Cycling all the way to create awareness

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Sunny Kaul

New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) He may not have the flare andflamboyance of a professional cyclist fizzing around at 50kmph, but there is definitely something about him whichcatches the eye.

Matteo Tricarico is a man on a mission, transcending thegeographical boundaries riding on his bicycle, which hebelieves will be a "common mode of the transportation in thenear future."

A travel agent by profession, Tricarico took theopportunity from the slump that engulfed the travel industry,to realise his dream of paddling around different countries tohighlight the condition of those who are assumed to be the"last of lasts".

The man has so far travelled across Vietnam, Cambodia,Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Taiwan andtraversed the eastern coastal line of India from Kolkata toTamil Nadu as a part of his project -- From Vietnam to Italyby bicycle for the disabled -- which took to wheels duringOctober 2009 and aims to cover 30,000 kms before coming to ahalt at Italy.

The rider, who was in Delhi as a part of his campaign,aims to raise public awareness on disabled and disadvantagedchildren''s condition and to promote a fund-raising campaignrun by affiliated Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) forspecific projects in visited counties.

Matteo, who himself works for -- Travel For Aid -- onesuch organisation, feels that there is a lot of apathy towardsthe physically challenged and reiterates the need to setcampaigns to uplift them.

"There are more number of programmes running to save theenvironment and tigers than to save and improve the conditionof these children who are forced to live at edge of thesociety," Tricarico revealed.

The rider also emphasised upon the need to empower theeconomically backward children signifying lack of finance as a"part of the disability".

Tricarico, during an interactive session with a group ofdisable students from a charitable organisation within thecity, urged them not to be afraid of anyone and go out andmeet people with different cultural and lingual identities.

"Crossing so many countries you realise the people are nodifferent. Travelling gives you an opportunity to connect todifferent people and cultures," Tricarico insisted. (MORE) PTISNK AH CM

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