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Group of orphans, disabled on trekking expedition


New Delhi : In a unique initiative, an adventure club from Mysore has brought together teenagers from different strata of society for a trekking expedition to Kuari Pass in Uttarakhand. The 24-member group has 15 orphans, including two disabled.

The group, which started its journey from Mysore, was flagged off here Wednesday by Congress leader Sachin Pilot. It will make its way to Kuari pass (4,268 metres) in Chamoli district of the state.

“Such an initiative shows that every strata has hope, the government from different states should encourage such initiatives. A venture like this shows that caste, creed, strata should not matter,” Pilot said on the occasion, adding that the amalgamation of different cultures in the group will help the students gain new experiences.

D.S.D. Solanki, an official of the International Academy of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (IAMAS) club, said: “The orphans are from government-run orphanages. Since they do not mingle much with the general public and have fixed days to go out, they are detached. This initiative is to make them feel a part of us. It will instill confidence in them.”

The group has two differently-abled students — one is partially blind and has hearing and speech impairment, while the other one is visually challenged. The students are from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh.

The club has collaborated with the Society for Trekking and Environmental Preservation (STEP), Delhi, which is providing the group with infrastructure, equipment, guidance and volunteers for the expedition.

For 15-year-old Kavya, the trip was her first. “The whole journey was a learning experience. On Tuesday, we went to see the Taj Mahal and other forts. I got to meet people from different states and learn about their culture,” she said.

Suhas Dilip Godake, 15, was on his second trekking expedition.

“I have trekked till Lonavala, Maharashtra, before. But, this journey is long and enriching. I made friends and realized even people, who don’t stay in orphanages, are like me. They talk about books, school, teachers just like me.”

“I got to know more about reality. After interacting with them (orphans) I could understand them better. We thought they will be quiet and aloof but they were friendly and wanted to learn more things,” said Anannya Deepanjali Kodandena, 15.