The news meet in progress at Ranchi on Saturday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Oct. 19: It’s Hip, Hip Hurray for Jharkhand’s youths. They can hope to meet sport stars like Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Baichung Bhutia. But for that, they must get their footwork right.
Tomorrow, Mumbai-based NGO Magic Bus India Foundation will roll out an initiative in Jharkhand to empower youths from rural and backward regions with the help of football.
Called Hip Hip Hurray, the campaign, which involves imparting leadership training, will cover as many as 88,000 youths hailing from 4,423 panchayats across the state. For this, football tourneys will be held across the state to attract the youngsters.
“The formal launch of the initiative will take place at Dr Ram Dayal Munda Kala Kendra tomorrow.
As part of the programme, sporting greats like cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni and footballer Baichung Bhutia will meet the youths to raise their spirits,” said Avik Swarnakar, state head of Magic Bus India Foundation, at a news meet today.
The launch will also mark the 150th birth anniversary of youth icon Swami Vivekananda.
The foundation, which has been working in the state for past one year, has tied up with Gunj Pariwar, RHITI Charitable Foundation and Jharkhand Sports Welfare Foundation to conduct the training programme that will focus on leadership and communication skills.
“As many as 15 staff of Magic Bus India Foundation will train individuals who will reach out to 88,000 youths across the state within 70 days. To attract youths to the programme, football tournaments will be organised in each panchayat area. Deserving youths will be selected and groomed by experts. Mentors will motivate them. On January 12 next year, a grand youth summit will be organised under the programme,” he said.
Ajay Kumar Singh, president of Jharkhand Sports Welfare Foundation and former Indian Football team captain, echoed Swarnakar.
“We will watch out for talented players during the football matches. The better performers will be groomed into sports stars,” he said.
Singh, a close friend of Bhutia, added that the programme aimed to use sports as a tool to empower youths from the state’s rural areas.