Khelo Rugby takes sporting opportunities into some of the most disadvantaged parts of Calcutta and West Bengal.
In Hindi, the word 'Khelo' means 'Play' and is the usual shout of the Khelo Rugby Coaches as they take their training sessions 'Khelo....Khelo'.
Khelo Rugby was started by Zaffar, the son of Afghan refugees who had settled in Calcutta. Zaffar learnt to play rugby with the Jungle Crows and after finding a supportive community through his involvement in rugby with the Crows he decided to take rugby back into the community.
Khelo Rugby now runs in 8 communities in Calcutta with Coaches going into each community at least twice a week. We hold regular tournaments bringing all the children together for a great day of sport. We also deliver some basic educational lessons to the children and these have included road safety and personal hygiene.
Each week more than 200 children are coached, children who would normally have no access to any sort of organised sport. Our Coaches come from the same communities as the children and can talk with them and relate to their lives. Khelo is about sport, but also about developing the sort of community support that children often lack.
We want to take Khelo to many more locations - we've fledgling programmes in the districts of West Bengal and Jharkhand as well as Chennai. Our biggest challenge is raising funds for our Coaches to ensure they get a decent salary.