A SERIES of cycling events across Great Britain, India and the United States are being
planned to raise funds to help lift children out of the poverty trap in India and place them
The UK-based charity HEAL (Health and Education for All) recently held its third Cycle India
challenge over five days in Kerala, south of Mumbai, and it was such a success that
organisers are already discussing plans to expand their fund-raising efforts.
Cycle India, launched in 2008, is currently held every two years, with riders from India and
USA joining forces with cyclists from the British Isles.
But moves are afoot to introduce a new bike ride for Indian participants on alternate years,
which will turn Cycle India into an annual event, while planning is already in the pipeline
for a Land’s End to John o’Groats cycle challenge.
Talks are also taking place with HEAL USA members to try to get an Amercian version off the
ground in the near future.
Funds are urgently needed for HEAL’s latest, and most ambitious project to date, the
Paradise Village in Thotapally, Andhra Pradesh, which will become home to 1,000 orphaned and
disadvantaged children over the next two years.
HEAL founder Dr Satya Prasad visited the Paradise construction site with Cycle India 2012
particpants and was excited by the early progress on phase one of the building work.
“Planning for Cycle India 2014 is already well advanced, with a 450km coastal ride from Mumbai to Goa already agreed, and the cyclists will have the opportunity to visit with the children at the Paradise Village and the HEAL Children’s Village in Guntur afterwards,” said Dr Prasad.
“We already have a number of people from the UK signed up for 2014, but I’m pleased to say
that Indian participants will have their own Cycle India every other year from now on, which
means that it will now become an annual event.”
HEAL India’s Anita Rao will be part of the organising group for next year’s inaugural
India-based challenge and hopes to attract a large number of young riders.
“UK cyclists will also be welcome to take part,” says Anita, “but I think it will be
largely for the younger generation in India.
“Most young people are naturally fit, though not always through regular exercise, and I
think it will be amazing to see how they perform in our cycling challenge. I’m looking
forward to being actively invloved with this new event.”
In the UK, volunteers are being sought to assist in developing a regional bike ride later
this year as a forerunner to the first full cycle from Land’s End to John o’Groats next
Matthew Glover, head of UK fundraising for HEAL, has been the driving force behind Cycle
India, which has raised over £200,000 to date.
“Cycle India has become Heal’s single biggest fundraising event,” said Matthew. “As well as
raising a large amount of money, the events have spread a lot of happiness to the
participants, children at the HEAL projects and the people of India.
“Cycle India is an opportunity for people to get fit, take part in a life-changing
experience in a beautiful part of the world while doing something very worthwhile for
orphaned and underprivileged children in India.”
To find out more, or to register your interest in taking part in any of HEAL’s forthcoming
fundraising events, please go to the home page of our website at heal.co.uk.
Pictures courtesy of Kalypso Adventures