There are over 476 million indigenous people living in 90 countries across the world. They account for 6.2% of the global population, and 80% of the world’s biodiversity is inhabited and protected by them. Despite playing such a crucial role, their fight for equality is ongoing. To date, numerous indigenous people, also known as tribals (in India), experience extreme poverty, marginalisation and other human rights violations.
Recognising this heinous gap in society whilst harbouring a strong desire to cause visible change and positively impact the lives of youth, START was founded. Today I am joined by two visionary leaders Munish Makhija and Ritwik Bhattacharya who are transforming tribal India through sport.
About START academy
Squash Temple And Rural Training or START Academy was founded at Kalote Mokashi, Maharashtra in 2017 by former India #1 and World #38 Squash Player Ritwik Bhattacharya. Utilising his wealth of knowledge in the field of sports amassed over a career spanning 20+ years that included five national champion titles, most notably in the sport of squash he has managed to start a movement. Following the success of our academy trainees, the inclusion of economically weaker sections of the society in athletic excellence is being given a priority across the world. The START Academy is serving as an effective vehicle to lift the tribal community into mainstream India through sports. Over the course of the last three years, START Academy has in fact done more than empower marginalised youth through sport. Counselling, coaching, training, looking after nutritional needs, kitting with top of the line equipment, is all given pro bono to the Tribal Children. By employing support staff from the local village community , we have created job opportunities for many who now have a raised standard of living than they previously had. The village kids that we train have competed in national-level tournaments around the country, and have the potential to succeed through various routes, be it playing professionally or coaching. These are tribal children with substantial physical prowess who otherwise would have gone their whole life without ever leaving the village that they were born in, as their ancestors did. In addition to philanthropy, the academy is also serving as an unofficial national training centre where nearly all the top juniors come to train and tune up before heading to any major events. This privileged status allows for a unique amalgamation of different cultures including but not limited to national, tribal, urban, defence and elite performance. On any given day you can find the academy buzzing with the excitement of competing and the joy of chasing excellence. Much more than the usual lifestyle enhancement tasks of concrete homes, or proper toilets, these tribal children are learning to dream. Being exposed to world class work ethic, they are slowly but surely realising their potential and discovering all that they are capable of, and this is only the beginning. Welcome to STAR
About the Global Indian Series:
My name is Rajan Nazran Chief Explorer for the Global Indian Series, the official platform for people of Indian origin (PIO) and liberal minds, because let’s face it, we are everywhere!
For over 15 years I have travelled across the globe deep diving into 60+ countries whilst exploring the kaleidoscope of our remarkable 50 shades of brown community.
Voyaging to the edges of the Amazon, facing Ebola in West Africa, being held hostage in Eastern Europe, tapping rubber in Malaysia, drinking chai with Heads of State and sharing laughter with local fishermen – I have been there, looking for the ideas that re-shape a nation.
My purpose is simple, to build a living encyclopaedia of the human experience of the community and a safe mooring ground for open discussions, whether you are an NRI, Indian Diaspora, person of Indian origin (PIO) or a fan of South Asian anthropology, join in as we bring people and communities together.
How to get involved:
Interested in getting involved in building the world’s largest living encyclopaedia on the community? Whether you want to become a patron, buy us a chai in a new location or have your story shown, simply get in touch via our website, we would love to hear from you. www.globalindianseries.com
You can reach Rajan via
Global Indian Series (@rajannazran) • Instagram photos and videos
(1) Rajan (Singh) Nazran | LinkedIn
Global Indian Series – YouTube
Presenter – Rajan Nazran
Producer –Global Indian Series/NazranRoth
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