How Alight Media and a rickshaw in India helped regreen the planet
“By the way, something I forgot to mention earlier, the brakes of our rickshaw somehow already broke down a few metres after we started the race. We learnt this the hard way by hitting two fellow rickshaws within 50 metres of the starting point. So yeah, that was definitely a moment when I thought ‘hmm… this is probably going to be a long trip.’’
Hours and hours in the scorching heat, no plans for where to spend the nights and thousands of uncomfortable kilometres in a barely-functioning vehicle that – as it appeared – didn’t have working brakes to begin with. If this sounds a little bit crazy to you, then you might be correct: it is pretty much the point of the Rickshaw Run India!
Making the world a slightly less boring place by doing something extraordinary was at least one of the reasons Kartik Sourirajan and his friends Jamie Sutton and Joebie Mijares decided to participate. In a ‘race’ where you lose if you finish first, the end goal is clear: racing a rickshaw (also known as tuk-tuk) across India whilst you gather as many stories and unforgettable memories as possible.
Against all the odds, their ‘Mongoose Machine’ (an inside joke, referring to the ability of mongooses to fight off and kill poisonous snakes) was a dependable companion during the trip. This glorified lawnmower brought them safely and, somehow, without any further mechanical issues to the finish line in Sikkim – an impressive 3,800 km from their starting point in Kochi!
According to Kartik, the two weeks spent on the road were life-changing thanks to the people they met along the way. The people of India proved to be incredibly kind, welcoming and supportive – even when the group accidentally shut off an entire village’s electricity when a low-hanging power cable caught the top of their rickshaw. “I think we took the wrong turn somewhere.”
Yet, this trip was not just about having a laugh and breaking the daily grind for a bit. The Rickshaw Run is all about raising money for charities. Every participant is expected to raise £500 for Cool Earth, the official charity of the Rickshaw Run. If a participant raises more money than that, they are free to donate to a charity of choice.
For Kartik, this choice was easy. Through his work as Commercial Finance Manager at Alight Media (our awesome partner!), he knew about our restoration projects. That’s why he immediately asked if Alight would be open to making this adventure happen while raising money for Justdiggit. It turned out they were: not only did Alight Media cover the registration fees and help raise money for Justdiggit projects, but they also put a team of designers together to give the tuk-tuk a Pimp My Ride-style make-over.
As you can see in this image, their ‘Mongoose Machine’ is a true sight to behold, with both the Alight Media and Justdiggit logos in clear view. What a spectacular way to dig in!
We would like to thank Kartik, Jamie, Joebie and of course our partner Alight Media for their amazing support. Not only do your efforts help us in growing our programmes, but it also shows just how many ways people can dig in with us. If you want to see more of their journey, we recommend checking out their Instagram!
Are you inspired by this article and do you have your own (un)conventional ideas to dig in? Contact us! We’re open to everything when it comes to the regreening of our planet. (Well… maybe not everything, but we’re definitely open to hearing about your ideas to support our mission of regreening Africa😉)