New Delhi: Travelling 5,084 km in 26 days across deserts and mountains, a group of National Cadet Corps (NCC) students undertook a cross-country motorbike expedition to spread awareness about AIDS among the masses.
Starting February 26 from Bangalore, Karnataka, the group of 11 completed their educational journey in New Delhi Tuesday.
Said Lt Shyamala R, one of the two girls in the expedition: "I have participated in other such expeditions before but they have been within my state Karnataka. This is the first time that an expedition has been undertaken at a such a big scale and I am proud to be part of it."
The states they journeyed through included Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. They rode right till the Wagah border with Pakistan.
With 10 states to cover, the trip was a challenge that these youngsters, all in the age group of 19-21, took up with confidence. They traveled 300 km every day and enjoyed it thoroughly, not letting the climatic barriers dampen their spirits.
"I remember when we were traveling through Himachal Pradesh there was a heavy downpour. We slowed down but didn't stop in order to keep up with the time," Shyamala said.
They were especially thrilled by the fact that people, no matter which part of the country they were in, recognized the fraternity they belonged to.
"Wherever we went people came to us saying that they knew we belonged to the NCC. That helped us bond easily with them and spread our message," said a cadet.
Organizing street plays, distributing pamphlets and giving talks on varied issues of concern were the tools the cadets used to hit home the message.
Narrating one incident, Shyamala said that while delivering a talk on AIDS awareness among a group of young married women in Rajasthan, some said that they would like their daughters to grow up to be like her.
"I was touched, at the same time glad that they realized the importance of education," said Shyamala.
The group is scheduled to head back home March 23.
Lt General Prakash Chaudhury who was here to receive the students in Delhi said: "At NCC we encourage students to undertake such expeditions, which not only helps build their confidence but also helps them grow as socially conscious individuals".