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Meet Leah Chowdhry, Indian-origin woman entrepreneur to swim across English Channel

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 1 July 2018, 14:16 IST

Indian-origin woman, Leah Chowdhry runs a professional childcare service called Pop up, Party & Play will set off from Dover on a grueling 35 km swim to Calais in France on Wednesday to raise funds for the British Asian Trust, a charity founded by Prince Charles.

She will swim across the English Channel to raise funds to combat child trafficking in India.

"I am honoured to be one of the first ever British Asian women to take on this challenge, with only just short of 1,500 people to ever complete the swim," said Ms Chowdhry, who is set to battle with jelly fish, ship tankers and seasickness during a journey expected to take on average 13 hours in light and darkness.

Her family and friends will be in a support boat to travel alongside her but, under Channel Swimming Association rules, she is not allowed any human contact while undertaking the challenge.

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She has been training hard over the last six months to help raise funds that will go towards protecting vulnerable children from trafficking and exploitation in India and provide quality education for some of the country's poorest children. Ms Chowdhry has already raised more than 35,000 pounds for this life-changing work.

According to an estimate, 1.2 million children in India are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. British Asian Trust's partner organisation in India, Prerana, runs three night-care centres for children at risk, as well as shelter homes and a residential training centre for girls rescued from the trafficking trade.

The latest project will support India's first online resource centre dedicated to the prevention of sexual offences against children and provide 80 girls and young women aged 15 plus with a rehabilitation care programme to build better futures.

The Trust is also working with The Education Alliance to transform primary education for the poorest urban communities in Delhi by bringing together best practice developed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for whole school transformation.

Through this work, around 1,800 students from deprived communities of south Delhi are set to receive high-quality primary school education and be supported to improve their learning levels.

Back in February, Ms Chowdhry visited both partner organisations in India to see the Trust's work in action.

"When I asked some of the children what they aspired to be, they answered: 'a footballer' or 'a doctor'; despite all their hardships, they remained so motivated and positive, which spurs me on even more with my training," she said.

First published: 1 July 2018, 14:16 IST