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American bikes 3,831 miles, raises $14,500 for Indian kids

August 12, 2010 10:53 IST

DollarsAge did not deter this 67-year-old American, who worked as a teacher in India for a couple of years, from undertaking a 3,831 miles bicycle tour criss-crossing the US to raise funds to the tune of $14,500 for the education of children in India's rural areas.

Lauren Brown, who was born in Meadville, Pennsylvania, taught chemistry at the Methodist Rural School in Zahirabad in Andhra Pradesh's Medak district from 1964 to 1967 while serving in the Peace Corps in India.

Brown began his bicycle journey on April 26 from California and travelled 3,831 miles to reach Washington on August 9, during which he raised $14,500 (around Rs 6.67 lakh).

During his journey, Brown presented programmes to churches and charity organisations as part of his efforts to raise funds for poor village children so that they can attend Methodist Schools in India.

Congresswoman Lois Capps from California, who received Brown at the end of his tiresome journey on Tuesday, said it was a privilege to meet with Lauren and honour the end of his 'momentous journey'.

"I commend his devotion and perseverance to raise funds and ensure more children in India have access to the foundation of a solid education," she said.

Brown began his adventure, inspired by a life-long friend from India A V Samuel, who taught agriculture, in the same school in Zahirabad, where the American served for some time.

Brown said several years ago, Samuel, who was born in a small farming village in Andhra Pradesh, challenged his peers who had benefited earlier in their lives by obtaining an education in the Methodist schools to make a donation to help ensure the next generation has the same opportunity.

Brown accepted the challenge and decided to embark on a bicycle speaking tour across the United States.

"I was inspired by his commitment to give back. So I got the idea to raise money by bicycling across the country," he was quoted as saying by a local newspaper.

"For me, it is an adventure and an adventure that has given special meaning to undertaking fund-raising efforts to help children in poor villages in India who wouldn't have the same opportunities," he said.

A post on Brown's website said he sees this as a humanitarian effort to help disadvantaged children in remote Indian villages to have the opportunity for a quality education in a nurturing environment.

Lalit K Jha in Washington
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