India's Biggest Walkathon - Oxfam Trailwalker - goes virtual with their 50km/100km walkathon challenge

Published: 10 November, 2020 14:15 IST | A correspondent | Mumbai

Oxfam Trailwalker wants people to 'walk in solidarity' with migrant workers

In a world starkly altered by COVID-19, the 2020 Oxfam Trailwalker India, a fundraising walkathon has gone virtual and will be completely different from its past 16 successful editions. Just last year, thousands of Oxfam trail walkers had come together from all across India and around the world, to walk for better education, affordable and quality healthcare, gender equality, forest rights, and to end discrimination in the country's underserved states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh.

The special challenge, this year, is to complete either 100 kms or 50 kms in 10 days, virtually! Participants can walk within or around their own homes - on treadmills, in backyards, balconies, terrace and parks — in any safe environment, following all the rules of physical distancing. This also means that you can be in any city in any part of the world and still participate in the virtual Trailwalker and help end discrimination. Thousands have already undertaken this challenge in 2020. Those who missed out can join the next edition which begins on November 20 and ends on November 29. Registrations are open till November 19, 2020.

The plight of workers walking back home soon after lockdown was what motivated them to hold the virtual Trailwalker. While we stayed safe in the confines of our homes, millions of migrant, informal sector workers, who are the backbone of our economy, could not afford the luxury of self-quarantine or physical distancing. They risked COVID-19 exposure and suffered unspeakable hardships as they made their way back to their native villages, on foot. This glaring inequality, laid bare by the pandemic, needed to be addressed. And the virtual edition of Oxfam Trailwalker is one way of doing that.

The 2020 Oxfam Trailwalker is a walk in solidarity with those millions of workers who walked, and aimed at helping the most vulnerable get their lives back on track. Since the lockdown began, Oxfam India has reached over 5 lakh people with food, safety and PPE kits, and cash across 16 states. The lockdown might be over but the pandemic is definitely not. Many have been rendered even more marginalised and vulnerable due to the pandemic and they still need help.

With the walkathon, Oxfam India plans to reach out to more people. As they say, "Your step is their leap".

The joining contribution for the virtual 100 km challenge is only Rs 1000 per participant where anyone around the globe can take part regardless of age or location. The corporate sector can support Oxfam India by raising funds through the crowdfunding page hosted on the website. Participants can register (https://virtualtrailwalker.oxfamindia.org/) and make contributions easily on the Oxfam webpage.

The funds generated will not only help Oxfam India continue the ongoing COVID-19 relief work but also help run their #RightsOverProfits campaign. The campaign is demanding that the government regulate private healthcare to ensure rights of patients and strengthen the public healthcare system in India to make affordable and quality healthcare accessible to all. This is important even more now as the pandemic has shown how inadequate our healthcare system is.

Amitabh Behar CEO Oxfam India says, "By putting the rights of the marginalised at the heart of everything we do, we try to create a discrimination-free India where everyone can live a life of dignity, free from injustice and inequality. We are also part of the Oxfam global confederation with affiliates in 20 countries fighting together to build a better world. This walkathon will help us to continue this mission to fight discrimination."

About Oxfam India:

Oxfam India is a movement of people working to end discrimination and create a free and just society. We work to ensure that Adivasis, Dalits, Muslims, and women and girls have safe-violence free lives with freedom to speak their mind, equal opportunities to realise their rights, and a discrimination free future. We research to find lasting solutions to end rising inequalities and exclusion of marginalized communities from getting decent jobs, quality free education and healthcare. We campaign with the public to demand policy changes from governments for creating a just and inclusive country as envisioned in the Indian Constitution. We mobilise support to save, protect and rebuild lives of the poorest of poor affected by crisis and humanitarian disasters.

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