It was at a Kebab stand at the Sziget Music Festival 2014 in Budapest, when 3 strangers, Daniel, Bram and Ernie, met. Little did they know that this new-found friendship would soon turn into an adventure spread across 2,700 km in India, a country 30,000 km away from their homes, to help children they have never met before. This is the story of the Kohinoor Khiladis. People have different reasons to travel. Some wish to escape from their daily routine while others just want to explore and see the sights of a lifetime. The Kohinoor Khiladis, however, have found a new use for their travels, charity! To make their journey count for something more, they started a fundraising campaign to support the SOS Children’s Village in Shillong. Why? Shillong is located in one of the poorest regions in India. Home to more than 140 orphaned children between the age of 3 and 19, the Village provides safety, education, healthcare and most importantly a family environment for the most vulnerable demographic in the society.
The story of 3 friends with a spirit of altruism and adventure.
Starting from Jaisalmer on 4th April, the three khiladis have been riding on an auto rickshaw, which they lovingly call ‘Lily’, to their finish line. They will end their adventure at SOS Children’s Village – Shillong centre, which is perched on a beautiful hillock and overlooks the picturesque Umiam lake spread over 11.4 acres.
They have already made their way through flat plains, bumpy hills and bustling cities across India including Agra, Padrauna & Kannauj to make their way to their final destination. And yes, all in a 7 horsepower glorified lawnmower, an auto rickshaw. This week, they have made a quick stop in Nepal and are headed back to the land of the thunderbolt, Darjeeling. They have already spent 41 and a half hours on the road, covering over 1,150 km. On their travels they have had many hiccups, but they have managed to turn their negatives into positives by meeting new people, embracing local cultures, visiting public schools, providing gifts and spreading happiness .
There is no set route, no back-up, no way of knowing if they’re going to make it. The only certainty is that they will get lost, they will get stuck and they will break down, which they have already done twice. It’s just 3 friends in a wholly unsuitable vehicle, traversing the subcontinent and enduring whatever the road throws at them. They seek the help of all of us who have had a good upbringing, a family and a better life to help those who need it. The Khiladis feel that with enough support they can provide for 50 children for a whole year. Read more about their journey and how you can support them here.
About SOS Children’s Village
SOS Children’s Villages is an independent, non-governmental international development organization that has been working to meet the needs and protect the interests and rights of children since 1949. The village in Shillong houses many abandoned and orphan children who need a home and help for a hopeful future.