An initiative to create a borderless world

The founder of the ‘The Cycle Naatak,’ Akram Feroze’s new initiative is ‘Winter on Wheels’, the journey of travellers to unite the people of the country. Feroze could be very wrongly interpreted if the word ‘country’ is even remotely connoted to his work.

Winter on Wheels as an initiative was started with the aspiration of creating a ‘borderless world’.

This regular guy has done things quite unconventionally in the past too. He impulsively dropped out of college to fulfil his desire to bicycle across the country, solo.

During his travel, it was people of different communities who helped him with cash and kindness to complete his journey. These experiences restored his faith in humanity and the innate kindness and empathy that pro­mpts complete strangers, mo­ved by the plight of others, to come forward and help. Soon after the devastating Kashmir floods in September 2014, Feroze decided to involve the people in his cause. He rented a truck, to travel the country collecting woollens for the homeless Kashmiris.

“The truck was unaffordable, but we have been relying on crowd funding for quite some time now and we have been able to ease the problem,’’ says Feroze.

The truck was covered with a white canvas on which people who contributed to the cause – artists, children and also just passersby – have put their hand prints and also painted. Similar, canvases have added colour to Feroze’s journey who feels that like music, art is borderless, just like his idea of the world. He says “this art is not only painting, but also music and dance through which people have come together with the mission of Winter on Wheels.”

Undeterred by logistics like food expense, cost of art materials, cost of living, financial difficulty, Feroze along with his partner Purnima Sukumar and other volunteers travelled from Hyderabad to Delhi through many small and big cities, collecting woollens.

When asked what was the big lesson of Winter on Wheels in Kashmir, Feroze said, “We got a tremendous response wherever we went, but the one thing that came to my mind, was why do we have to wait for a natural catastrophe to unite us? Why can’t we all always be kind.”

Winter on Wheels has gathered over 200 volunteers and collected around nine tonne of woollens and some rice too, and has successfully sent it to the Jammu and Kashmir RTI movement which helped in the distribution process.

The art gallery ‘D art factory’ in Gurgaon has provided Winter on Wheels space
and material for their art programmes across the country and Sadda Haq and Indibini, a Jaipur-based group of volunteers have helped in the cause enough for Feroze to remember them with affection and gratitude.

Presently Feroze is focusing on the distribution of materials in Kashmir and plans to head to Northeast for his next experience and ketto.org ( a crowd funding website) is where he looks for funding.

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