Guwahati Run & Walk - An Event For A Cause

    Guwahati Run & Walk - An Event For A Cause

    By Ankur Bora

    AFNA is proud to be associated with The Guwahati Run & Walk, a unique event to raise awareness about a few remarkable persons and their organizational work. The event was organized on 1st January to spread a message of hope, inspiration and faith for the year 2012.

    The 17th February, 2008, the day of the AT&T Austin Marathon was a memorable day in my life. For, I not only participated in the marathon, I also completed the 13-mile race course. The run also had a profound impact on me as I began to see the world differently.

     

    The run was also special to me because it was a run for a cause. I was running for Parijat Academy, Prajnalaya, and Asha Darshan located in Assam. In the United States, event like running a marathon is a popular means of raising money for a charitable cause. It is worthwhile to mention that in the AT&T Marathon, there were five thousand participants apart from me, who were appealing to the fellow community members, friends and colleagues to donate generously to their respective charity. My appeal was to make contribution to help the children and teachers of these educational institutes in teachers’ salary, buying books, and providing mosquito nets, water filters, and other essential items.

    The AT&T marathon kick-off event was spectacular, as I recall. The run started with the thunder of the starting canon with the overhead fireworks discharged in radiant bursts. I vividly remember each and every moment of that day. As the race progressed, I saw an incredible parallel between running the race of life and running a marathon. I began to see more clearly what I can do to make my life more meaningful, successful, and satisfying. As I saw the fellow runners navigating the treacherous paths, going up and down along the hills, I realized that difficulty and challenges are part of the game. Overcoming them is what separates the finishers from the wannabes. We have to be resilient, not to give up. Rather than panicking or quitting when obstacles appear, we have to seek workable solutions that mitigate the problem and keep us moving toward our ultimate success.

    The Guwahati Run & Walk on First January 2012 is giving me a unique opportunity to raise awareness about a few remarkable persons and their incredible work. These individuals with their determination, focus and zeal are bringing positive changes to the society. They are more or less unknown in public – but for me they are the real heroes.

     

    Lanu A Aimol

    Lanu Aimol, who works in the Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities in the Guwahati Medical College campus, life charted out an exceptional course - a course that has brought him a deep sense of satisfaction in his heart.

    Aimol, who runs an NGO called Society for Health and Educational Development (SHED)—a residential rehabilitation center for special needs children in Bhetapara, Guwahati, exemplifies the fact that even a small step can initiate immense changes. It needs immense courage, great compassion, and exceptional dedication for an individual to put all his energy and time and take responsibility for these special children. Lanu A Aimol has done more and beyond. SHED has been making significant progress in the development of the children, some of whom are autistic. art of giving shades
    Their amazing progress after spending some time in SHED has paved the way for their transition into a normal school. This is an achievement which is extremely encouraging for all sections of society, and has indeed brought some cheer to the parents of these children. Running this center primarily with his own salary and from a rented accommodation, Aimol’s story stands testimony to the fact that if there is a will, there indeed is a way.

     

    Pradip Sarma (Laureate of The Tech Awards 2011)

    The Rickshaw Bank presents a remarkable opportunity to directly help the bottom of the pyramid worker, in a sustainable, entrepreneurial way. Founder Dr. Pradip Sarmah has identified a hard-working, largely migrant population that – primarily for lack of credit and legal identification/recognition – struggles to make a daily living. His project did elevate the Rickshaw pullers who were struggling to meet both the ends of their life to be a socially responsible entrepreneur. We are proud of his effort that has been able to motivate western intellectuals to stand beside him. It is a matter of pride that some of the world’s best universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale School of Management are currently collaborating with Rickshaw Bank.

     

    Kaushik Das

    It takes a special person to leave behind a 22 year long successful career as an industry expert and branch into the role of a Good Samaritan attempting to develop a germ of an idea into a noble venture. It happened in May 1996 when Kaushik Das of Guwahati got with a small group of like-minded friends and well-wishers, and started Atma Nirbhar – Ek Challenge.

    Atma Nirbhar is an economic rehabilitation and empowerment project for the disabled giving them an opportunity to work with dignity and to become self-reliant. The project generates income, wherein tea and spices are packaged and marketed under the brand name ‘Nav Jeevan’ (New Life). This urge to help did not happen overnight. Mr. Das, an active Rotarian since 1985, expressed his thoughts in the following way, “During my days in the tea industry, I had everything going for me but the mental satisfaction was missing. Although I did work with the Rotary Club, I always wanted to do something practical which would directly benefit the less fortunate ones Fortunately by 1996, I was financially secure enough to take the plunge." The guiding principles for Atma Nirbhar are simplicity, respect and dignity of labor.

    The goal is to give the disabled an opportunity to be economically self-reliant, and be integrated with normal society. The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People awarded Mr. Das with the “Shell Helen Keller Award” in the year 2000 for his tireless and inspiring work for the disabled.

    Father Lukose

    Father Lukose is the founder of ‘Snehalaya’ shelter homes. There are a total of five Snehalaya Shelter homes in Guwahati, surrounding the city like a garland of love (sneh) which shelters about a few hundred street children. A very humble and delightful man, Father Lukose is passionate about his mission to save street children from the horrific clutches of desolation and abandonment. He founded the Snehalaya Homes in Guwahati in 2001 which first started with one home and has since has grown into more. Father Lukose dedicated his life to be a father to the fatherless, to provide homes for the homeless children, to seek out the lost and the least noticed children and to mainstream them. He said he owes it to Mother Theresa who inspired him towards this noble path and it was at her funeral that he resolved to start the Snehalaya homes. He believes that the search for God ultimately leads to children, as they are His most precious gift to humanity.

     

    Uttam Teron

    Seven years before the Right to Education Bill was introduced in the Parliament, Uttam Teron, a young man from Pamohi, 20 km from Guwahati, dreamt of 100 per cent literacy for the children of his village. Education was the lowest priority in this Karbi-dominated hamlet and most children, especially girls, helped their parents in the fields. This changed when Teron began the Parijat Academy in a cowshed in 2003 with just four students. Today, the school, with a small hostel, provides free education to 502 students of which 256 are girls. Uttam has shown great courage, determination and dedication to uplift these children from their helpless state and give them hope and happiness through education and a better way of life.

    Seven years before the Right to Education Bill was introduced in the Parliament, Uttam Teron, a young man from Pamohi, 20 km from Guwahati, dreamt of 100 per cent literacy for the children of his village. Education was the lowest priority in this Karbi-dominated hamlet and most children, especially girls, helped their parents in the fields. This changed when Teron began the Parijat Academy in a cowshed in 2003 with just four students. Today, the school, with a small hostel, provides free education to 502 students of which 256 are girls. Uttam has shown great courage, determination and dedication to uplift these children from their helpless state and give them hope and happiness through education and a better way of life.

    For most of us engrossed in the daily routine of balancing work and life, there is barely any time left to look around and feel the pain and suffering of the not so priviledged, the marginalized and the forgotten lot. Uttam Teron, Pradip Sarma, Father Lukose, Kaushik Das and Lanu Aimol are a few amongst us who have been able to make a difference in the lives of others and touch their lives in more ways than one.

    Mahatma Gandhi had said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” There are very few people who, rather than crib about the way things are, dare to be the change they want to see in the world. It’s because of them that the world is a better and more meaningful place for all of us; especially for those whose lives have been touched and changed. The Guwahati Run & Walk is a tribute to these extraordinary individuals and I am proud and honored to participate in this unique event.

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