BENGALURU: In a bid to promote a healthier lifestyle and get more people involved in giving back to society, Bhumi, a non-profit youth organisation, is hosting cycling trips at the start of every month, called ‘Riding for a Cause’. These cycling rips aren’t ordinary ones. Since September last year, the Bengakuru chapter of the organisation, is conducting drives to nearby villages, where development work has been going on.Focusing on development work in Vittasandra village, close to the city, this group of cyclists and volunteer have already painted the Anganwadi there and are setting up a library too. Chentil Kumar, part of Bhumi Bengaluru, talks to City Express about what these rides are all about, and how keeping healthy can also become an altruistic activity.
Tell us a bit about how the idea behind these rides was developed.
In our weekend volunteer meetings, activities and Bhumi events, Swathi, the coordinator of the Catalyse programme, and myself noticed that four of our volunteers commuted by bicycle. Curious about their choice, we had a discussion with Somu, Sujith, Sriraman, and Pavish on their riding experience and presented to them the idea of motivating the populace to use bicycles for healthy living. Cycling not only rejuvenates our body and mind, but also reduces fuel consumption.Moreover, knowing the evident impact regular cycling can have on our environment, we wanted to encourage as many citizens as possible to switch to building a sustainable future.Swathi, Somu and myself then came up with the initiative ‘Riding for a Cause’, a monthly riding event for personal, environmental and societal benefit. We have augmented the riding event with volunteering for some causes like environment and village development.
How many have been conducted till date and what has the response from citizens been like?
So far we have completed six rides. We ride for a selected cause every month on the first or second Sunday. We have got a good response from the public, with a total of more than 190 participants in these six rides. We aim to scale up the event by accommodating more participants, thereby making a much greater impact.The theme for our first ride was ‘seed-balls for environment’ in which we procured seed-balls and threw them in a forest. From the second ride, we have taken up village development at Vittasandra village.
What are the kind of people who you see taking part?
Participants have been youngsters and adults both - women and men. Anyone who feels inspired to ride is welcome. People need not even own a cycle. We have partnered with ‘Garden City Cycle’ to rent out cycles at a reduced cost for all our rides.
Why and how did you chose Vittasandra?
We selected Vittasandra village based on two criteria - population of the village and its distance from Bengaluru. Not everybody can ride for long distances and we wanted our village to be within 15km radius, which would be inviting to beginners. We also wanted the population to be manageable with limited volunteer/participant count.
What is the development work that will be undertaken at the village by Bhumi?
We choose only such volunteering activities that are possible with our participants’ support in the limited time we spend there. Some activities we have done so far include painting of the Anganwadi, setting up a library for children and few awareness campaigns.
What are the awareness campaigns you will be working on?
In the previous ride, we will be conducting a health awareness campaign. Previously, we conducted awareness campaigns on waste management, which has encouraged residents to segregate waste and dispose responsibly.
What are some of the other initiative Bhumi will be working on in Bengaluru this year?
Bhumi is primarily a volunteer-driven organisation, and our volunteers provide language and STEM education at orphanages/shelter homes and urban slum communities. We also revive lakes (currently ongoing at the Vibhutipura Lake), clean public spaces and conduct other civic welfare activities. Many more events will be organised round the year.Their next ride will be in the first week of February, those interested can get onto Bhumi’s website or Facebook page to find out more.