A bike journey with a social message
Syed Ali Mujtaba
Chennai, Oct 19, 2009: A young technocrat on an all-India trip to voice the issues of the marginalized met people living with HIV/AIDS and other most vulnerable section of the society, in this southern metropolis today.
Prabhu S, a software engineer who has covered over 6500 kilometer journey on his bike to reach Chennai interacted with people living with HIV/AIDS and those most vulnerable to it, like sex workers and sexual minorities, who welcomed him and shared their stories of success amidst the challenges.
“Over 200 million Indians live on less than one dollar a day, yet many of the country’s youth are oblivious to this reality,” says this young social worker who has embarked on a three week journey across India to sensitize ‘generation next’ to the critical issue of poverty and lack of access for poor families to education, jobs, health and housing.
“It is unfortunate that while rest of the world knows so much about India’s poverty levels, my generation seems to be oblivious to those living below the poverty line,” says Prabhu, who seems determined to nudge this grim reality of the country.
During his 6,500 kilometer bike ride, Prabhu meet HIV positive single mothers, HIV positive children, urban poor, railway kids, orphans, women who are fighting for land and livelihood and spoke to them of their rights to be counted as citizens.
“Having covered quite a bit of the country and meeting people from a variety of communities, I am shaken by the number of issues that need to be addressed,” says Prabhu.
“I am also struck by the strength and persistence of the people who face such struggles in their daily lives,” he adds.
The young social worker has urged the government to help those communities, which are the most invisible and marginalized having no access basic rights like food and social security schemes etc.
He cited the example of Transgender Welfare Board that has been functional since almost two years but lacks basic citizenship rights like identity cards and food and livelihood rights.
For this trip, Prabhu joined hands with an NGO to highlight the issue of poverty and struggle of communities living with it.
“I learnt about it from the Internet, while searching for NGO’s working with the poor and found their national reach and rights-based approach very appealing,” adds Prabhu.