Published: 07th December 2017
Sixteen cyclists to travel from Hyderabad to Vizag to crusade for the education of underprivileged girls
The Telanagana and AP police have offered their assistance for the rally, organised by cyclists from Umeed 1000, to raise funds for the girls of a Secunderabad school
On a cold, chilly morning on December 5, 16 cyclists lead a crusade for Udbhav School in Rasoolpura. Umeed 1000 is the name of this mission and the mission is to raise funds for the education of underprivileged girls of the aforementioned school, situated in one of the slums of Secunderabad. The forces behind this initiative were the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad Alumni Association Hyderabad Chapter (IIMAAA HC), who had taken the school under their wing in 2013 and RBL Bank, whose cyclists, led by celebrity cyclist Jasmeet S Gandhi were the participants of the event. It started in Hyderabad (technically from the RBL Bank in Madhapur) and will end on December 15 after the team has cycled 1,000 kms to reach Vishakapatnam. The fourth edition of Umeed 1000 might come to an end, but their mission to forever crusade for the society has just begun.
On stage: Dignitaries on the day before the flag off of Umeed 1000
Before the event, we had the chance to meet the people behind this initiative at Cyber Conventions, Kondapur a day before the flag off. Amidst the several selfie sessions and hoots from the enthusiastic RBL cyclists, we first bumped into the correspondent of the school, H Sitaram who not only expressed his joy about the newly functional Hyderabad Metro Rail, but made a pertinent point about it too. One of the railway stations, namely Rasoolpura is half a kilometre from the school, so naturally, property prices will be nudging upwards, he explained, adding that the school had two buildings on rent since 2006 and, “the landlords may look upon this as an opportunity to increase the rent and if we can’t pay beyond a particular amount, we might be asked to leave,” he said. Shifting is not an option because adding the burden of transport charges on parents who are having a tough time to make ends meet is not acceptable. Adding to this, are their plans to adapt IT-enabled software, “which really is a tiger you cannot get off,” due to constant and indispensable software and hardware upgrades.
Dual dose: The rally is being conducted in partnership with the Telangana Police and AP Police. The DGP of Telangana, M Mahender Reddy was the chief guest at the event
So, this hope called Umeed 1000 comes at the right time for the school which plans to build a large corpus, “so that based on that interest, the school, can run, though we will still have to top off the funds when inflation strikes,” he says as we move towards the children of the school, whose surprising timidity could be attributed to the teachers who were around or to the fact that they were going to present a rendition of the invocation song. And as few of the class VI students enthusiastically started sharing their aspirations of becoming doctors or teachers, we could see what the right help could do for them.
This generation and the generation that follows is definitely motivated by a cause, not just pure bottomline business
Jasmeet S Gandhi
One of the first things we discussed with Jasmeet S Gandhi, who was also the concept designer behind the cyclathon, was the fact that the challenge was not the journey or the cycling, it was raising the funds. “But our mission is to inspire everyone to do what they can. We are passionate about education so we try to drive home the message of its importance,” Gandhi says. But Gandhi, who started the first edition alone and now has the company of 15, is grateful for all that has been coming their way which is promptly directed to their cause.
Pillar of support: The cyclathon will cover Kurnool, Tirupati, Ongole and Vijayawada where employees of RBL Bank and others will be supporting the team
Towards the end, we manage to get a few moments with the president of IIMAAA HC Ram Kaundinya and Vice-President T Muralidharan, whom we had only one question to ask. Looking at their alumni network, we wondered about the potential of such alumni networks across all universities and how it’s not being leveraged. “Colleges spend a lot of money getting students in, but not enough getting them out,” Muralidharan says, with a visibly sad look. Explaining his statement he talks about how institutions pump money into advertisements and promotions to get students as a result of which their placement and alumni association budgets remain neglected. “Fundamentally, it’s a marketing problem. At least in this sense, colleges are short-sighted,” he observes.
Lined up: All the cyclists before embarking on their journey
And just before we leave, Rajeev Ahuja, the guest of honour and Executive Director of RBL Bank Ltd joins in on the conversation and effectively concludes by emphasising on the position of every child. “One of the ways to build a nation is to take care of its children in their formative years. It helps them break out of the vicious circle of poverty and inspires them to give back to society instead,” he concludes.