Bangalore is up and running for needy childrenMarch 13th, 2009 - 11:50 am ICT by IANS
By Maitreyee Boruah
Bangalore, March 13 (IANS) On a partly sunny Sunday morning, when around 200 people from the city ran a distance of five kilometres inside the salubrious surroundings of Cubbon Park here, they literally opened a new chapter in Bangalore’s social calendar.
Organised by Runners for Life (RFL), India’s largest community of runners, the event christened “Feet on the Street” was an effort by people in Bangalore to run and raise funds for the underprivileged children of the city.
The first edition of the unique monthly event was flagged off March 8 by swimmer and Arjuna awardee Nisha Millet.
“The best part of the event is that every month, after the runs, we’re going to donate 50 percent of the proceeds to Dream A Dream, a local NGO, working for the cause of the underprivileged children of the city,” Chatura Padaki, head of Human Resource and Communications, Runners for Life (RFL), told IANS.
“Along with encouraging people to take up running as a hobby, which has immense health benefits, our effort is also targeted at engaging Bangaloreans to contribute for the cause of needy children,” added Padaki.
Gungho about 206 participants in the first edition of the event, RFL is confident that in the coming months, more and more Bangaloreans will be part of their effort.
Said to be the largest running community of the country, RFL currently has 2,000 members.
“Participants in the first edition came from a cross-section of society. From IT professionals, expats, kids to college-goers, the event was a melange of people from various walks of life. Looking at the success of the first edition, we’re sure that in the coming days we will have thousands taking part in the running event,” said Padaki.
Bangalorean Dinesh Kumar, 73, who completed Sunday’s five-kilometre run was thrilled to be a part of the event.
“It was a lifetime’s experience. I have always loved running and have been practising it for long. Thus, I did not find any problem in completing the five-km stretch. I am glad that by running I have contributed to the cause of needy children,” smiled Kumar, who is all set to take part in the second edition of the event.
The second edition of the run is scheduled April 5. To be part of the event, each participant has to pay Rs.200 as registration fee.
Asked how RFL will collect funds from organising running events, Padaki said, “Along with the profit collected from sponsors, we also depend on the money collected from participants as registration fee.”
Nike, Radio Indigo, and Endtoend marketing solutions were the corporate sponsors for the March 8 event.
The proceeds from the monthly event will help Dream A Dream conduct life skill programmes for children, teaching them communication, team work, leadership and problem solving.
“The very idea of the event is to bring together more and more Bangaloreans and make them run to adopt a better lifestyle. The event has twin benefits. The runners will also contribute to society,” Arvind Bharthi, manager of Runners for Life, told IANS.
According to experts working in the field of child rights, in recent times the number of children, especially street children in Bangalore has increased many folds.
“The exact figure or percentage of street children in Bangalore is hard to provide as the number fluctuates. But due to the increase in the gap between the rich and poor in the city, we can easily say the numbers have increased hugely in recent times,” said Vishal Talreja, founder member of Dream A Dream.
“We’re hopeful that more citizens of Bangalore will take part in the monthly event and will help the disadvantaged children to lead a normal life,” added Vishal.
His organisation works with 750 children from vulnerable communities - those from the streets, slums, runaway children and orphans among others.
(Maitreyee Boruah can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tags: cross section, goers, health benefits, human resource, kilometres, melange, needy children, new chapter, ngo, nisha millet, proceeds, runners, running community, social calendar, sunday morning, sunny sunday, surroundings, swimmer, underprivileged children, walks of life