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Shooting for a cause

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Shooting spirit Amit Sanghi with the young ones
Shooting spirit Amit Sanghi with the young ones

An NGO-run school aims to bring about a qualitative change in the lives of under- privileged children in partnership with the Rifle Association of Andhra Pradesh

Inquisitiveness and curiosity were writ large on their faces as several young children got a first time look at the activities at the shooting range in Gachibowli. They were also visibly wary and more than a little apprehensive. For all around them were weapons of various types. Till then all the knowledge they had about rifles was based on whatever they had seen on television and movies. In their innocent minds, rifles were dangerous and used only by law breakers or policemen. So they were naturally hesitant even to touch or handle the weapons.

Their coaches instilled confidence in them and they shed their fears. Some even mustered up the courage to pick up the rifles and even take a shot or two at the targets. The children, a group of about 35 youngsters, were drawn from a section of children who had been rescued from adverse circumstances including child labour, by an NGO called Child Welfare and Holistic Organisation for Rural Development (CHORD).

This NGO which aims to bring about a social and qualitative change in the lives of under privileged children in partnership with the Rifle Association of Andhra Pradesh (RAAP) is keen to teach the basics of the sport to the youngsters.

“This scheme is essentially an experiment,” explained Amit Sanghi, well known skeet shooter and businessman. “We wanted to give these kids a chance to excel at some sport and thereby give them a goal in life. Many of then have had a difficult childhood and are unaware about their potential and what they can become in life. We thought that through the sport of shooting a few of them can have a chance to develop an ambition and have a focus in life,” he says.

“There are some national level coaches such as P. Suri and Acharya who are guiding these boys along with me and we hope to spot some talented shooters among these boys in the near future.

If we find that some of them have the potential to reach the top, we will invest in them and support them so that they achieve something,” says Amit.

“We will conduct about four to five such coaching clinics every month and after they have gained some amount of basic skills, a trial will be organised to spot the ones who are have the right aptitude and physical and mental skills,” he adds.

He is of the opinion that while vocational training has always been there for them, the sport of shooting will provide an extra opportunity that they may benefit from immensely in future.

ABHIJIT SEN GUPTA

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