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Playing for the Migrant Cause
By by Fr. Nobert Xalxo
Mumbai, Aug. 10. Delhi: A census on migrants in India recently estimated that 45.36 crore people migrate to cities in a bid to make a better living. Migrants are not always welcome and struggle to gain a foot-hold in their new environment. Institutions like Bosco Enhancement Services for Tribals (BEST) look to raise the profile of migrants to provide skills to enhance their employability.  
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BEST, in the month of July and August, organised the second edition of hockey league exclusively for migrants, which began on July 2 and ended on August 6. Thirty-two teams participated in the tournament which reached its climax, on August 6, with Energetic Club and Milizuli locking horns for top honours in a tightly-contested final at Shivaji stadium in Delhi.

The 2000-odd spectators present at the venue were treated to a contest of high-calibre hockey as both sides attacked and countered in a bid to draw first blood. Milizuli eventually trumped their opponents, via a penalty shoot-out, after both side's drew even 4-4 in regulation time.

''We adivasis have been playing hockey since our childhood. Now, through this yearly tournament we get a chance to continue to play the sport. We look forward to playing it every Sunday during the tournament and practise in playgrounds and parks for the tournament,'' Dileep Barla, from team Milizuli, who migrated from Jharkhand to Delhi, said.

Delhi NCR edged out Noida to clinch third place in the tournament. Veterans, over the age of 40, also participated in an exhibition match to showcase their skill. The participants, originally from Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Odisha, reside in Delhi.

Father Nobert Xalxo, director of BEST Club spear-headed the campaign of contacting various tribal leaders and urging them to send their teams for the tournament. Social media tools were also used to coordinate logistics for the matches which were held on Sundays. During the course of the tournament, potential youth were identified, who would now be trained through DBTech and other institutions and be prepared for job placements.

''The aim of the tournament is to identify youngsters who we could help get jobs. Also to help the youth to interact and get to know each other. They works through the week, so Sundays- when the tournament is played, they can relax and socalise,'' Father Xalxo, said.  

''There are two types of migrants. Those that come to study and those that come to work. We focus on those that come to work. We train them and help them with placements and follow up on them. We have placed 30 youth since the first season of the tournament.''


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