Khelo Khelo…..We Love Netball!

by Zaffar KhanFun Fun Fun

Our Jungle Crows Foundation (JCF) and its new love “Netball” have just finished the first week of very intense coaching and held a super eight team tournament in the ‘City of Joy’ Kolkata. We had more than two hundred kids taking part as players and spectators.

OneMonica and Daxa from Netball Development Trust were in town for the week and worked non-stop to train up ten JCF Khelo Netball Coaches and support the delivery of a new and very fun game. Netball fits perfectly with the values and ideas of JCF which is equal opportunity for both boys and girls to play and participate on one level field and importantly to enjoy a normal childhood which includes sport and games. As an organisation we believe that every child should have a healthy childhood, both physically and mentally, and we think sport is one of the best ways to promote this.

TwoI sat down with one of our community coaches who is trained in coaching Tag Rugby and now had the opportunity to be trained in Netball. Netball is very different form the game of rugby and I asked him what he thought about the sport and if it has an opportunity to grow in the future…

Parweez tell us something about your first week of learning and coaching Netball?

Yes it was a great week, Netball is a good game for both boys and girls. I do not think we found it difficult to understand. We had 8 teams participating in the tournament which was held at St Joseph’s school ground. It was great to see so many children playing the sport with only 4 days practice. During tournament day they played like they had been playing the sport for years.Three

So what next now ?

We are now in Siliguri and we will be working on the same model there. We are sure we will find more enthusiastic kids. We already have Amirul and Sanu living in Siliguri who run the Khelo Rugby programme so they will now be able to add Netball to their coaching.

So what is Khelo Netball?

OK…People know about Khelo Rugby and the use of Tag Rugby to get the children playing, kids who do not have much and don’t really get the chance in sport. I think that to get kids involved in India it’s important to get the parents involved and parents usually do not like contact sport, specially for the girls. Hence Khelo Netball comes in, it is a non contact sport, can be easily played by girls only but can also be played in a mixed group. We do this in Khelo Rugby also but it might be easier to get this happening with Netball.  And why not have a sport just for the girls, that would be nice.

And why are you volunteering your time?

I like what our Jungle Crows does…I do not earn much and life can be difficult but I understand that it is important to give time and your energy to the community. Hence I am willing to give up my few days of daily wages for a better cause. On the other hand it’s great fun to be with my friends…there is always some silly jokes around the corner to make me laugh and we do have some really good jokers in the team.

Thanks Parweez!

We’re now looking to collaborate with more schools, organisations and communities to develop Netball at a grassroots level. We are always open to ideas and conversation. If you have a community and you think it deserves a smile give us a call and we can do something together!


Smiling in the Kabul Sun

by Zaffar Khan

Ramadan is one of the most important holy months in the Afghan calendar and at times a tough one for all of us who are still getting out and playing rugby. The children seem to have no problem and are full of energy and stamina as they brave out the days in the heat, running and leaping around. With no food or water for more than sixteen hours it’s taken a lot more than being brave for me, and I always seem to be the Coach seeking out some shade.  Sikandar, aged twelve on the other hand well he’s very excited about coming out on the field during Ramadan saying, “playing is tough but I am working on my six pack so it will help me” he winks with a big smile, as I retreat from the sun, again!

Khanjer with his Khelo Rugby Children

Khanjer with some of his Khelo Rugby Children

Our community head coach Khanjer is presently working with eight communities in Kabul teaching and guiding them in Khelo. We are planning our first Khelo tournament after Ramadan and every one is super excited about it.  We’ll likely have more than 100 children for the tournament. Khanjer says, “rugby is getting bigger and better, it will be great for rugby in Afghanistan. May be one day these children will play in the national team in the future… but we are being realistic it’s a long and hard goal and we are being patient with it. Khelo has also shown us that rugby is about so much more, the children learning together, supporting each other and playing.  We want to make these children’s experience very good so they want their friends and one day their children to play.”

In Khelo Rugby we talk about ‘Growing up with Rugby’ and this is really blossoming in an exciting way in Kabul today.

Finally I must mention that some of the Afghan rugby boys and friends from Kabul have been very kind to invite me to dinners in this month and so I wanted to share some of the pics as it looks and of course tastes WONDERFUL!

Glorious Afghan Feast!

Glorious Afghan Feast!


Interview with a Tiger!

Coach Tiger is one of Khelo Rugby’s Community Coaches………

KheloKhelo: So tell us Coach Tiger, you had a tournament Sunday, how was that?

Tiger: Good…great…all the boys and girls were smiling after the tournament which was great for us.

KheloKhelo: Don’t be shy Coach, tell us how many teams played and how many were coached by you?

Tiger: Eight teams played and I normally take the coaching of two of them Nawab Ali Park and Hyde Road, but also coach some of the other teams at times.

KheloKhelo: And how did your teams get on?

Tiger: One team playing very good – Hyde Road because they do very good practice and do lots of hard work in their practice no joking around. Nawab Ali joke around too much and don’t get chance to practice so much, only on a Sunday but they played well.

KheloKhelo: Which team won and who was there Coach?

Tiger: Salt Lake Dhapa who are coached by Ajay and Nanda.  They playing very well and 2-3 boys are very fast and have good sense how to play tag match.  And they never give up always playing playing that’s why they won.

KheloKhelo: So there was a theme on Sunday – Soap – tell us more about that?

Tiger: Using Soap to wash hands before eating, after toilet and after any practice cricket, football anything is good.  Before eating specially important because so many germs get on your hands and soap is good for cleaning up.  We gave every child a bar of soap at the end which they can use at home.

KheloKhelo: The tournament was special for another reason can you tell us more about that?

Tiger: Emma’s Cup.  Emma doing so many things for kids and especially Jungle Crows kids, she is very good.  Emma loves all the kids and she is going away from India so we wanted to say thank you.

KheloKhelo: Tiger, we also want to mention that you are one of the top players in Calcutta, what are your own rugby ambitions?

Tiger: First is Jungle Crows, they make me as a good rugby player and give me so many supports so everything for me is Jungle Crows they gave me the opportunity.  So first is to win and play Jungle Crows. I would also like to play abroad but I have problems with my birth certificate which we lost in floods so taking time to get my passport. I have played for India which was great but won’t be able to play this June in Asian 5 Nations as their games are abroad.

KheloKhelo: So finally Tiger you have any message for the small kids playing and taking up rugby?

Tiger: Keep playing tag rugby when little and then as they get older come to the Jungle Crows Academy.  The Academy is good to encourage the players. Play hard but fair always, remember rugby is team game and you all have to play together.