Brit to walk 6,000 km to raise funds for suicide-hit farm families

By Yudhvir Rana

AMRITSAR: To help the family members of Indian farmers who committed suicides, founder of Nomadic Lion David Atthowe is all set to undertake a 6,000 km walk from Kanyakumari to Amritsar to raise funds for ‘Rescue a Family’ project under the banner of ‘Walk of Joy India.

Talking to TOI on Thursday, 27-year-old David, a UK national, said that, “We want to provide the farmers’ widows with Rs 1,000 as pension per month for a long term while educating them on better farming practices. We want to help them develop new skills and develop employment opportunities and ensure that the children are not forced into work at an early age and to make sure they can still complete their education.”

David will begin the walk on July 15 and intends to complete it in 12 months here, covering 14 states. He stated that Nomadic Lion was initiating the walk in partnership with the United Sikhs and The Better India. He added that ‘Walk of Joy’ would be the biggest participatory walk ever in the history of India to reach out to millions of people around the country with a positive message. “Along with fund raising, Nomadic Lion is aiming to collect a donation of one million smiles from people around the world through #million smiles campaign,” he said, adding that ‘Million Smiles’ was a campaign to share simple, everyday moments of happiness and joy. “The goal is to share one million smiles and positive stories from around the globe,” he maintained.
He said in the last two decades more than three lakh farmers had committed suicides in India, leaving behind widows and children, who were left to survive without a father or a husband. “There are many reasons for suicides but it is generally agreed that the problems begin as a result of the so-called Green Revolution, which was the intensification of agriculture in India.

The idea was that only high yields were important while environment and sustainability were of little significance. This meant use of lots of pesticides, fertilisers, and water. The short-term results showed greatly improved yields but the long-term results, however, have been disastrous,” he quipped.

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