Freedom Pedals, an initiative started by Bengaluru-based professionals has donated over 300 cycles to children in orphanages and government schools.

This Bengaluru group takes unused cycles and give them to underprivileged kids
news Human Interest Sunday, March 11, 2018 - 14:34

Around 120 students of Seegehalli government school on the outskirts of Bengaluru were beaming with happiness as they received bicycles which were collected from various parts of Bengaluru on Saturday.

 The early summer gift for the students came from ‘Freedom Pedals’, an initiative started by Bengaluru-based professionals led by Sampath Ramanujam, a software engineer and founder of the not-for-profit Anvaya Foundation.

The initiative began three years ago when Ramanujam was moved by the sight of two girls playing with a broken cycle at Kaivara in Chikballapur district, around 50 kilometres from Bengaluru. 

“We met two girls near a temple in Kaivara, 50 kms from Bangalore and she was playing with a cycle that did not have a bell or proper brakes. Being a resident of Bengaluru I knew that in apartment blocks there are a number of cycles lying around so we came up with the idea of collecting these cycles and giving it to the needy,” explains Ramanujam. 

He along with his team decided to implement their abstract idea of giving away unused cycles in the city to underprivileged children in rural areas. 

The first cycle collected by the initiative was given to Shaila, one of the girls who was playing with the broken cycle in Kaivara. In the first year, the collective managed to donate four cycles and in the next year, they donated 38 cycles to an orphanage in Kadugodi. 

“We have cycles but we are not using them. Either our children outgrow them or we don’t have the space in apartments to ride the cycle. The cycles are in good condition and we rarely use them,” says Ramanujam.

The collective accepts cycles in any condition as long as the frame is intact. 

The initiative soon picked up as Ramanujam was flooded with calls from donors across the city.  A network of convenors across the city coordinate the task of collecting unused cycles.

‘Freedom Pedals’ gave away fifty cycles to students in Dommasandra Government School in September 2017 and have now followed it up with their biggest haul yet – 120 cycles donated to Seegehalli government school students. 

'Freedom Pedals' distributing bicycles at Dommasandra

“In total, we have collected 220 cycles excluding prams and tricycles. Students studying below class 8 do not receive cycles and we made it a priority to give them cycles first. The first 50 cycles went to a school in Dommasandra and today we are giving away 120 cycles to students of classes 4, 5 and 6 in Seegehalli. All the cycles are serviced and repaired after we have collected them,” says Ramanujam. 

“The children are riding cycles restlessly when we have given it to them,” adds an elated Ramanujam. 

Under the initiative, Ramanujam and his team have already donated over 300 cycles to children in orphanages and studying in government schools in rural areas and hopes to continue the work and keep giving away unused cycles to underprivileged children. 

If you want to donate used cycles, you can contact Sampath Ramanujam at +91 9663033699 or reach out to Anvaya Foundation

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