Bicycle diaries, from Guwahati to Jammu - WAY Foundation takes initiative with 2500km journey to address issues that plague adolescents

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 15.02.14

Guwahati, Feb. 14: A 2,500-km bicycle ride from Guwahati to Jammu will not be just another endurance trip, but one that addresses the problems and issues that concern the country’s adolescents.

The initiative has been undertaken by a city-based voluntary organisation, WAY (We Are Young) Foundation, in association with the state-level advisory committee (SLAC) for students and youth welfare.

Indrajit Sinha, director of WAY Foundation, will be undertaking the solo Bicycle Ride4Charity, to be flagged off by chief minister Tarun Gogoi from the Assam Assembly complex here tomorrow.

“Failure in understanding the physical and psychological changes during adolescence is the root cause of a majority of problems. Adolescents are prone to getting carried away by perceptions generated by misleading friends, teachers, siblings and even guardians. My mission during this trip will be to address such issues,” said Sinha, who is also a certified life skills trainer.

Adolescents account for 22.8 per cent of India’s 1.28 billion population. The issues and problems of adolescence are classified as morphological/developmental, psychological, social and educational. Besides, survival and health risks, nutritional status, sexual and reproductive health matters and gender discrimination are other issues that affect boys and girls in the age group of 10 to 19.

“Parental and peer pressure, bullying by fellow students, fear of failure in exams among others have led many adolescents to even end their lives. Statistics say that one-third of the suicides in India are committed by adolescents,” he said.

Sinha will cover seven states and two Union Territories en route to Jammu on his Hercules bicycle.

“The 2,500km ride will take at least 65 days with stopovers in every state, including Assam. I have tied up with volunteers in each state who will assist in creating awareness in schools, colleges and institutions. Seminars will also be held on the topic. Then again, those interested can also ride along for about 5km to 10km and raise awareness about the issues plaguing adolescents,” he said.

The one-way trip will cost nearly Rs 1 lakh. “The SLAC for students and youth welfare is sponsoring part of the trip. The budget will be kept tight as I will be putting up in government quarters, schools, NGOs and institutions. As for first aid, I have tied up with a number of friends who are doctors and will be accessible for any advice needed during the journey,” Sinha said.

The voluntary organisation, formed by a group of youths last year, is also raising funds for a project to educate the children in Guwahati’s slums. “We have undertaken Project Blackboard to educate underprivileged children and adolescents in the city as well,” he added.