Monday, 19th November 2018 @ 16:00
Future Hope is a charitable organisation which provides opportunity through its homes, school, sports and medical programme for some of the most vulnerable children from the streets and slums of Kolkata, India.
Here, two young Future Hope rugby players tell us how the game has changed their lives, especially after working with the three Harlequins Senior Squad players who travelled to India last summer - RPA Chairman Mark Lambert, and Flankers Luke Wallace and James Chisholm.
When I came to Future Hope, I did not know rugby at all. I was a fighter at home and soon got attracted to the sport, so I travelled down to the Maidan (a green area in the city centre) to play with the other boys. One day the junior coach asked me “do you want to play?” and since then I have never looked back.
I practised hard, and watched International rugby matches on TV and local matches on at the Club ground. By doing this, I felt I was becoming a better player. One afternoon I asked my coach Akhtar Bhaiya why we were only practising and not playing matches, and afterwards he arranged a friendly against some much bigger players! We won two of the three matches we played, and that boosted my confidence. I started playing on wing and was a bit scared but my friends told me I will never learn if I am scared. I soon learnt how to tackle well and then moved into the centres.
Last year, the young Future Hope players went to play in the Tanglin Rugby Club tournament in Singapore and I was lucky to be part of the team. Before we left for Singapore a number of Harlequins came and coached us. We learnt new things from them; how you play in each position and how you play better. They taught us many skills - how to pass the ball, how to tackle better - but most of all they taught us good behaviour, teamwork and discipline. With the players helping us, Future Hope will always be confident of being champions on the field and good lads off it.
Captain of the Future Hope U-13 team.
I had never played rugby before I came to Future Hope but after I arrived I was quite delighted to find that all the boys, and girls, would go to the vast green expanse at the heart of the city called Maidan four times a week to play. I knew only football and cricket but watching the older boys play from the sidelines made me so keen to learn. The Future Hope coaches were so kind and enthusiastic - they told me about the mistakes I was making and corrected me. I had speed, so I was selected to play in the centres, and my success made me more confident. I dreamt that like the older boys I too will travel many places to play rugby. Rugby is a game of intelligence, more than strength, and I want to play the game for a long time and continue the tradition of excellent rugby at Future Hope.
Lachlan came to Future Hope from the streets of Kolkata as an orphan two years back, and is already considered one of the best U-13 players in Bengal.