Making children from poor families proud owners of cycles

Donated cycles are repaired and given to students in government schools as part of ‘Freedom Pedals’ initiative

Published - September 11, 2017 01:22 am IST -

Ready to ride:  As many as 21 bicycles collected as part of the drive were donated to schoolchildren at Whitefield recently.

Ready to ride: As many as 21 bicycles collected as part of the drive were donated to schoolchildren at Whitefield recently.

If your plans to get fit by cycling have taken a back seat, do not let that cycle rot in a corner of your house. An unused or old cycle can reach a student who would be able to make good use of it to commute from home to school and back.

What began as an abstract idea sometime in 2014 between a software engineer and his friend has resulted in 33 happy children from economically weaker families now being proud owners of bicycles. Now, with a sustained campaign across the city, the two who started the initiative — Freedom Pedals — are looking to expand their project by sourcing more used cycles, repair them and donate them to students in government schools in Whitefield and surrounding areas.

“We accept cycles in any condition as long as the frame is intact. Donors can drop it off at my apartment or at a pre-decided place and we take care of repairs and cleaning before giving it to the children. This began as a small initiative in my apartment block in 2016 where I saw several cycles which had been left chained to the lobby and were going to rust. We managed to collect 12 cycles last year,” said Girish S. Kumar, a software engineer who stays in Marathahalli.

Partnering Mr. Kumar is his friend Sampath Ramanujam, founder of the not-for-profit Anvaya Foundation, and Venkatramaiya, principal of a government school at K. Dommasandra. “The school principal offered to help with storing the 12 cycles we sourced in 2016. He also used his contacts to arrange for transportation and repair. We eventually donated the cycles to his students on Independence Day in 2016,” Mr. Kumar said.

This year, the response has been better. As many as 21 cycles were donated on Saturday after people from surrounding areas came forward to hand them over. “It prompted us to dream bigger,” Mr. Kumar added.

Mr. Ramanujam said 159 donors had expressed interest so far to give their cycles.

Anyone who wants to donate just has to contact the team on 9663033699 or and arrange to drop the cycle off.

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