Jungle Crows Foundation, India
Shreya Mehta on June 5, 2018 in Sports
In the ‘City of Joy’, three Rugby enthusiasts John, Gary and Paul founded a club with the sole motive to play and encourage the sport within the city. As time progressed, more and more people who were passionate about the game, joined the club. They started playing Rugby and participating at various championships and tournaments as well.
One day a member of the club came up with the proposal to take the game to a socially disadvantaged community. He informed the rest of the members of the club that a very dedicated NGO that was working with the community had to suddenly stop work and relocate. As a result of this, the community, especially the children, felt terrible and the atmosphere within the community had become very depressing. He believed that taking Rugby to them could bring some respite. Thus in 2004, the journey of Jungle Crows Foundation took off.
As anticipated, when the children saw an egg-shaped ball, they became fascinated by it and wanted to know how to play. Their happiness knew no bounds! All they wanted to do, was to just keep playing. Since then the academy has come a long way. It has opened centers various other locations like Siliguri in West Bengal, Dumka in Jharkhand and Chennai as well.
Every Saturday or Sunday, the academy trains about two thousand children of various unprivileged communities in 32 different locations (mostly schools and communities) with the sole aim to engage children from the ages of 11-19 years. All the children and players of the academy are trained by a very skilled coaches who give the children an opportunity to learn and play Rugby in a safe and controlled environment.
The players selected to play in large scale tournaments are placed in a team called “Maidan Hazards” that is engaged in the tedious task of training. There are teams for both boys and girls and a very healthy sporting atmosphere is maintained during training. Once trained and perfected, the chosen players become part of the “Jungle Crows” team.
Most of the children who come to play have no one in their family to share their day-to-day activities and problems with, as both their parents are busy with work. So, after Practice sessions, it is customary at the academy to indulge in “Charchas” with the children and athletes. The coaches talk and enquire with the players as elder brothers or family and try to listen to what the children have to say. They discuss how the situation at their homes are and how their education is progressing. If any kind of assistance is required, it is provided by the Foundation. The Foundation also provides cycles for those children whose schools are very far away from their residence.
A lot of social messages about hygiene and road safety, health and lifestyle are also shared along with learning the sport. Simple things and information about facts like the dangers from mosquitos for example, or washings hands before and after meals or games, are also one of the few things discussed with the children. Scholarships are provided and funds are raised for those children who are willing to study further.
In collaboration with other vocational training companies, young players are encouraged to enroll into various programs that lead to direct employment. The Jungle Crows Foundation has many supporters and sponsors like the Decathlon Foundation, World Rugby, the Atlas Foundation and the Kids of Kolkata Dochas Trust.
The Jungle Crows Foundation has had many moments in recent times to relish and celebrate about. 5 girls from the Foundation were recently selected as part of the team to participate in the first division Asian Rugby Championship Indian Girls’ team that is to held in Singapore. The Jungle Crows Men’s team in 2017 defeated defending Champions Future Hope 29-5 in the all-Bengal to win the All India Under-17 Rugby Sevens Championship 2017 held in Odisha.
For learners and players at the academy too, various tournaments are held. Each of these has a theme supporting it, the latest one being “Equal rights, Equal opportunities!” Various activities are planned with the matches. In this way a lot of support and encouragement is provided to the children and the players.
Just like the game, the Foundation stands for three values, i.e. Passion, Integrity and Commitment. The NGO works to inculcate Passion for the sport, Commitment towards the game and the gaming community and Integrity so as to maintain a positive, honest and supportive environment towards all.
In his message for all, Harinder Singh, a representative of the Foundation says, “…With the advent of technology, children spend more time indoors. They are not engaged in playing any outdoor sports. Children should be encouraged to play outdoors. Learning to play a sport like Rugby not only keeps the child fit and healthy but also teaches them lessons on team work, team spirit and equality”.
To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit Jungle Crows Foundation today!