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They are off!

Our 2023 Sadbhavana Cycle Yatra (Goodwill Cycle Rally) has hit the road. The 70-strong team left Kolkata this morning and are following in Gandhi’s footsteps cycling over 1,000 km to Noakali in Bangladesh, where in 1946, Gandhi spent four months on his mission to restore peace and communal harmony. The intention of our team is to also foster goodwill, peace and harmony sharing the values and thoughts of Bapu (Mahatma Gandhi) and Banganbandhu (Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) among the youth in both India and Bangladesh. We also wish to honour and salute the sacrifices of Muktiyoddhas in Bangladesh and the Indian Army during the liberation war in 1971.

Our previous Sadbhavana Cycle Yatra took place in 2021, with 150 youths travelling 4,280 km through five states and two nations from Ahmednagar Fort. However, due to COVID restrictions only 11 members were able to cross the Bangladesh border to end in Noakali. This year all of our documents are in order and the full team will make their way to the ashram to celebrate Gandhi’s birthday with an International Youth Camp on 2 October.

The first group of cyclists left Ahmednagar by train on 10 September. Participants include our beneficiaries and staff, including founder, DR Girish Kulkarni, youth volunteers, students and supporters, including Lorraine from the UK who has raised over Rs5 lakh in sponsorship for Snehalaya by participating in the rally, They were waved off by a supportive and enthusiastic crowd including Padmashri Popat Pawar and members of Ahmednagar Rotary Club who were entertained with a goodwill street play promoting Gandhi thoughts in today’s context, songs, prayers and bhajans of peace and harmony, including performances by our sister organization, Anamprem’s, Prakash Gan Orchestra.

As the cyclists boarded the train, they received many wishes of good luck and happy journey. They boarded singing songs of goodwill and peace with many of their fellow passengers joining in. Their energy was boosted by warm wishes from organisaitons who had hosted our first cycle rally who met them at stations along their journey to Kolkata. In particular, at Wardha railway station, in the city where Gandhiji established his Sevagram ashram and Vinova Bhave established his Pawanar Ashrama, Gandhians and followers of Avatar Meherbaba welcomed our cyclists with fruits and snacks.

When they finally arrived in Kolkata they were greeted by Mamoon Aktar and his team froj Samartian Mission, Howrah. They are the rally’s hosts while they prepare for their Kolkata departure. Again the cyclists were warmly welcomed and assisted as they finalized their preparations, including collecting the bikes they will ride and donate in Bangladesh.

This morning, the team set off on their adventure. We wish them all the best and can’t wait to hear more about their journey. You can keep up with all the latest news, images and videos on our Sadbhavana Cycle Yatra 2023 page here.

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