Patna: Bihar teenager Jyoti Kumari who cycled more than a thousand kilometres to carry her ailing father home during the nationwide Coronavirus-induced lockdown last year has been made the brand ambassador by the state government for an anti-drug abuse programme.
The 15-year-old girl had cycled about 1,200 km with her father from Gurugram near Delhi to Darbhanga town in Bihar during nationwide lockdown when they faced near starvation after losing jobs and all modes of transport remained suspended.
The state government has chosen the “real-life hero” to speed up its campaign against use of narcotic drugs and intoxicants by the young generation which has become a matter of serious concerns. Her job will be to visit schools and colleges and make the youths aware about the ill-effects of the drugs.
“We could not have found any better choice than this girl who displayed exemplary courage to fight adversity. The young generation should take a lesson from this girl who bravely fought all odds to extricate her family of troubles instead of surrendering before the problems,” Social Security director Daya Nidhan Pandey told the media on Sunday.
Consumption of any forms drugs, the official added, not only destroys the person who gets addicted to them but also his family, and this girl could play a key role in creating awareness in the society. The official himself visited the girl’s home in Darbhanga district over the weekend to appoint her as the brand ambassador of the programme. He also handed her a cheque of Rs50,000, a tab and a track suit as a token of honour for her rare courage.
The Grade nine schoolgirl will be spreading the central government’s National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction prepared by the federal Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The objective of the programme is to reduce adverse consequences of drug abuse through multi-pronged strategy.
Jyoti has become an international sensation after she carried her injured father on her second-hand rickety cycle at the peak of summer in May last year, unmindful of her own troubles of carrying the weight of a person just double her weight, severe food scarcity on way and also cash crunch.
“It was a very tough journey treading the deserted roads on cycle. I felt apprehensive most of the time while walking on the lonely streets but ignored these concerns as my first priority was to somehow reach home,” was how she told this correspondent when contacted on phone recently.
No money for food
She added, “We would have died of hunger had we stayed there any longer as we had no money to buy food or pay rent.” She left Gurugram on the night of May 8 and reached her home village Darbhanga after continuously cycling over seven days.
According to the girl, she would mostly travel during night as it was cool and had less traffic. She also revealed they would sleep near the petrol pumps or at the places having sufficient lighting arrangements.
Recently she got the cycling trail offer from the Cycling Federation of India for her rare feat and also signed a film based on her life. The movie will be a fictional version of what led to her ardous journey from Gurugram to her hometown in Bihar. Her brilliant tale even reached the outgoing US president Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump termed her story as the “beautiful feat of endurance and love”.