Around 450 persons ran barefoot from Tamana village to Mohuda in Ganjam district on Sunday to show their support to the rural children who are yet to afford a pair shoes.

The runners included children from extreme young age to professionals above the age of 40 years. The youngest child, who participated in the run, was four-year-old. Even nature extended its support to the run which was held for a cause. Sky remained cloudy providing shade for the barefoot runners.

The unique run was part of the ‘khel vikas movement’ taken up jointly by ‘Pro4Sort Solutions (P4SS)’, a sport development organisation and a social organisation, Gram Vikas. Their aim is to create awareness among the public about the plight of children who cannot afford shoes, so that money could be raised to buy about 1,500 pairs of shoes for the children of four rural schools.

According to the organisers, lack of shoes is a major obstacle in the path of development of sport in the rural areas.

The run was flagged off at Tamana village on Berhampur-Chikiti road by district sports officer Akshaya Patnaik, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDOP) B.P. Mohanto and Gram Vikas executive director Joe Madiath. “District sports department will lend all support to this initiative and I will personally request the Collector to support the programme to provide shoes to some needy school-going children,” Mr Patnaik said.

Similar events likely

Mr. Madiath said they would make efforts to hold similar events regularly to create awareness regarding major social issues including promotion of sports in the rural areas to tap hidden talent.

P4SS co-founder Aman Dhall lauded the support of localites for the run. “Although we did not press anyone to run barefoot yet participants preferred to do so,” he said.