Ben Reid-Howells from Canada and Prashant Kumar from India set out on two motorcycles for a 35,000+ kilometre long journey from India to Scotland.Entitled Vasudhaiva Ride, this trip connects riders Kumar and Reid-Howells with individuals, organisations and communities working for peace, sustainability and well-being in different ways. Through collaborative projects and documentation in both local and global contexts, and with the support of a diverse range of artists, communities and change-makers, the ride is a platform for sharing experiences, learning, and insight across continents with an international following.
The outlined route will take Reid-Howells and Kumar across India, through Nepal into Tibet and north-west China, then north through Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Russia, and, finally, west into Ukraine and through Europe, ending in Edinburgh, Scotland. Stopping for frequent collaborations, projects and documentation, this trip is estimated to last for 2 years. While such long distance motorcycle rides have been done before, this trip is unique in that it is a project driven journey with the clear purpose of connecting individuals, organisations and communities working towards peace and wellbeing in their respective countries, and sharing this process with an international following on an online platform. The ride, its content and our team are inspired by the Sanskrit phrase: Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam- the whole world is one family.
Project No.1: Accessible Education in Mumbai
On January 15th, 2017 Ben and Prashant rode from Pune to inner city Bombay for Project number 1- Accessible education.
In their first project they worked with Meenal Srinivasan and EDUCO, a program that brings child-centric, innovative pedagogy to a public school in Jijamata Nagar, a slum community in inner city Bombay. They led workshops with students on peace-work and sustainable living, and a teacher-training program on experiential education. Their goals in this engagement were to: introduce principles of experiential education to the teaching team and thus to assist in the school’s shift from traditional forms of teaching and to introduce students to concepts of sustainability and practices of upcycling.
Project No.2: A Home from Waste
February 2017, Prashant Kumar and Ben Reid-Howells reached Pushkar on their India-Scotland motorcycle ride for Project number 2-Building a home from waste. They worked with Nivedita Chopra to create a community centre in Pushkar, Rajasthan. They set out to use waste and natural materials in the construction process. What emerged was a model for affordable, sustainable, locally sourced and beautiful design. All for 1 lakh INR (1,500$ USD). Ben and Prashant worked with local knowledge and applied zero-waste design. International travellers joined and worked alongside local villagers. They created a mud house with glass-bottle walls: a home, community centre and a statement of what a transnational community can create with hard work and a solid vision
Project No.3: Bihar Project
Soon Prashant and Ben will be starting their next major project, The BIHAR Project inPrashant’s home-state: Bihar. In the Bihar project, they will be combining the focus areas of the first two projects for a larger-scale endeavour: doing work in sustainable and affordable design, and engaging through education with local communities. This project will take place in Arrah, 40km North of Patna towards the Gangas.
They have learnt that a global community of people ready to work to create change does exist. They will strive in the next two years to connect this community and to show people that the world really is one family, and together we can accomplish almost anything.
Without any support from corporates or government, Ben and Prashant are doing the Vasudhaiva Ride entirely with the support of the community. As they travel, they offer their skills and experience in collaborations with people and projects, to help in the work of connecting people, preserving nature and overcoming obstacles to well-being.
Contact Ben and Prashant directly if you want to connect or support this journey for One world, One family!
About The Riders
Prashant Kumar is a community, artist and animal welfare activist, and an experienced speed racer. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he is nowthe director of Rebirth, an upcycling design firm based in Pune, India.
Ben Reid-Howells is a leadership trainer, mindfulness educator, wilderness guide and musician, who most recently worked at United World College in Pune in experiential education and training international students in peace work.
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