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regular-article-logo Saturday, 02 March 2024

Tomorrow’s Foundation makes way for children who work, a chance to play

150 children from age group 12 to 20 came to participate in day-long camp from areas like Dhapa, Brace Bridge and Hyde Road

Jhinuk Mazumdar Calcutta Published 06.12.22, 04:34 AM
Children at the screening session organised by the NGO Tomorrow’s Foundation

Children at the screening session organised by the NGO Tomorrow’s Foundation

Children, some of whom are ragpickers or work as labourers, were screened by an NGO which wanted to identify their interest in sports, art or theatre.

The children go to a study centre run by the NGO, Tomorrow’s Foundation. Some of the kids are more interested in sports or theatre than formal studies, some of the teachers said.

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Recently, 150 children from the age group 12 to 20 came to participate in a day-long camp from areas like Dhapa, Brace Bridge and Hyde Road.

The students are often unaware of their abilities or talent and it is the responsibility of the NGOs who work with them to guide them.

Many of them live in single-room houses with no space to study or even to relax. The kids are mostly outside. Some of them have an interest in sports but their parents do not realise it, said Sharmistha Chakraborty, area-in-charge of the Tomorrow’s Foundation.

“Many of these children do not know what a colour pencil can do to add colour to their lives,” said a teacher who works with them.

The smaller ones have household chores to attend to and the older ones have to go to work.

Aditya Singh, 18, washes cars for a living. He is one of the students selected for kickboxing training.

“We did not tell them that they were being screened. We let them enjoy the day,” said Chakraborty.

They were shown a play and after that there were several who came forward to ask questions about the play.

“Some of the students have shown promise and we want to train them further so they can get opportunity to pursue a sport. Unless they are trained, their talent would be lost. We cannot train all of them at the centre with our limited infrastructure,” said Subhoroop Ghosh, who would train the students in some of the sporting activities.

The challenge, however, is not to select them but to get them to the training ground, given their schedule.

Despite their interest, the situation at home often poses a hurdle. Sandip Kumar Paswan, 18, was always interested in running. but he never got an opportunity to pursue it because of a lack of funds.

“My father is a labourer in Bihar. I live here with my grandfather who is a guard. I will try to make the most of this opportunity,” said Paswan.

The NGO hopes that these opportunities would also make them more job-ready.

“We keep telling them that they need to study to be able to stand on their feet. With these activities, they would have added areas of competence,” Chakraborty said.

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