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Deaf biker Archana Timmaraju plans world tour to raise awareness about deaf & hard of hearing community in India

This article has been updated

Bengaluru art teacher Archana Timmaraju, who claims to be India's first woman deaf biker, is passionate about motorcycling and has undertaken various expeditions to raise awareness about sign language and deaf women's empowerment. Next on her agenda is a world tour, this time to highlight the need for changes in the education system so the deaf community in India has equal opportunities.

An art teacher at the prominent Mallya Aditi International School in Bengaluru, Archana Timmarajau is also a passionate biker. Deaf from birth, Archana is committed to empowering the deaf and hard of hearing community in India and promotes various causes through bike expeditions.

Now 34-year-old Archana is busy planning her next trip, an ambitious world tour across over 80 countries, that starts from Bengaluru and ends in Portugal. This time she hopes to about a major shift in the education system for the deaf and hard of hearing community in India.

Archana plans to go on the world trip in early 2020 and has launched a petition on Ketto to raise ₹ 30 lakh for the journey towards expenses involved in fuel, accommodation, international overland permits, motorcycle spares, etc.

I'll be going on a massive 40,000+ kms ride covering 40+ countries including India, Southeast Asia, Mongolia, Russia and across Europe, with the finish line at Portugal. The objective of this ride is to understand how the universities, economy, the governments and the people in these regions influence the deaf communities, and use that collective data to bring about a transformation back in India. In that pursuit, I'll be visiting close to 60-plus schools and institutions and will be interacting with teachers, sign interpreters, students and others concerned. - Archana Timmaraju, Deaf biker

Larger cause

Archana is also the co-founder of a company called Silent Expeditions for bikers with an emphasis on those with disabilities. She has undertaken many expeditions to promote various causes. In 2018, she rode from Bengaluru to Leh covering 8.400 kilometres in a single shot to spread awareness about sign language and deaf women's empowerment.

Archana's aim is to motivate future generations and dismiss all the stereotypes regarding disability, especially disabled women. She has chalked out her plans through the 260-day journey. "I will be visiting over 60 deaf schools and organisations and bikers clubs in Asia and Europe" she told NewzHook. "The total distance will be over 40,000 kilometres and I expect to cover this distance in 260 days".

Archana is yet to decide on the make of the motorbike she plans to use for the world trip. Her first experience of riding was in 2006 when a friend gave her his Yamaha RX 100 bike. Since then there has been no stopping her. She has over 20,000 kms of motorcycle touring experience. "Through my NGO Silent Expeditions, I have been inspiring confidence to the hearing impaired to take up motorcycling or any other means to explore the world outside", says Archana.

Archana will be accompanied in her world trip by one person, who is hearing. "This journey would be extremely challenging if attempted alone, and which is why I have my friend Abijit Somashekar, a fellow biker enthusiast and an entrepreneur, join me all along and help me wherever necessary".

The expedition, hopes Archana, will draw attention of international organisations towards the need to donate towards improving the condition of the deaf and hard of hearing community in India. "It helps me raise awareness about India's hearing-impaired people, who face lack of good education, access to normal life and the disrespect meted out to them. I believe this travel opportunity would help increase the attention of international noble organisations who can assist in generating funds for improving the education and economic upliftment of the deaf in India".

Archana has appealed to the public support her. "With your unconditional support, we can make this a super-successful endeavour and will change the way Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children in India study, progress and move ahead in life - just like everybody else."

Click here to see the petition.

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