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Monday, March 30, 2009

Upcoming adventure in India - Suggestions and Sponsorship required

The last few months have been manically busy for me workwise. As a result, I'd been intending to take a holiday in April to relax.

And indeed, I am going to be away for 3 weeks from April 8th. But rather than relaxing, I've been persuaded by a good friend of mine to go on a charity-raising adventure across India instead. We're going to be driving a three-wheel, 7-horsepower auto rickshaw for 4000km / 2500 miles, from Shillong in the Northeast, to Goa on the West Coast. About 60 other teams are also taking part.

Full details of the trip are here: http://rickshawrun09e.theadventurists.com/

All of this is very last-minute, as we got told about a waiting-list space on the trip only a week or two ago.

Given the whole thing is clearly a crazy thing to do, my friend Kathleen & I have called our team the Mad Hatters, after the character in Alice in Wonderland (and our mutual liking of hats).

Our woefully-underdeveloped Team Microsite is at this link. We'll be putting up our route as soon as we work it out ourselves, and maybe some more content if we get a chance over the next week. Depending on connectivity (see my questions below!) we'll be updating it and the team Facebook page as well, as we go across India.

As well as visas, vaccinations and general preparation, we also have to raise sponsorship money for two very worthy charities. And this is where I am hoping some of my regular blog readers will step up. You'll notice that I don't have adverts on this blog. The content is "free to air" - and while some of it is anecdotal, other stuff would stack up paid-for, in other contexts such as my reports & consulting. I'm happy to give it away for free.....

....but I'm appealing to your generosity (and maybe guilt!) to contribute on this occasion.

The charities are:

Frank Water

Sustainable, affordable, clean water projects using the latest technology. Currently 1 billion people worldwide lack access to clean drinking water, 2.2 million people die every year from dirty water related disease affecting mainly under 5’s. Over 20 World Health Organisations recognise water related diseases. 85% of hospital admissions in Andhra Pradesh are related to dirty water. Women and children walk miles and spend hours collecting dirty water. Old pumps, boreholes and wells are often contaminated.

Frank Water is working in partnership with Water Health International (technologists) and Naandi (local NGO), funding and implementing community clean water projects across India. Money raised will go the capital costs of building the clean water facility. Villagers also contribute to build costs for commitment and ownership.
Read more at www.frankwaterprojects.org
Donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/rickshawrun-madhatters-frank

SOS Children's Villages

SOS Children's Villages has been providing a family for life for children who have lost their parents through war, famine, disease and poverty since 1949. Over 70,000 orphaned or abandoned children are cared for by SOS mums in clusters of family homes in more than 470 of our unique children's villages, in 123 countries around the world.

A further million benefit from SOS Children's outreach support which includes education, vocational training, medical care and community development programmes. SOS Children also provides emergency relief in situations of crisis and disaster and continues to support families in Pakistan and tsunami-affected countries.
Find out more at www.soschildren.org
Donate at: http://www.justgiving.com/rickshawrun-madhatters-sos

Please note that the Justgiving website allows personal contributions to be made on the part of a company, and can give receipts etc.

As regular readers know, I'm very protective of this blog's independence, and I don't do "paid" posts and generally dislike direct "will you do an article" pitches from PR people. On this occasion, though, I will make an exception. Companies or individuals sponsoring the trip will get a name-check in a future blog-post. And particularly generous contributions will get more content written - maybe even a standalone post.

And if you have any practical hints or tips - or maybe want to give us a satellite modem or India-ready USB modem or data SIM - please either comment on here, or email me via firstname.lastname AT disruptive-analysis DOT... com

Many thanks!



Kiran Nataraj said...

Make sure you are very fit physically (and mentally) :-).

Auto rickshaws can be very taxing on your back - due to the (lack of) proper suspensions / shock absorbers.

Also here's a basic checklist of do's and don'ts

- Carry water - proper bottled
- Don't eat anything in the raw form (which means no to salads, etc)
- Anything boiled / cooked is fine (as long as it has not been left around for long)
- Carry some form of cushion that helps keep your back straight and comfortable

Let me know if you need more practical tips...


Rajiv said...

Oh! You're so welcome to India. If you happen to stop in Bangalore, do look up Mobile Monday Bangalore. http://momobangalore.org. We'd love to meet up with you. :)