Walk the talk: Oxfam Trailwalker back in India

National |  IANS  | Published :

Mumbai, Sep 11 (IANSlife) After witnessing 1,600 people participating in ‘India's biggest walkathon last year, Oxfam Trailwalker is back again. The fundraising event, which has 100km and 50km trails, will be held from December 13-15 in Mumbai and February 7-9, 2020 in Bengaluru for which registrations have opened.

Oxfam Trailwalker is held in 17 cities across nine countries including Australia, Belgium, France, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Spain and the UK where trailwalkers (participating teams) form a team of four to complete either of its 100km or 50km trail in shortest time.

In 2018, people raised over Rs 5 crore to contribute towards Oxfam India's projects on climate change, forest rights, education, health, gender and discrimination in the five poorest states of India (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh) for various education and health programmes, to support survivors of violence against women, and to empower tribal communities.

Amitabh Behar, Chief Executive Officer of Oxfam India, who embodies the phrase ‘Walk the Talk', said: "We are living in times when millions of people are locked in poverty and are looking for support from the world to fight discrimination and inequality. Oxfam Trailwalker is not just a physical challenge, but an opportunity for people to raise money, create awareness and campaign for the rights of millions of people around the world. Trailwalker participants act as ambassadors and become a part of a community of passionate people who believe in changing the world by standing together and challenging the abuse of power."

‘Walk The Talk' is all about ordinary people taking an extraordinary challenge to bring about lasting change in peoples' lives, Behar feels.

"We all feel the desire to change the world, but only a few are able to go the extra mile to make a difference in someone's life. Oxfam Trailwalker India challenges people to walk and do their bit for the world. You don't need to be an athlete to complete the walk, just to be prepare sensibly ahead," he said.

Behar completed the 100km walkathon last year with his teammates. He said the event was a huge emotional roller coaster as there were times when he felt it was impossible for him to walk any further.

"But, we kept each other motivated and were aware that it was a collective journey. The sense of achievement and satisfaction when you cross the finish line is immense. They were indeed the best 48 hours of my life - exhilarating, inspiring and a great learning experience. Yes, the going gets tough, but there is contentment, pride, joy and the experience is one that you take away with you and remember forever."

Last year, around 1,600 people from across India walked 100km (or 50km) in Mumbai and Bengaluru, which included cancer survivors and even people with visual impairment participated, said Behar.

Since its inception in 1986, two lakh people have taken part in the walkathon and there are plans to increase its footprint in other cities of the country, like Hyderabad.

This year, from December 13-15, 100km and 50km trails will pass through the majestic Sahayadri ranges, the Western Ghats and Bhor Ghat in the quaint town of Karjat in Maharashtra. From February 7-9, 2020, the trails will start from the valley of Nandi Hills near the ancient Bhoga Nandeeshwara Temple and end at Olde Bangalore resort, Tharbanahalli.

Walkers can register their teams on the website https://trailwalker.oxfamindia.org. The registrations for Mumbai Trailwalker closes in November 2019 and for Bengaluru in January 2020. Everyone and anyone who feels they are physically and mentally strong to take on the adventure can register.

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