Two cyclists on a mission for women’s safety: The Tribune India

Subhash Rajta

Tribune press service

Shimla, February 21

Women’s safety, empowerment and environmental protection are issues that most people sympathize with. Unfortunately, few follow up on their concerns with concrete actions to bring about meaningful change.

But two young girls – one from Bihar and the other from Uttarakhand – are moved enough by these issues to embark on a 5,000km trans-Himalayan journey on bicycles to raise awareness of the issues. They started the journey from the Attari border on February 2 and hope to complete it by the end of April at the Chinese border of Arunachal Pradesh after crossing eight states and Nepal.

“I am often asked how our bike trip will make women safer and more independent? said Sabita Mahto (24) from Chhapra in Bihar, adding: “My answer is that when young girls and women notice us cycling through hills and forests by ourselves, they will have the confidence to do their thing. When they see two girls from distant places on the road for almost three months, they will have less apprehension about leaving their homes and even moving to new places to continue their education and find career opportunities. ‘use.

Apart from the symbolic meaning of their trip, the two also intervene directly to get their message across. “Along the way, wherever we see schools and colleges, we interact with students to share our message and concerns with them,” Sabita said.

While Sabita has women’s concerns at heart, Shruti Rawat (20) is more inclined towards environmental issues. “I’m from Uttarkashi so the environment is close to my heart,” said Shruti, who runs an NGO and has represented Uttarakhand in cricket in the Northern Zone.

“In our trip, we ask people to at least refrain from throwing away plastic. We hope that people will stop using the car for small distances and start cycling or walking when they see us. cycling more than 5,000 km,” Shruti said.

Almost 20 days on the road now, the two are happy to have taken this initiative. “We have had an absolutely fantastic trip so far. We have also interacted with students from a few colleges in Himachal over the past few days,” Sabita said.

Mara R. Wilmoth