Home Development sector Riding for a cause: Pollachi engineer rides 435 Km to create autism awareness

Riding for a cause: Pollachi engineer rides 435 Km to create autism awareness

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Vignesh Sekar, an engineer from Pollachi and a volunteer of Coimbatore-based special school Third Eye Autism Centre, undertook a bicycle ride from Manglore via Hassan and cycled 435 kilometres all the way to Kanyakumari for spreading autism awareness.  His weeklong public awareness travel called ‘The Golden Triangle ’23’ covering both the West and East Coasts, passed through the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala to spread autism awareness among the general public in the coastal villages of South India.

Vignesh is very passionate about athletics which has helped him develop good endurance and stamina fo cycling and running. Every year, he spends his vacations travelling on his bicycle to different cities, where he can connect with different people, collaborate with their culture and language and share knowledge mutually. He started his cycle touring during the 2020 Covid pandemic, where he first rode his bicycle for a cause, travelling with his friends from Coimbatore to Kanyakumari, covering nearly 435 kilometres. He has been going on these bicycle rides every year since then.

In 2021, he termed his event ‘Gates of Tamil Nadu’ and rode 1,800 kilometres along the East Coast. And in 2022, he rode up and down the tourist routes of all the Tamil Nadu mountains in eight days and named the event ‘Pedal to Paradise’, covering 1,200 kilometres.

He has been associated with the Third Eye Centre for autism since 2017 as a volunteer in coordinating their autism awareness programmes. Every year, in the first week of April, he goes ‘blue’ for autism to spread awareness that autism is not a disease. It is a disability where affected children need early intervention therapy to help them integrate with society and for higher schooling.

Talking about Vignesh’s passion, Saranya, founder of Third Eye, said, “Vignesh has been closely associated with our autism awareness events. Every year, he cycles for different causes; and, this year, we suggested that he undertake an autism awareness cycling event. So, he covered the villages of Tamil Nadu to spread the message. We thought he would be the best person to carry word about autism to the common people.”

“We don’t expect people to understand the whole concept of autism in a short period of time,” she added. “We thought he could simply make people aware about the very term, ‘autism’. This way, we can get it out there in a very subtle way. I think this may be one of the best programmes to reach every nook and cranny of rural Tamil Nadu.”

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