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Khel Vikas: A run for the right to play, a run for the right to own a pair of shoes

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Khel Vikas: A run for the right to play, a run for the right to own a pair of shoes

450 participants ran barefoot in the eastern province of Odisha, India, to show their support for children in rural areas who don't have the privilege of owning a pair of shoes.

More than 450 participants came together on a cloudy Sunday morning to run barefoot in order to raise awareness about the lack of shoes for children in rural areas who want to enjoy the right to play like any other child in an urban area.

The first of its kind, the 5km Barefoot Run, organised by sport development organisation Pro4Sport Solutions (P4SS), culminated at the rural development organisation Gram Vikas's head office in Mohuda Village on 21 July with a huge gathering cheering the young winners and community participants.

A unique event

This unique run, part of the Khel Vikas movement that P4SS has initiated with Gram Vikas, involved participants ranging from a 4-year old child to a 45-year-old finance professional. The aim was to raise funds 1,500 pairs of shoes for children from four rural schools of Gram Vikas and for young paricipants of the community sport outreach programme under the Khel Vikas initiative.

The race was flagged off by the Ganjam district sports officer Akshaya Patnaik, sub-divisional police officer, Chikiti B P Mohanto and Gram Vikas executive director Joe Madiath, at Tamana village.

Community support

P4SS co-founder Aman Dhall said that the support received from the local community was overwhelming: "Over 125 people turned up in the community race. The community had an option not to run barefoot but a large percentage ran without shoes. By turning up in large numbers, they sent a message that they are right behind the campaign for getting shoes for rural youth."

Voluntary donations worth Rs 20,000 were received in the run-up to the event, which adds up to around 100 pairs of canvas shoes. P4SS plans to fundraise the rest of money through organising similar runs in different parts of the world with interested organisations and its volunteers.

[This article has been edited by the Operating Team.]

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Article type

News

Author

Rohan Kandoi

Published

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 23:00