Cyclist goes round the world for Aids
MASERU – An Indian-born cyclist, Somen Debnath, (31), who has been travelling around the world on a bicycle to create awareness on HIV and AIDS in different schools, colleges and universities, is in Lesotho.
“I started my journey on the 27th of May 2004 from a remote area in India called Basanti, which is located in Sunderbans in the province of West Bengal. My aim is to spread awareness on HIV and AIDS in 191 countries and I have already travelled 97 countries so far,” he said.
He further stressed that his mission is that by the year 2020 he would have covered 200,000km and reached nearly 20 million people.
He arrived in Lesotho on 7 March 2015 and he will be leaving on Sunday. “Presently, I am in Maseru, Lesotho and I am expecting to spend 10 days in the mountain Kingdom. Lesotho is the 97th country I am travelling on bicycle and so far I have travelled 116 400 km.
Debnath said he had already met some people with HIV and Aids in Lesotho.
“I already met people with HIV and Aids in Botha-Bothe and what it’s enticing about Lesotho is that people with HIV and Aids are no longer isolated or discriminate against.
“People living with HIV and AIDS in Lesotho are living in harmony which is what I am advocating during the course of my journey through different countries. I also give seminars on Indian culture,” he said.
He further highlighted that he was about to meet some university students.
Asked what compelled him to embark on this adventure he said when he was 16, he saw a one youth die of AIDS.
“From that day I told myself that I have to travel and create awareness about HIV and Aids but initially my aim was to travel to a few provinces in India. Later on it dawned on me that since HIV and Aids is a global problem, therefore this crucial initiative should not be confined to India. So, I told myself that I have to travel all over the world and that’s how my journey started”, he explained.
Asked why he decided to use the bicycle as a mode transport, he said he had no money for other modes of transport. “I chose a bicycle because I had no money for better transport, besides, a bicycle is environment- friendly,” he added.