COVID-19 Resources

Father and Son cycle 1000km to help children in distress in India

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on human life across the globe, especially in India. In the wake of the pandemic, the lockdown presented an unprecedented challenge to public health, food supply, and employment. The children, especially the ones who were orphaned during the pandemic, are most vulnerable.

Profoundly moved by this tragic situation of orphaned children in India, Arindam Bhattacharya, an Indian-origin banking professional living in Switzerland, decided to support them by raising CHILDLINE 1098. Arindam is a father of two children and a fitness enthusiast.

Arindam's venture into philanthropy was inspired by an Indian origin Swiss citizen who has been running marathons for the last six years. He believes that he always runs for a cause when running a marathon to keep his motivation levels high. He ran his first marathon in May 2018/2019, where he took the responsibility of a 5-year old child. Besides, Arindam also ran marathons to support charities in Africa.

Arindam and his family continuously looked to help victims, especially vulnerable children affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially, he volunteered with an organization facilitating oxygen supply to India. However, he wanted to do more to help vulnerable children.

One of his acquaintances suggested partnering with CHILDLINE 1098 services. After researching about CHILDLINE 1098 services, Arindam was convinced about raising funds through the GiveIndia platform. To encourage people to donate for the cause, Arindam and his 10-year-old son Abhigyan decided to cycle across Switzerland. They cycled a total distance of 1000km to raise money for CHILDLINE 1098 to help children in distress.

They rode the distance of 1000 km in 3 stages over the summer, blogged their journey on their social media pages, and logged the distance covered each day. The father and son duo underwent adequate training before beginning their journey on 16th July 2021.

A glimpse of their Journey

For three weeks, the father-son duo cycled within the borders of Switzerland, crossing the challenging Alpine pass (Gotthard Pass) and four cantons (Zurich, Luzern, Uri, and Ticino). On the first day of the journey, Arindam and his son covered 72 km before their first stopover in Flüelen. On day two and day three, they covered 39 Km and 67 km. After taking a day's break in Bellinzona, the father and son duo covered around 50 km on day 5.

By the end of the day, they had crossed the 200 km mark with 232 Km. On day 6, they covered 58 km travelling from Bellinzona to Mendirisio via Lugano. They reached the 290 km mark. On day 7, they cycled for 70 km touching the 360km mark. By the end of day 8, they had covered 406 km, only 594 km to go.

Arindam and his son reached the 500 km milestone by cycling 94km on day nine and arrived at the Swiss capital, Berne. Arindam mentions that "Reaching the 500 mark, I wanted to give up, but my son Abhigyan believes that he can make a difference if he tries enough, and this is what motivates him to get back on the bike and keep pedalling."

After the epic 94 km in a single day journey, they took a relaxed 20km ride and reached 520 km on day 10. Speeding up their journey, the father and son duo covered 100km and touched the 620 km mark. Next, they covered 71 km travelling from St.Margarethen to Kruzlingen and finished 691 km. Adding 100 km in their journey, they reached 864 km. With a 26.1 km short trip, they completed 890 km. After taking a break for a couple of days, they embarked on their final journey of 110km to finish the 1000 km bicycle ride.

Heartwarming support from near and dear ones

Arindam and his son ended their journey on 7th August and raised €5196 (₹ 4, 46,856) for CHILDLINE 1098 services. Throughout their journey, Arindam and his son faced several trials and tribulations such as extreme heat to cold weather, rough terrain, slopes and a flat tire. On their journey, they met a few good Samaritans who helped them in their journey. Their friends also joined them and supported them throughout their journey. They also shared and promoted the GiveIndia donation link, which also helped to raise funds.

Arindam received tremendous support from his organization to cycle for three weeks across Switzerland to raise funds. For 10-year old Abhigyan, cycling 1000 km across Switzerland during his holidays to support children in distress is no mean feat.

We genuinely appreciate the Champions for CHILDLINE 1098 of Arindam and his son, Abhigyan, for their efforts and contribution towards our mission. Your outstanding dedication to our cause will be an inspiration to many children and families, and it will help us extend care and protection to more and more children in distress.

30 October 2021

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