Kohima: Siddhartha Dutta, Ahmer Siddiqui and Neha Chaturvedi, who started off the ‘Road Ashram’, a campaign on wheels from Delhi on October 4 reached Kohima on Thursday and set out to Manipur the same day.
They are on a mission to cover around 25,000 km through 30 states and union territories in about 54 days to raise funds for those affected by COVID-19.
Interacting with journalists at the Made in Nagaland centre, Siddiqui shared how they saw the COVID-19 pandemic progress from a medical crisis to that of a humanitarian crisis. Nagaland is the ninth state that the trio set foot on as part of the campaign. While it is physically tiring, he said that journey had been “mind-blowing” as they drive through cities, interacting with people from all walks of life along the way and learning about the experiences and expectations of people on how to overcome the crisis.
Chaturvedi, the lone female member of the team, expressed how the trio has built a “fond connection” since they met just a day ahead of the trip. Her challenge has been the lack of toilets for women by the roadsides across most parts of the country. As they meet various kinds of people along the way, she said that gazes of men become disturbing as well.
At times Chaturvedi feels that her identity is “snatched” away as people would often consider her as the wife or sister of her teammates. Despite the challenges that women face, she then encouraged other women to travel around and explore places and people.
She also expressed delight in finding women shopkeepers by the roadsides in the North East region, sharing that women seem to be freer as compared to the mainland. Speaking about Nagaland, she shared how impressed she was to see women at the helm of affairs.
Meanwhile, Dutta said that amid the pandemic, children have been at the receiving end as millions of children missed vaccinations due to the global health crisis. According to him, online schooling continues to be a concern across the nation due to the digital divide.
He said that details of the trip will be available online at www.roadashram.in and other social media handles, where interested persons can also donate. The funds generated through this campaign will be donated to NGO Give India, to aid the organization in providing food to the worst affected families across the country.
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