Rana began his skating journey on September 5 from Hosur in Tamil Nadu and has been able to raise funds for the education of over 16,200 girl children across the country so far.

This AP man skated over 5500 kms to raise awareness for education of girls
Features Education Monday, December 10, 2018 - 18:23

Three months, 5,500 kilometres and four pairs of skating wheels later, Rana Uppalapati, a 37-year-old businessman from Vishakapatnam, skated to a stop at Chennai, his last halt on the country’s Golden Quadrilateral Route.

Rana began his skating journey on September 5 from Hosur in Tamil Nadu and has been able to raise funds for the education of over 16,200 girl children across the country so far. His journey will end in Hosur on December 11. 

Rana is the face behind Titan’s Echo Campaign, launched to raise funds for the education of underprivileged girl children. Rana decided he would skate the 6,000-kilometre journey.

“I realised that it (the campaign) served a lot of purposes. I understand that there is a lot of work to be done in this area – educating girl children. If you’re able to start off with a better foundation, you are better off in life. And if women are enabled, it is beneficial for everyone in the society,” says Rana, who works as Titan’s Business Associate.

A sun-tanned Rana is almost unrecognisable from what he looked like in his original campaign poster. “I started when it was the second summer. It was blazing hot and the first 3,000 kilometres were the hardest,” he shares.

Rana is not a professional skater and neither was he a regular skater as you might have expected him to be. In fact, Rana had not skated in years when he began this journey. 

“I used to skate as a kid. I began skating when I was 8 and continued competitively for a few years. Later I dropped skating but continued playing other sports. In fact, I had not skated for more than 10 kilometres at a stretch even back then,” he shares, adding, “When I thought of this campaign I immediately thought of skating because it was an ability I already had,” he says.

It is quite interesting to know that Rana picked up right from where he had left on the day he began skating. “I had kept my skates ready and just started. I built ability on the road. Initially, my speed was around 12 to 15 kmph. Today because of the journey I’m able to easily skate at 20 to 25 kmph,” he says.

Rana maintains 80 to 90 kilometers per day to keep up with his schedule, skating across places like Tumakuru, Sira, Chitradurga, Hubli, Belgaum, Kolhapur, Pune, Mumbai, Bharuch, Vadodara, Delhi, Lucknow, Varanasi, Patna, Dhanbad, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad and finally Chennai in 95 days.

Through this journey, Rana attended over 100 events that were organised in schools and colleges, sharing his experiences and educating children and adults alike on ‘Good touch bad touch.’ 

“Children everywhere have warmed up to the idea of me skating. But I draw more attention to how they can address their own problems. Skating is just the medium through which I’ve chosen to draw attention to this campaign. Its purpose is no more than that. I enjoy sharing useful elements from my journey that could be inspirational for them,” he says.

Emerging on the other end of this daunting journey, Rana remains unfazed, insisting that the cause is more important than the person. “I have started thinking there’s nothing for the self – not even a sense of gratification or accomplishment. I am doing this with an understanding that I can already do it. Not to sound overconfident but I have no expectations for myself” he says.

Titan India has partnered with KC Mahindra Education Trust (For project Nanhi Kalli), Mumbai, and IIMPACT, Delhi for this campaign.

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