BENGALURU: Programmes of Khelo Rugby, which encourages children from the disadvantaged communities to play rugby, is now struggling without funds. Time, money and manpower are the major challenges faced by the institution. The programmes are run part-time now.Zaffar Khan from Khelo Rugby says, “We need to raise funds to hire two full-time coaches. Today we lack manpower.” In 2016, there were 600 children with the organisation but today, there are only about 250.
He adds that it is a challenge as the sport is still quite new in India and Bengaluru is just getting familiar with it. “We are in talks with a few corporates. They have shown some interest, but we are awaiting a confirmation.” Lack of funds has also forced Zaffar to run the institution only part-time. “I work as a fitness trainer for corporate. So, I get an opportunity to pitch for funds with them,” he adds.
There are 14 part-time coaches who teach children voluntarily. “All our coaches who train or organise events have full time jobs. They sacrifice their personal time to coach the children at Khelo Rugby,” he says.
Presently, Khelo Rugby is planning to organise a league Khelo Bangalore in the last week of October. Zaffar says, “We would need about `2.5 lakh to organise the event and arrange for food, t-shirts and transportation.”
The league will see participation of both boys and girls in the same team. Each team will have at least three girls, two of them will play on the pitch with boys. "This is one way to promote gender equality," he says adding that the league will have teams from Koramangala, HSR and Sarjapura. Over 300 children will be up for selection. “The league will have 12 teams. We will have 120 children participate,” he says.
He observes that girls are more keen to learn the sport, may be because of lack of other opportunities. “They are not encouraged to take up sports as a hobby and never as a profession. It is something they might do once in a while, but it is not really important for them,” he says. Once the girls overcome their initial reluctance, they start enjoying it. “They like getting better each day and they work hard for it. Girls are more curious and ask us more questions than boys,” he adds.