NRI project provides long-term support to tribal kids back home
The main aim of the group is to adopt tribal children and blend them with mainstream society using education and sports.
Dubai - What began as a pilot project involving 15 tribal students in 2013 became a full-fledged project in 2015.
Four tribal boys from Thane district in Maharashtra, India, have become the first in their family to enter college, thanks to Max Talent Cricket Academy in Dubai. The academy had set up a training camp in Maharashtra for 30 teenage tribal students to provide them with exposure and equal opportunities.
What began as a pilot project involving 15 tribal students in 2013 became a full-fledged project in 2015. "Many of the students we worked with did not have access to education or even electricity at their homes," said Rajeev Bhattacharya, a businessman and one of the trustees of the Max Talent project.
"However, four of the 30 boys have now joined the SVKM College in Vile Parle, Mumbai. The students are even paying for their own education, and that is a huge achievement," he added.
According to the owner of the academy, Sudhakar Shetty, the tribal communities were ill-treated to an extent where they did not have permission to drink from the same well as non-tribal people. "I wanted to change that," he explained.
Once Shetty set up Max Talent, he decided to extend the cricket coaching to tribal families. "I came across these families after I met with Balaram Bhoir, secretary of Sharmajeev Sanghatan, an association that works with the entire tribal community in Maharashtra," he added.
Shetty owned a land plot in Dugadgaon, Maharashtra, 72km away from Mumbai Airport and decided to convert this land into a training camp. The main aim of the group is to adopt the children and provide them with exposure to blend them with mainstream society using education and sports.
David Lobo, another trustee of the group said: "The government helps these communities. But more needs to be done in terms of accountability. There need to be systems that measure and track the overall development of the kids till they become employable."
"The children also work in the camp and are given Rs4,000 per month. The annual college fees are Rs2,000. This gives them a sense of independence. Currently, we have 30 boys, however, the group would like to engage girl students by 2019," added Shetty.