Malini Rao, a 17-year-old girl, developed a passion for cycling at an early age. She is now channelizing her passion towards a better cause. This 12th grader is enabling lesser privileged kids to experience the joy of riding a bicycle.
Many teens are seen pedalling their way on the streets, enjoying that infectious thrill of cycling. But there is one 17-year-old enthusiast, who is taking the joy of riding a bicycle to those who cannot afford it.
Meet Malini Rao, a class 12 student of Mallya Aditi International School in Bengaluru. As a part of her initiative called Saddles and Pedals, which she started last year, Malini organises donation drives for new or repaired bicycles that are given to underprivileged children.
“Ever since I got my first bike when I was eight years old, I’ve been in love with cycling. I didn’t mind falling and bruising my knees and elbows repeatedly because I was finally riding a vehicle. I could go somewhere, by myself, faster than my two feet could ever take me. It was exhilarating. My passion for cycling grew over the years, as did my interest in bike maintenance and repair,” says Mailini.
When most kids of her age are playing games, Malini conducts cycling workshops for underprivileged children.
And thanks to her dedicated efforts, 60 kids are now proud cycle owners. Inspired by her parents who are also cycling enthusiasts, Malini developed an interest in the activity at a very early age.
One fine day when she was enjoying her daily cycling routine, she saw a few lesser privileged kids deprived of this joy. Moved by the sight, Malini started by giving away her old cycles which were lying unused.
Her efforts expanded when she started a Facebook page to spread awareness about this initiative.
She received great response and soon she started getting so many cycles that her mother had to store some of them on the terrace of her workplace.
Malini, along with her friends, organizes workshops where she educates kids about the environmental, health and monetary benefits of cycling. Information on riding and repairing a bicycle is also part of the workshop. Starting with just five to 10 kids, the workshop has now hosted over 200 kids.
Saddles and Pedals takes used cycles as well as cash donations. Malini and her dedicated team are working with six centres. Six donation events have been held so far and they are looking forward to organise many more such events.