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Gary Kirsten Foundation transforms lives through cricket

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NEW DELHI: Renowned cricket coach

Gary Kirsten

has spearheaded a transformative initiative in an effort to uplift the community of

Khayelitsha township

, leveraging the power of cricket to inspire

positive change

in an area plagued by poverty and crime.
Kirsten, reflecting on his return to Cape Town after guiding India to World Cup victory in 2011, expressed his vision to introduce cricket to the poorest neighborhoods of the city.

“When I came back from India, I wanted to have a look at cricket in our poorest neighborhoods in Cape Town,” shared Kirsten in an interview with PTI, underscoring his commitment to making a difference through the sport.
Establishing the

Catch Trust Foundation

, later renamed the

Gary Kirsten Foundation

, in 2014, Kirsten set out to provide children in Khayelitsha with an alternative to the pervasive challenges of drugs and violence.

“The idea struck me… I took a tour of the area… and found that no cricket was happening… We started with two concrete nets in two schools and then included three more schools,” Kirsten explained, detailing the foundation’s inception and early efforts.

Cricket

Underprivileged children from Khayelitsha after a cricket training session in Cape Town. (PTI Photo)

Operating in Khayelitsha, where access to resources and opportunities is limited, the foundation has been instrumental in nurturing cricketing talent and fostering a sense of purpose among the youth.

“It is helping me to avoid street things like smoking weed and helping me keep my body and lungs fit,” remarked 15-year-old Lukholo Malong, reflecting on the impact of the foundation on his life aspirations.
Under Kirsten’s guidance, the foundation has worked tirelessly to create a thriving cricketing ecosystem in Khayelitsha, with a focus on inclusivity and talent development.
“Talent is universal, opportunity is not,” emphasized Kirsten, highlighting the foundation’s commitment to providing equal access to sporting opportunities for children from low-income backgrounds.
Babalwa Zothe, a coach with the foundation, attested to the life-changing impact of cricket training on the children of Khayelitsha.
“Most of the kids come from underprivileged communities… We are encouraging them to play cricket so they can stay away from stuff like drugs and crime,” shared Zothe, underscoring the holistic approach adopted by the foundation.
The foundation’s efforts have not gone unnoticed, with thirteen young players and two coaches from Khayelitsha attending the World Cup in the UK in 2019, a testament to the strides made by the foundation in empowering the youth.
“We are coaching in three primary schools and two high schools… It’s for everyone in the community,” Zothe added, highlighting the foundation’s commitment to community engagement and outreach.
(With inputs from PTI)

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