September 27th, 2011
The Funds Will Enable Habitat To Build Five Houses For Flood-Affected Families In Northern India
(Top, from left to right) Supporting rider Yasar, Santosh Dhumal, Indian actor Parikshit Sahni, Vinod Rawat, Manoj Kumar and another supporting rider, Rohan Thakoor.
MUMBAI, 27th September 2011: A group of three differently abled riders has met its fundraising target for Habitat for Humanity after travelling about 6,000 km. across India and they are set to do more in the future.
The group raised 1,475,000 rupees (US$30,300) which will enable HFH India to build five houses for flood-affected families in Leh, northern India.
Vinod Rawat, who uses a prosthetic leg, was the lead rider of the “Build Back Better in Leh” expedition. The other riders are Manoj Kumar who also uses a prosthetic foot and Santosh Dhumal who is affected by polio.
Vinod is the founder of the Convoy Control Club in Mumbai, which aims to provide opportunities to physically challenged individuals to participate in adventure sports.
“The club plans to take up motorbike rides across the country and promote Habitat’s cause every year,” said Vinod.
The riders were given a warm welcome upon their return to Mumbai on 27th August. The heavy downpour did not dampen the spirits of some 30 people who turned up to welcome the riders. They included representatives of the Rotary Club of Bombay and United Phosphorous. Others present were Indian actor Parikshit Sahni; family members of the riders and staff members of HFH India.
The Rotary Club helped organize the 31st July flag-off ceremony in Mumbai and roped in other Rotary Clubs to provide for the riders’ needs along the way.
United Phosphorous has pledged to fund the construction of two Habitat houses in Leh. The agrochemicals company, headquartered in Mumbai, also supported the riders’ accommodation and secured media coverage of the expedition.
The itinerary covers major cities in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu, Kashmir, Delhi and Chandigarh.
The riders reached Leh on 14th August and helped in house construction alongside some 20 soldiers.
The following day, on 15th August, the riders hoisted a flag to celebrate India’s Independence Day before leaving for Khardung La, known as the world’s highest motorcycle pass. They made it to the peak at nearly 5,580 meters (18,300 feet).
His interaction with the families left an impression on rider Santosh Dhumal. “The families were content with what little they had.”
Commenting on his build experience, lead rider Vinod said: “As we worked on the site we felt very proud that we were able to help others. This will be an example for people with disabilities, in that we are not disabled but differently abled and each one of us has the ability to give back the love and support we have received. The beneficiary families had tears in their eyes and expressed how thankful and grateful they were to us. This was the most touching moment.”