Four women on Sunday kicked off a 24,000-km road trip to London in an effort to promote literacy.
The four – Meenakshi Arvind of Coimbatore,her 20-year-old daughter Vrinda, Priya Rajpal from Mumbai and Mookambika Rathinam of Pollachi would cover 24 countries in 70 days to commemorate 70 years of Indian independence and also to create awareness on Rotary India’s Literacy Mission. They began their incredible journey from Pollachi on Sunday, 26th March 2017.
TN: 3 women began their 70-day drive from Coimbatore to London yesterday covering 24 countries; stress on women empowerment and literacy. pic.twitter.com/oomwKuml1w
— ANI (@ANI_news) March 27, 2017
Vrinda was a last minute replacement for the ‘XPD 24-70’ mission as one woman Rukmani Sekhar backed out due to illness.
The tour kick-started from Coimbatore on Sunday and the three women are scheduled to cover Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands and United Kingdom during their 70-day mission.
The journey, a brainchild of Meenakshi, was made possible following an extensive planning for more than six months. “We underwent training at a factory of Tata Motors in Pune for two days and we are prepared. We are a little nervous about Central Asia. Since support is mandatory in some countries, we have taken a guide in China, military support in Myanmar and a guide in Kyrgyzstan. But there are a lot of challenges such as non-availability of diesel in Uzbekistan. But we have enough stocks and also spares to handle any situation,” said Meenakshi.
“We are spreading awareness on literacy. We also want to send across the message that India is much more than what it is perceived to be,” said Meenakshi. Several city NGOs, industries and institutions have supported the women and sponsored their trip. It will cost around Rs 15 lakh for each woman.
Mookambika, who is leaving behind her eight-year-old daughter with her relatives, said she would miss her daughter the most during the journey.
“Out drive includes 33-minute travel over the English Channel, which I am already excited about. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to be part of something as big as this. We had some challenges such as convincing our families and friends. But everyone has encouraged and supported us. We have written to various governmental departments in all these countries and many are in touch with us,” she said.
Priya Rajpal said, “Coimbatore has always been a city of motor sports. There is lot of passion among people. We are embarking on this for a purpose. I knew that if I don’t do it now, I will never be able to do it. I have done a lot of road trips in Canada and the US, but they have not exceeded a month. We are aware that this inter-country and inter-continental trip is ambitious but we are strong willed women. We have done extensive planning. There is always an element of uncertainty but we are prepared to adapt to situations and we will ensure we are safe,” she said
“We are driving from Coimbatore to London, covering 24,000 kilometres over a period of 70 days. We are carrying the literacy mission of Rotary across, seeking empowerment and education for girl child,” One of the female drivers, Priya Rajpal told ANI.
The car was flagged off by Tamil Nadu State Urban Development Minister Velumani in the event organised by Rotary Club of Coimabtore Texcity.