Only a visa interview now separates Biswajit Nandi and Surajit Bhattacharya from playing in the Homeless World Cup in Poznan, Poland from August 10. Lack of funds, Rs 1.5 lakh to be exact, had almost squashed their dream of representing India a month ago.
Both are sex workers’ sons and paying that kind of money was beyond their means. But ever since Hindustan Times published their story on June 18, donations from across the country and abroad have ensured they can make the trip to Poland.
“We started receiving offers of help from Delhi and other cities the day the story was published,” said Swarajit Jana, chief advisor to the NGO that takes care of their education and upkeep.
“What we hadn’t realised that Hindustan Times is also read abroad. Over the last two weeks people have called our office from Germany, England and Switzerland to offer help for the boys. Even a student from the USA had called us. Everyone said they had read about the boys on Hindustan Times,” said Jana.
Thanks to the overwhelming donations from abroad, Jana said they have now accrued almost Rs 3.5 lakh for the boys.
On Sunday when HT visited the NGO at Kolkata’s biggest red light district, Nandi and Bhattacharya were preparing for a trip to Delhi for their visa interview. They will leave for Poland on August 2 after a camp in Nagpur.
Helping them pack was Biswajit’s mother, who lives in the same red light area. She preferred to keep quiet as both boys said going to the World Cup is a life-altering opportunity for them. “We can only hope to make the best of it and help our family,” they said