They are a group of nine youngsters from north London, who call themselves 'The Rickshawalas'. At an age when most youths from privileged background are busy living in comfort, they have set off on a 1,800-km journey from Bhuj in Gujarat to Manali on auto-rickshaws to raise money for underprivileged children in India.
The group, which consists of youngsters aged between 19 and 24, are on a mission to India and have raised Rs 30 lakh so far. They plan to donate the money to a remote school in Manali, Himachal Pradesh.
Dedicated to social service, 'The Rickshawalas' on their way to Manali stopped over at Mehar Baba Charitable Trust at Bassi Pathana in Fatehgarh Sahib district, which was developed by NRI HS Mejie for social work. The group donated Rs 5 lakh to the trust which held a function which AS Chatha, a former Punjab chief secretary, presided over.
The group has successfully has travelled 1,500 km so far. Group member Kushan even went to the extent of shaving his head when offered 500 pounds for doing so.
The group consists of individuals who are part of the Care Young time, which was set up in 2010.
Team leader Nirav said their journey is not just to raise funds but also to spread awareness on charitable trusts working for education. "On reaching Manali, we will donate these auto- rickshaws," he said.
He said that they watched Bollywood movies like 'Sholay', 'Kuch Kuch Hota Hai' and 'Don' to brush up on their Hindi. His younger sister Janvi Shah is also part of the group.
Nirav Shah, 24; Kushan Shah, 22; Aarti Shah, 22; Janvi Shah, 19; Dilisha Patel, 24; Nishil Shah, 19; Raveena Nagaria, 19; Bhavik Haria,19; and Kavi Shah, 24; are all members of Care Education Trust, UK a charity working to better the lives of underprivileged children in India.
As per Nirav Shah, who is from Southgate in London and works as a graphics designer said the Rickshawalas are not your average youngsters, but a bunch of thrill-seeking adrenaline junkies, who want to help those less fortunate than themselves.
"Rickshaw Run is our most ambitious fundraising and awareness project to date. We have driven auto-rickshaws from Gujarat, through the deserts of Rajasthan and the lush farmlands of Punjab. This adventure takes us, from Care's oldest project in Gujarat to its newest in Manali," beamed Nirav.
He claimed the auto-rickshaw was one of the most robust, and popular forms of transport in India. Travelling on a rickshaw through five states has allowed us to experience diverse cultures of India.
"This is a once in a life-time experience. We had aimed to raise 30,000 pounds in sponsorship funds and will donate this money to the Himalayan Buddhist Cultural School in Manali," Nirav said.
Bharat Solanki, Trustee, Care Education Trust was laudatory of the group, "We have been supporting schools for over 12 years, but we had never known such creativity and courage that these young members have shown. They are an inspiration to us. They will change the lives of the people they touch."