An Osoyoos man plans to bicycle to Surrey to raise money for aid projects to help India’s oppressed Dalit people.
Trevor Caldecott spoke to the Rotary Club of Osoyoos (Canada, District 5060) about his campaign to collect pledges for the Dalit Freedom Network Canada by cycling from Osoyoos to the coast in three days.
Listening to his presentation were dozens of Rotary exchange students from around the world, who stopped by the Osoyoos Golf Club for lunch with the Rotarians before continuing on an excursion to the United States.
Caldecott spoke of the 250 million Dalits, the untouchables, who are shunned by many in Indian society and perform the least desirable jobs, such as cleaning up animal carcasses or working in sewers.
Dalit children are victimised in schools and can’t mix with other students or even eat with the same utensils, Caldecott said.
The Good Shepherd Mission, he said, has been working to build schools and provide education to Dalit children. And this has included teaching them English, which is a prerequisite in India for many jobs.
Caldecott said he and his wife, Sandra Shaw, have been giving talks to raise awareness of the plight of the Dalits.
The talk clearly made an impression on some of the exchange students.
Both winners of the Rotary’s 50-50 draw decided to donate their winnings to Caldecott’s fundraiser.
Lukáš Kršek, from the Czech Republic, showered Caldecott with $50 in cash from his winnings and Olivia Greenwood-Jack, from Australia did the same with her $45 winnings.
Caldecott said his bike ride would take him the 116 km from Osoyoos to Princeton on the first day starting June 3.
His second day will be the hardest, taking him 134 km across the Cascade Mountains to Hope.
On the third day, he plans to cycle on a back road down the Fraser Valley to the Dalit Freedom Network’s headquarters in Surrey.
Caldecott said he is asking Rotary clubs to sponsor him at $5 per kilometre, with the amount increasing if he is able to surpass estimated times for the cycle ride.
Those wishing to support Caldecott’s fundraiser can go online to https://my.dalitfreedom.ca and select “Sponsored Ride” under the tab for Women Economic Development.