THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:It is a jumbo cycle dream. To gift cycles to girls passionate about cycling. It has been only one year since the ‘Gift a Cycle’ campaign of the bicycle club in the city Indus Cycling Embassy began. And by now, around nine girls from economically weaker sections have been able to take forward their bicycle dreams with the club gifting bicycles through the campaign.
All you need to do is donate Rs 50 per month. And you are giving flight to the dreams of these ardent bicycle lovers. The club gifts cycles to girls belonging to weaker economic background.“There are many girls who know cycling but do not own a bicycle as they cannot afford it. This is what we wanted to address,” says Prakash P Gopinath, managing trustee of the club. Sunday will mark the gifting of the tenth such bicycle.
The donations are mostly from friends and club members. One can either donate Rs 50 per month or donate Rs 600 per year. “If just hundred people donate, then we can mobilise Rs 5,000. We are being given bicycles at factory rate which is Rs 4,000 per cycle. Ever since the start of this year, we have been able to gift one cycle every year,” he added. The children are identified by the Green Army which is active in the schools. With the involvement of the Green Army, the identification of the girl students passionate about cycling has been made easier. “Last year we could donate only three cycles as identifying the girls was difficult,” Prakash says. The cycles have mostly been gifted to girls studying in government schools in the city.
Set up in 2012, the club has been organising a slew of programmes including cycle rallies and giving free bicycle lessons to women. More than 70 women have been trained in cycling by the club. “We even had a 68-year-old woman learn cycling. It was only older women who came to learn cycling. We wanted to bring into the fold girls as well,” And thus the club started promoting cycling among school children, with the ‘Gift a Cycle’ campaign being just one among them.
The Club members feel that promoting cycling is akin to turning one into advocates of nature. “Promoting cycling is the promotion of a sustainable lifestyle. There is no pollution,” he says. But the most important of all is that cycling empowers girls. “Cycling helps them claim public spaces and makes them independent. It infuses a sense of courage in them,” he adds.
Earlier, only cycles were given. Starting this Sunday, a helmet will also be given. The girls gifted with cycles earlier will also be provided with helmets.What brings joy to Prakash is how the club’s concept is being adopted by other cycling clubs. “A cycling club in Punjab is set to launch a similar campaign. And that is the dream, for this campaign to spread,” he adds.
To get in touch with the club, contact 8089494442.