Ujjawal and the story behind #Ride4ChildRights

Ujjawal Chauhan, an IIT-Kharagpur student and ardent CRY Volunteer, recently completed what his friends and family termed the ‘Madness Project’ but what was for us at CRY an incredible #Ride4ChildRights. With only a cycle, his camera and commitment for child rights for company, Ujjawal and his friend Siddharth cycled 2,500 kms from Kolkata to Mumbai capturing stories of children, hope and change across 4 states. As he cycled, he raised funds for CRY to help fight child labour. Read on to discover the inspiration behind Ujjawal’s journey and commitment to child rights and view some of the amazing photos Ujjawal took along the way.

The reason I wanted to undertake this journey? I wanted to show everyone how disturbing the truth is - how tomorrow's India is working, sleeping on streets.

Why child labour? Each one of us has gone through the anguish of having to witness children begging at traffic lights and thinking that apart from giving that coin, there is nothing we are capable of, or can do to bring long-term change.

My passion for photography comes from? While at IIT, I recognised my potential to be able to construct stories and stir emotion through pictures, which spoke to all people of all languages alike.

Why choose cycling? People such as Terry Fox (an amputee who ran across Canada for raising funds for Cancer), and Lance Armstrong (who completed Tour De France overcoming Cancer) inspired me and I wanted to put all my efforts, push myself to the extremes and do something worthwhile for the cause I believed in.

Why CRY? I was associated with CRY chapter at my college, where I took different initiatives of awareness campaigns through pictures and social media. Every bit I could do, and whichever way I could, I wanted to put my efforts into it and support the organisation and their work.

The thought behind cycling 2,500 kms for a cause? While every citizen should be a change maker in the country, we have turned a blind eye to child labour, taking our own comforted lives and privileges for granted. I was determined to show that if I can do something like this, so can everyone.

 What did you enjoy the most? Through the times where sweat beads would flow from our brows to our chins through as we cycled in 45 degrees heat, to the times where we would greeted by warm locals and children who resonated excitement and enthusiasm in our efforts; I enjoyed everything alike. 

Any parting thoughts? Now at the end of the trip, my mind wanders, asking myself did I bring about a change and how each one of us has to stand united for a developed country.  I also find myself yearning for the peace I found doing something worthwhile for a cause I believed in. It is an effort that should never stop, it is a spirit that should never die, and it is a goal we should not stop before we reach it.

To know more about CRY and our work to ensure lasting change for India's children, visit www.cry.org 

(Copyright for all photos: Ujjawal Chauhan)