Meet Meenakshi Arvind, 45, Vrinda, 20, Priya Rajpal, 55, and Mookambika Rathinam, 38 – four women who have embarked on a journey of a lifetime with an important mission. They are on a 70-day drive from Coimbatore to London and are travelling to promote the cause of ‘Rotary India Literacy Mission’, spreading awareness about women’s empowerment and literacy.
The women started their journey from Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya in Coimbatore on March 26. They will reach London on June 5 where they will be received at the Indian High Commission.
The drive, which is being called XPD 2470, will cover a distance of 24,000 km. The women will cross 24 countries including Myanmar, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Austria, Czech Republic, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Netherlands and United Kingdom. They are driving a modified Tata Hexa with security features and a place to save extra fuel.
“The 70 day-trip is in commemoration with 70 years of Independent India. We also want to send the message that India is much more than what it is perceived to be,” Meenakshi, a Coimbatore resident told The Times of India.
Vrinda is Meenakshi’s daughter and she joined the trip in the last moment after another woman, Rukmani Sekhar had to cancel because of health issues.
Mookambika from Pollachi has left behind her 8-year-old daughter with her relatives. While she would miss her daughter, she has been preparing herself mentally and physically for months now.
They plan to cover at least 500 km every day. All three women have received basic training in car repairs. They have taken a guide in China and Kyrgyzstan and also arranged for military support in Myanmar. In Uzbekistan, where diesel is not available, they will use the extra fuel they are carrying.
“We are aware that this inter-country and inter-continental trip is ambitious but we are strong-willed women. We have done extensive planning,” said Priya from Mumbai. They also plan to honour women such as Rajshree Pathy, Neerja Malik, Usha Uthup, and Mary Kom. The entire road trip will cost Rs. 60 lakh.
State municipal administration minister S P Velumani flagged off the trip on Sunday with family members of the women who came to see them off.
All pictures: Facebook