The tour began at the Place de la Concorde in Paris with the flag of Bangladesh floating behind the machine. It continued on the Champs Elysées, with a stop at the Arc de Triomphe, that was used to enlighten the curious minds, wondering why there was a rickshaw in the capital.
After this moment of exchange, the voyage continued down the Avenue Foch, towards the green area of the Bois de Boulogne. Then, the Impulse Project headed the Château de Longchamp, a haven of peace set in a bucolic landscape. In total the group drove 7 km, during which everyone had to pedal at least one time, in order to « remember » the difficulties of riding a rickshaw.
Finally arrived !! After a few minutes of well-earned break, we were invited on stage by Yann Arthus-Bertand, to explain our project under the watchful eye of Mr Shahibul Islam, the ambassador of Bangladesh and to 1200 people in the audience.
We were side by side with three other associations that were also invited :
-Friendship, an NGO created by Runa Khan. Their purpose is to bring care and education tools to the most isolated areas of Bangladesh using a system of hospital boats.
-Gold of Bengal, that organizes a maritime expedition on the theme of Low Tech, useful and sustainable innovation.
-Bhallot, that creates jute bags with material from Bangladesh and traditional craftsmanship.
Around the rickshaw, there were about 20 pictures of the « Homm’s Rickshaw-Wallahs » exhibition, to illustrate the Rickshaw-wallahs’ conditions of living in Bangladesh. Moreover, « Bangladesh Rickshaw » a book written by Jean-Louis and edited by Les 2 Encres was offered for sale for the benefit of the association. While buying one, some visitors hit two target with one bullet as they helped the association on one hand, and were about to dive into the dizzying world of rickshaw companies on the other. Our rickshaw was the star of the stands as it managed to attract most of the 1200 visitors present that day. Therefore, we were able to share individually with the public on the project. We explained the origins of the latter, and the first attempt to install a speeding system. Even though the test was a failure, we communicated our desire to try again in a nearby future, using new mechanical parts that would be more accurate. Indeed, the country lacks electricity, so an improvement based on that resource would not be relevant. Therefore, the research led by students from the IUT of Grenoble, taking into account those conditions needs to continue.
After meeting us that day, some members of the public have left us their emails and details in order to follow the Rickshaw Project’s adventure. We would like to thank them for their interest in the project, and we obviously remain in close contact to inform them of the latter’s evolution.