Trans-Himalayan cycle odyssey for child education
Kolkata, July 7 (IANS) Imbued with the desire to create awareness at the grassroots about children's education, an adventure enthusiast from West Bengal plans to cycle solo 5,000 km in the Himalayas across India, Nepal and Bhutan over four months.
Professional mountaineer and cyclist Sudipto Pal's initiative -- which begins on July 15 -- is part of the national campaign 'School the Spark' launched by Child Rights and You (CRY).
Pal's journey will take him through some of the most treacherous trails in the Greater Himalayan Arc from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir to Walong in Arunachal Pradesh. Along the way, he will also attempt to scale one virgin peak.
"I am familiar with the area since I have been there on expeditions. The locals also know me well ... so my aim is to connect with them on child education as I move across the villages," said Pal, who is in his late 20s and is eastern India's first super randonneur -- a long-distance cycling sport.
Spread over three phases, the initiative will focus on the challenges faced by children in accessing their basic right to education, said Atindra Nath Das, Regional Director, East, CRY.
"In the first phase, we will try to address the issue of school dropouts. In the second, we will look at Right To Education and then next is girl child education. The entire campaign is an online one and is integrated with the cycling expedition," said Das.
While moving across the Himalayas, Pal will shoot photographs and videos, and transmit them to the public via CRY's online campaign.
"So if in a particular village, Pal sees some sign of distress among the children, he will send an SOS message online which will go viral across social media," said Das.
In the last leg of his journey, Pal will traverse high valleys of Upper Assam along the course of the Brahmaputra river to reach the virgin forests of Arunachal Pradesh.
Former cricketer Arun Lal symbolically flagged off the campaign here on Thursday.
Pal will start his ride on July 15 from Srinagar.