An epic drive for a social cause and gender equality

An epic drive for a social cause and gender equality

By Antonia Filmer | 25 June, 2016
Bharulata Kamble.

British Indian Bharulata Kamble is a woman on a mission, to raise awareness about the potential of women. To promote education for girls and feminine empowerment, Kamble, aged 43, aims to drive from her English home in Luton to her husband’s hometown Mahad in Raigadh District, Maharashtra- 32,000 kilometres apart. In her BMWX3 Kamble hopes to cover about 700 kilometres a day and finish in 75 days, intending to earn herself a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the first woman in the world to combine driving solo through the Arctic Circle and complete a trans-continental journey.

This adventure involves harrowing driving conditions including some 2,200 kilometres in the Arctic Circle, various time zones, languages and cultures, encompassing 2 continents and 32 countries but it is also a charitable journey. Fundraising kicks off on 28th June with a reception launch at the Nehru Centre in Mayfair London, attended by Dr Virander Paul, Deputy High Commissioner. Kamble is supporting two local Bedfordshire cancer charities and near her hometown Navsari in Gujurat. She is supporting the Kedi Residential Free-School for tribal girls and the Prish Foundation Trust that brings health care to South Gujarat tribal regions.

Kamble hopes to cover about 700 kilometres a day and finish in 75 days, intending to earn herself a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the first woman in the world to combine driving solo through the Arctic Circle and complete a trans-continental journey.

Previously Kamble was a trained classical dancer (Bharatnatyam) butin 2007 suffered a debilitating car accident sustaining various orthopaedics injuries and followed by post-traumatic stress disorder. The idea of this journey has been her motivation to recover and driving has become her hobby and inspiration. The wife of a surgeon and mother of two sons is surprisingly confident of coping with any adversity ahead. She has practiced stints of long-distance driving across Europe in all weather conditions and learnt basic mechanics and how to change tyres and the family has kept fit with long walks together. When not driving through snow-capped heights of 4,000 metres or travelling through desert Kamble will be stopping in cities en-route to speak with business leaders and community representatives and will later publish her incredible journey in a travelogue.

In India where driving is considered mainly a man’s domain, Kamble believes that driving and being mobile is the first sign of independence, she believes mobility is key for women to integrate with the socio-economic fabric of the country according to Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Goals as laid out by the United Nations.

Setting off July 30, 2016, she will carry 20 litres of diesel and depend on the kindliness of the Indian diaspora communities on the way should she need any emergency assistance.

 

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