Two city cyclists ride 2,500 km to raise funds for disabled kids

Two city cyclists ride 2,500 km to raise funds for disabled kids

Two Samaritans in the city are campaigning to raise money for 48 disabled children in a school in Kota, Rajasthan.

Mahendra Bhakar and Anant Trivedi met at the yearly Bangalore Bicycle Championship race in May, where they learned about their common love for charity and decided to identify something worth their while.

Trivedi, who is in the restaurant business in Kota and Bengaluru, found out about the school through an acquaintance and immediately felt a connect. “I have always been inclined to do something for society since I started cycling, but I was unsure,” says Trivedi. The two avid bikers regularly meet three times a week on Kanakapura road as part of a bicycling group, Rockriders.

Two children who will benefit from the funding are fourth grader Babulal, a tabla player and Modnath, a classical vocalist. The former is speech impaired and the latter is blind. Both are students of Nutan Prabhat Seva Sansthan which educates children of daily wage workers. The institution is facing a fund crunch.

 Software engineer Bhakar and Trivedi have raised Rs 57,000 by cycling 2,500 km from Bengaluru to Kota for eight days to raise funds on the crowdsourcing platform, Milaap. "They currently have only three teachers and are looking for more. Clothes and books are also scarce," said Trivedi.

 Cycling long distances was a herculean task and sometimes unexpected changes would upset their plans. One such instance is when they entered a tiger reserve in Mela Ghat without any prior warning during the 198 km stretch on Day 6 from Akola in Maharashtra to Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh. “On the map, I could see a vast green patch but it did not say anything about a tiger reserve. Even roads were absent and we had to ride through rocky terrain. We met a bus driver who was shocked at our plight. We had to watch out every step of the way in case we spotted any animals,” said Trivedi. Fortunately, a forest officer helped them navigate the area.

They also showed resilience when they entered a flood area while travelling from Hyderabad to Namdev as their tyres got punctured five times.  En route, they were helped by a few cycling groups such as the Rockrider and Cycletrod.

Successful campaigns
Milaap is a crowdfunding platform founded by Mayukh Chowdhary and Anoj Vishwanathan. It has connected 120 countries and has raised Rs 100 crore by supporting 55,000 projects.

How does it work? An individual or an organisation can register on the website https://milaap.org and write about the reasons to raise money. A campaign manager will verify the credibility of the cause and is the point of contact for them throughout the campaign.

Teach for India Fellows Prasanth Nori and Soumya Kavi started Dramebaaz in 2015 to teach lifeskills through theatre. A campaign is currently running to stage plays for children in 18 low income schools.

Mitra Jyothi, an organisation which has been working for the visually impaired for the last 26 years, is fundraising on Milaap to provide Braille books in Kannada for children in rural Karnataka. Thirty story books will be carefully selected.

Vidhushi Jayaswal, a volunteer from India for inclusion, organised a trek to encourage the visually impaired to be physically active on October 1.

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