17 Oct 2014

Fundraiser Sam shines a light on the Dalit community with his Mumbai cycle ride

 Life Association, India

I won’t pretend that cycling over 1,000 km across India isn’t a crazy and daunting prospect – it is – but, being able to contribute to the future of these children, when they have no other options, makes the challenge very much worthwhile.”

Sam Hawthorne is determined to give something back by taking on, in his words, a ‘crazy challenge’. He’s on a mission to raise £5,000 for Life Association this November by cycling across India.

Joining ten other cyclists from the UK, Sam will be cycling 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai, on the west coast, to Gannavaram on the east coast, which is home to the charity’s largest orphanage.

Shining a light on the Dalits

For 20 years Life Association has been building schools and children's homes amongst Dalit communities in India. The charity’s mission is simple: to raise awareness of the plight of the Dalits and the difficult issues they face.

Life Association campaigns against the caste system. The last 3,000 years has seen the Dalits – or ‘Untouchables’ – positioned at the bottom of India’s society. Nearly one quarter of India's 1.2 billion society, according to the charity, are subjected to aggressive and dehumanising abuse.

Giving hope

Funds raised by people like Sam are used to support Dalit children who would otherwise be exploited and, in many cases, abused.

For example, the charity’s first school, built in 1993 in Uttar Pradesh, now provides an education and hope for around 450 Dalit children.

The charity is proud that every penny of a donation goes directly to supporting Dalit children.

Making every kilometre and penny count

Sam knows that when taking on a challenge this big, he needs every penny to count. He says: “I chose MyDonate because all the money we raise will be able to go directly to the Life Association.”

Speaking on behalf of the charity, Simon Hawthorne says: “Our partnership with MyDonate is brilliant because, not only do we get the Gift Aid benefit, but we save the five per cent fee that many other similar organisations charge. For example, £250 would provide the education, food, healthcare and clothes in a loving home for a child, for a year.”

With a target of £5,000, he’ll be raising exactly £5 per kilometre. With MyDonate not a single kilometre will go to waste.

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Find out more about the Life Association’s work across India

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