Tribune News Service
Shimla, February 21
Women safety and their empowerment and environment protection are issues that most people empathise with. Unfortunately, not many follow up their concern with concrete action to bring about a meaningful change.
But two young girls — one from Bihar and the other from Uttarakhand — are moved enough by these issues to begin more than 5,000 km Trans Himalayan journey on their cycles to sensitise people on the issues. They started the journey from the Attari border on February 2 and are hopeful to complete it towards April-end at the China border in Arunachal Pradesh after traversing eight states and Nepal.
“I am often asked how our journey on cycles will make women safer and more empowered?” says Sabita Mahto (24) from Chhapra in Bihar, adding that, “My answer is, when young girls and women will notice us cycling through hills and forests on our own, they will get the confidence of doing their thing. When they will see two girls from faraway places on the road for nearly three months, they will become less apprehensive about moving out of their homes and even moving to new places to pursue education and for employment opportunities.”
The symbolic significance of their journey apart, the two also make direct intervention to drive their message home. “On the way wherever we see schools and colleges, we interact with students to share our message and concerns with them,” said Sabita.
While Sabita has women concerns close to her heart, Shruti Rawat (20) is inclined more towards environmental issues. “I come from Uttarkashi, so the environment is close to my heart,” said Shruti, who runs an NGO and has represented Uttarakhand in cricket in North Zone.
“In our journey, we urge people to at least refrain from littering plastic. We hope people will stop using cars for small distance and start cycling or walking when they will see us travelling more than 5,000 km on cycle,” said Shruti. Almost 20 days on the road now, the two are glad they took this initiative. “We have had a fantastic journey so far. We interacted with students in a few colleges of the state in the last couple of days,” said Sabita.
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