A project that takes rugby to impoverished communities of India to help improve the lives of young people and children has been shortlisted for the Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award.
Khelo Rugby was launched on the back of the Jungle Crows rugby club, a side that began by taking rugby to the street kids of Kolkata, and is now the subject of a new film, Jungle Cry. The project now goes into 35 locations in Kolkata, seven villages in and around Saraswatipur in the north of West Bengal, nine locations in Bengaluru and with a group of villages in the Jarmundi block in Jharkhand.
Since then, and from a starting point where Rwanda’s rugby supplies consisted of one rugby ball, the charity has played a huge role in supplying kit, equipment and training coaches across the nation. This year that support culminating in Rwanda reaching the biggest stage, as they played their first-ever Rugby World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.
It not only tackles social issues with children, but it also empowers adults by developing young coaches and referees.
Reg Clark, CEO of Rhino, said: “The work Khelo Rugby is doing is pioneering in a country such as India, they attempt to tackle serious social issues and use rugby to break down barriers. They’re a very deserving finalist in this year’s competition.”
Two more finalists will be announced in the coming weeks, with the winner announced on 17th December, 2019.
Previous winners of the Rhino Grassroots Rugby Award
2015 TAG RUGBY TRUST (UK)
2016 KAMPUCHEA BALOPP (Cambodia)
2017 SKRUM (Swaziland)
2018 SHIBUYA INTERNATIONAL RUGBY CLUB (Japan)