined!

Since childhood we have had known oil refineries, sugar refineries and metal-refineries, today let me introduce you to a one-of-its-kind refinery:

MARKHOR – The Youth Refinery

An oil refinery refines crude oil into more useful products such as petroleum, naphthagasolinediesel fuelheating oilkerosene, and liquefied petroleum gas. A sugar refinery processes raw sugar into white refined sugar with pure sucrose. A metal refinery purifies impure metals. Similarly MARKHOR is a youth refinery that refines the raw youth through wilderness based learning into quality humans. Making youth more useful, more capable, more perishable, more valuable, and unshakable!

Considering the example of oil refining, generally three major types of operations are performed to refine crude oil into finished products.

  1. Separation
  2. Conversion
  3. Treatment



In the first step of oil refining, molecules are separated through atmospheric distillation, according to their molecular weight, to get different products. Similarly MARKHOR fractionates diverse groups of youth into tribes named upon desired character traits for leadership such as compassion, empathy, selflessness, altruism, positivity, and more for a simulated activity-based teaching by providing critical tasks and completing them together while representing their assigned traits.



In reference to oil refining there are still many heavy hydrocarbon molecules remaining after the separation process. To meet demand for lighter products, the heavy molecules are “cracked” into two or more lighter ones. The conversion process is carried out at 500°C in the presence of a catalyst. Similarly MARKHOR trains youth with brain-teasing activities, mind-boggling sessions, a series of projects, debates, discussions and keynotes that allow cross flow of ideas boost self confidence, develop interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, refine mental capabilities and unleash leadership potential within youth. As a catalyst is used in breaking of hydrocarbons, likewise, training at high altitudes, rugged mountains, harsh climate and food deficit act as catalysts that develop in youth the spirit to fight uncertainties of life with virtue and dignity.


The final step of oil refining is treatment that involves removal or reduction of impurities that are corrosive or cause air pollution, finally yielding high-octane products. Just like that MARKHOR refines the youth by removing and reducing unhealthy character traits such as pessimism, over-criticism, anxiety, procrastination, discontentment, and irresponsibility. From strolling slopes to climbing mountains, from making your own bedding to securing a shelter and cooking your own food, MARKHOR through mother nature teaches us to hope for a sunny morning after heavy snowfall, to relish bonfire on a cold night after a long exhausting climb, to stop whining about little life obstacles, to learn the art of contentment and modify life perspectives! Just like the high-octane products obtained at end, the ultimate refined product of MARKHOR, the youth refinery, is a quality human.

Image Source: unltd



This is how MARKHOR teaches youth to follow the blue-prints of nature since nature has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with in our individual lives. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. After billions of years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival. Biomimicry is a trending scientific approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. Biomimicry helps create products, processes, policies and new ways of living that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.


Image Source: likesuccess


From the production of mushk from refined blood in male deers to the production of pearls in oyster, From beautiful creation of diamonds from compressed coal to the mystical creation of man from refined, clot of congealed blood, divine nature is full of examples of refining and so is MARKHOR – The Youth Refinery, guiding us to mimic the nature, blending biology, psychology, creative problem solving, and systematic thinking to refine youth!


-Mahnoor Tariq |