Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Social service or philanthropy is a virtue that not many of us possess...Oh sure! we give ourselves lots of convincing reasons for it,   ( namely that we dont have enough money for giving away, or that we are too busy making both ends meet to find time for social service, and so on and so forth..) But people who want to do it just go ahead and start doing, and they are no millionaires themselves...just common people like you and me.
       I have a friend who is just such a person. On every New Year's Eve when all of us are celebrating and partying, he buys a load of blankets and goes around town giving blankets to people sleeping on the footpath. How touching..!  This friend of mine lives in Jagannath Puri in Orissa- the place lies on the eastern coast of India and it is a beach  town famous for the temple of Lord Jagannath;  so it sees a lot of tourist traffic, both domestic and foreign. Now, the state of Orissa is famous for another thing and that is its poverty.
                  To help the common  man in his state, Mr Kar and some friends have started an organization called 'Barefoot'. The organization's first project is called 'Green Riders', which is an effort to help the rickshaw-walas who were extremely poor and whiling away all their meagre earnings on drinking cheap alcohol. All the willing rickshaw walas were gathered and given classes every Sunday by volunteers on grooming, personal hygiene, etiquettes, some basic english and how to deal with tourists. They were given green uniforms- to signify their eco-friendly transportation (as rickshaws are human powered, and do not use any polluting fuel). The rates to all the various destinations have been fixed by the organizers..(so no haggling over money). These 'Greenriders' can be seen all over Puri nowadays in their sharp new uniforms, proud of their achievement; many of them have kicked their drinking habit, and they now have a decent income to get by
    The Sunday classes for the 'Greenriders' are still going on, as more and more rickshaw walas are joining. So the 'Greenrider' project is going strong, and the next project in the offing is called 'seariders' , in which lifeguards are being trained for the Puri beach. They will also rent out beach umbrellas, loungers, life jackets etc to tourists and this will be a source of income for them.
                                                                                       May more of us have the inclination to do something like this and I wish 'Barefoot' and all their present and future projects all the best...


  1. This is a wonderful article Puneet.. really moving.. am sure will do something someday like this and get a blog published for me :) you are an amazing writer :)

  2. I'm going to post some pics of 'greenriders' soon..look out for them..

  3. I think this is brilliant, man. The concept of greenriders is amazing and so is your writing. Keep up the good work. I am proud of you.


  4. Sum...u can thank bubu for the greenriders concept.I'm also going to update this article as soon as I get some pics..