Giving children a vibrant future

Cycle India

Mark Ellison visits Mijwan on 26th Dec 2012

I left Azamgarh on a cold and foggy morning cycling along backroads and through small villages of basic brick and mud homes clustered together. The manager at the hotel where I was staying explained to me that the main road between Azamgarh and Pulpur had fallen apart for long stretches and would not be comfortable to cycle along. I shared the backroads with local cyclists; men wrapped in shawls heading to work in the fields, jacket wearing rosy cheeked school kids with woolly hats pulled down over their ears, and mobile stores - men selling an assorted range of products piled high and tied all around their bicycles. The bicycle is the primary mode of transport in this part of Uttar Pradesh and I am always amazed at how sturdy these local cycles are. Sure they squeak, rattle and wobble but that is not surprising after years of trundling along bumpy, dusty roads. I often feel a tinge of guilt as I overtake on my well-maintained, silent, custom built touring bike that cost more than many of these villagers, some of the poorest in India, may earn in a decade!

After a couple of hours cycling I reach the small yet bustling town of Pulpur, I had been informed that Mijwan village is only a few kilometres away, and that I should look for Shabana Azmi Road. After asking around and taking a few wrong turns I find myself cycling along Shabana Azmi Road leaving Pulpur behind me. It’s not long before I come to a junction and turn left onto Kaifi Azmi road, a surfaced lane that leads directly, after a few kilometres, to Mijwan village.

Mary Kom meets the Combodian Cyclist, Mark Ellsion

Olympic bronze medal winner Mary Kom meets the Combodian Cyclist, Mark Ellsion to convey her support for his fundraising initiative.

Mary Kom who has always been supportive towards the cause of Women Empowerment & Education of the girl child, personally met the 42 year old Englishmen, Mark Ellison to convey her good luck last October 2012

Mark is raising funds through his continued support of ‘Around India Cycle Challenge’ which had started from 2 Jan 2012.

From 17th Oct Mark will be heading north starting from Kolkata to Himachal Pradesh and heading further up north through Khardunga pass facing the challenges of extreme terrains and steep incline.

Shabana says, “I am happy that Mark is undertaking this trip to raise funds for projects in India and delighted that he has chosen my NGO Mijwan Welfare Society that works for empowering the girlchild in rural India to be a beneficiary. I find it very moving that individuals make rigorous demands on themselves to be of service for society.I firmly believe in Gandhiji's dictum ' Be the change you want to see in the world'' that's what Mark is doing. More power to him”.

Tour de ‘Cause’

“Mark Ellison” a 42 year old English Gentleman from Cambodia is raising funds for Mijwan Welfare Society through his ‘Around India Cycle Challenge’ starting from 2 Jan 2012 from the Gateway to India.

He will head south following the coast through the state of Maharashtra, and then continue on through the states of Goa, Karnataka, Kerala before reaching India’s most southerly point, Kanyakumari, in Tamil Nadu state. Then he turns north.

Finally he will continue towards the west across the extremely challenging and mountainous ‘Roof of India’ passing through the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir (including the town of Leh at an altitude of 3,505m [10,500ft] and arguably the world's highest motorable pass Khardung La at 5,359m [17,615ft].

Heading south once again he will cycle through Punjab state before experiencing the deserts of Rajasthan.

Then the last state of his great India cycle challenge, Gujarat. After which he will re-enter Maharashtra and cycle back into Mumbai for the culmination of an extraordinary cycle ride around India.

Support Mark Ellisons Initiative by donating for Mijwan Welfare Society.

follow Mark Ellison on to http://www.cycle-india.com.