Leah Chowdhry, a 25-year-old woman of Asian descent from the United Kingdom, has a dream to stop child trafficking in India. She is known to be a powerful long distance swimmer. In a tete-a-tete, she told The Statesman that she has decided to swim across the English Channel coming summer for raising funds for charity to stop child trafficking in the Indian sub-continent.
She said she would swim 22 miles in nearly 13 hours, in light and dark, and fluctuating temperatures of 13 degrees C.
Leah’s plans to swim across the English Channel is aimed at financially helping a charitable project run by The British Asian Trust. She clarified: “At the moment, I am working with the British Asian Trust and my main aim is to focus on child trafficking in India. I am supporting a campaign to end child trafficking in Mumbai.”
She added, “Recently, I completed a London marathon but now the focus is very much on supporting the British Asian Trust to end child exploitation in India,” she said.
On being asked about her training, she said: “I started training to swim in the English Channel last July. My training consisted of 25 km per week which takes about 10 hours.”
Replying to a question about when she started learning swimming and her transformation from a pool to a cross-country and sea swimming, she only replied: “I was a national-level swimmer when I was younger. Those times were different and we had a very different style of swimming.”
About the challenges she may face during crossing the Channel, she said, “The water in the Channel will be very cold. You have to stay warm. It is a very challenging task to do 10 to 12 hours of training.”
She, however, declared: “I am going to do this very challenging task. My parents too are of the view that it is very dangerous. However, the main thing is that you do it for passion and with a good intention, and I am doing it for charity. Yet, swimming in the Channel is a huge challenge.”
Elaborating on her plan, Leah, who runs a childcare company in the UK, said,” The reason why I am doing swimming for charity is that I want to make sure that every child, whether in the UK or in India, has a better future.”
Her father, Jeffry Chowdhry, who is a Mutual Fund Manager in the UK said, “As a parent, we thought it is quite a dangerous task.” On being asked what should be done so that more people come forward to help charitable organisations, he said, “In a country like India, lots of good work is done by NGOs and individuals but I think there is not much publicity in the areas which need help.”
“She was passionate about making a difference. She is putting her life at risk to help others,” her mother Rita Chowdhry added.